Courtesy St. Paul Saints Media Relations
St. Paul, Minn. – It was the most successful season in St. Paul Saints history in nearly every way. A brand new Lowertown Ballpark, CHS Field, opened its gates for the first time ?to record setting crowds, all while holding on to the familiar fun and affordable entertainment that have made the Saints a summer staple in the Twin Cities. Backed by a staff of seasoned veterans and young stars, Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Derek Sharrer led the charge and for his efforts was awarded American Association Executive of the Year as voted on by league Executives and media members.
Sharrer, in his 12th season at the helm of the Saints, played an integral role in opening CHS Field, the beautiful 7,210 seat ballpark in Lowertown, St. Paul. The project seven years in the making required countless hours of meetings with community leaders, legislators, city officials, and the firms that formed architectural, design, and construction teams to ensure everything would be ready by Opening Day on May 21.
“It’s a wonderful honor,” said Sharrer, “for which I’m truly appreciative. That said, any success the Saints have experienced during the inaugural season here at CHS Field represents the culmination of a great deal of hard work by a lot of people. With an ownership group that has provided incredible vision, guidance, and support to a staff made up of the most talented, creative, and driven individuals I have ever met, this recognition is the result of an amazing team effort.”
Saint Paul and the greater Twin Cities region embraced CHS Field in ways that exceeded expectations. Opening Day saw 8,592 pass through the gates to experience CHS Field and crowds continued to pour in all summer. The Saints surpassed their single-game franchise record when they drew 9,960 on July 4. That record didn’t stand for long as 10,430 took in the August 20 game. In all, the Saints shattered the American Association record for attendance (297,834 set by the Saints in 2007) as they drew 404,528. The Saints averaged 8,090, 12th best in all of minor league baseball. The team played to a season-long capacity of 112%, tops in the nation.
Under Sharrer’s leadership, the Saints made sure its “Fun Is Good” approach accompanied the team downtown. A tailgate lot was secured a block from the ballpark where Saints fans were able to continue a long standing tradition. The team partnered with the Saint Paul Farmer’s Market to add Railgating in front of CHS Field on Broadway St.
“Derek in so many ways has been the backbone of the Saints’ organization since he arrived in St. Paul more than a decade ago,” said Saints Chairman Marv Goldklang. “He not only has overseen our operations at Midway Stadium and, now, CHS Field, but managed the many logistics and challenges of moving into our new ballpark in March of this year, then leading us to our most successful year ever while maintaining the essence of who we are. I’ve been actively involved in professional baseball for more than 30 years and cannot recall an individual being more deserving than Derek of an Executive of the Year Award.”
This is the first time Sharrer has won the American Association Executive of the Year Award and the second time in his career, winning a similar honor when he was General Manager of the ?Fort Myers Miracle in 1998?.
During Sharrer’s tenure with the Saints they have con?sistently finished at or near the top of the league in attendance. In 2006 the Saints were named the inaugural Baseball America Independent League Organization of the Year, for their history of excellence and role as trailblazers in the industry. Additionally, Sharrer was named to the 2007 Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Top 40 under Forty. Sharrer resides in Woodbury with his wife Kandice and two sons Sullivan (12) and Lawson (?10).