TRENTON – In a season that celebrated 25 seasons of Thunder baseball in the New Jersey state capital, the Eastern League in conjunction with the Eastern League announced on Thursday afternoon that Trenton General Manager Jeff Hurley has been named the league’s Executive of the Year.
Hurley will be presented with the prestigious award during the opening session of Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas on December 10.
“Jeff’s selection for this award is well deserved recognition for the outstanding job he has done not only this season, but during his entire tenure with the Thunder,” said Eastern League President Joe McEacharn through a press release. “The outstanding efforts of Jeff and the rest of the staff in Trenton were on full display with their excellent performance in planning and hosting the 2018 Eastern League All-Star Classic. Those efforts alone would be enough to recognize Jeff and the Trenton organization, without taking into account the fact that the Thunder also provided their fans with a full season worth of fun and excitement they’ve come to expect at ARM & HAMMER Park while celebrating 25 years of Thunder baseball.”
The award for Hurley marks the fifth time in franchise history that a Thunder executive has been honored. Previous winners include Wayne Hodes (1995 & 1998), Rick Brenner (2003) and Will Smith (2011).
With local roots as a Hamilton-native and Steinert High School graduate, Hurley is in his 15th season working for the franchise and just completed his third in the top-role as Chief Operating Officer and General Manager. The DeSales University graduate first joined the Thunder front office as an intern for the 2004 season. Throughout his career, he has held the titles of Group Sales Account Representative, Media Relations Assistant, Community Relations and Baseball Operations Manager, Baseball Operations and Accounting Manager, Director of Finance and Baseball Operations and Chief Financial Officer.
“I want to congratulate Jeff and our entire staff for a fantastic 2018 campaign,” said Thunder Team President Joe Finley via team press release. “Jeff’s leadership has been paramount to the franchise’s success for years and I am thrilled to see him and our staff recognized for their hard work and creativity.”
Despite being swept in the opening round of the postseason by New Hampshire, 2018 marked a successful campaign for the franchise. The Thunder hosted three of the 20 largest crowds in franchise history this past season. Attendance at the gates rose to 351,297 fans, which marked the highest total for the franchise since the 2014 season.
The Thunder also hosted the 2018 Eastern League All-Star Classic, presented by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, which welcomed 8,296 fans on Wednesday, July 11.
In a campaign geared toward celebrating the storied history of the franchise, the Thunder held several special anniversary giveaway in 2018 that included a special starting nine bobble-head set of some of the marquee players in the club’s history. Hurley played a key role the team’s re-brand efforts as the Thunder Pork Roll for Friday night home games. Hurley also helped further the franchise’s efforts within the community by raising money and awareness for hundreds of charitable causes while continuing the team’s own charitable efforts like the F.I.E.L.D. Program which focuses on renovating youth baseball fields in the area.