Vince McNamara

Home 5 Class of 1994 5 Vince McNamara

Professional Baseball Administrator

In 1948, Vincent McNamara was named president of the New York-Penn League, a group of major league farm clubs in some of the smaller cities in Western New York, the Southern tier and Pennsylvania. Thought it had produced some fine players for the major leagues (including Hall of Famer, Warren Spahn who pitched for the Bradford Phillies in 1939), it had become a smaller league by the time McNamara came onto the scene.

When Vince became president, the New York-Penn League, like many other small leagues around the country, was beset with a host of problems, including low pay for players, rundown ballparks, poor equipment, low attendance, and lagging support from some parent clubs. McNamara, a man with a deep love for the game of baseball, was the perfect choice to breathe new life into the league. He became a tireless worker, making changes and fighting for more fan support. He lobbied parent clubs continually for greater backing. Throughout the league he made improvements to increase attendance and help teams to become more solvent. In 37 years as president of the league, he earned a reputation as one of the most respected figures in professional baseball. Cy Williams, a major league scout who knew McNamara, said “I can’t think of any president who works as hard as he does to keep a league going. He’s been a tremendous asset to baseball.”

For 46 years, McNamara also worked for the Buffalo Parks Department, where he helped redesign the Buffalo Zoo and laid the groundwork for putting a baseball diamond inside War Memorial Stadium. In 1972, the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues paid tribute to McNamara for his years of service by saluting him as the “King of Baseball.” Many of the minor leagues in existence in 1948 are gone today, but the New York-Penn League is still entertaining fans in Western New York, thanks to McNamara’s hard work, dedication and love for our national pastime.