Charlie Eshbach, the ‘Heart and Brains’ Behind the Sea Dogs Has Passed Away at 70
If you love the Sea Dogs, then you know the name, Charlie Eshbach.
The Sea Dogs announced that Charlie Eshbach passed away after a long illness. According to the Portland Press Herald, he was the Sea Dogs' first employee. He was hired by Dan Burke who founded the team back in 1994. He was the president of the Sea Dogs and the General Manager through 2010 but stayed on as president through the 2018 season. Even after retiring, he was still an advisor.
In a statement Dan Burke's son Bill and Sally McNamara, the owners of the Sea Dogs said,
Charlie Eshbach was the heart and the brains behind the Portland Sea Dogs, advising our father Dan Burke as he worked to bring the team to Portland. His wise counsel and good humor will be dearly missed by all who counted on him for advice and support. We are deeply saddened by his passing and our hearts go out to Ann-Marie and his entire family.
That first year back in 1994, Portland was ready for the Sea Dogs and we lead the league in attendance. Heck, we still love the Sea Dogs and always rank at the top of attendance for a minor league team. The Sea Dogs, under Charlie's leadership quickly became the model that other teams tried to copy. They even won Minor League Baseball's top honor, the John H. Johnson President’s Trophy, in 2000.
Charlie knew that baseball was part of what the Sea Dogs were about, but that community was the other part. Just a year into his job as president and general manager, Charlie co-founded the Strike Out Cancer in Kids program. So far they have raised over $5,000,000 for the Maine Children’s Cancer Program.
I have had the pleasure and honor of working what Charlie over the years in silly promotions with the Sea Dogs. He was a serious businessman with a wicked sense of humor and he will surely be missed. Thank you for your legacy of an amazing minor league team!