SBJ/Sept. 9-15, 2013/Game Changers

Game Changers: Lori Webb

Photo: PETER J. WEBB
A baseball collection has grown along with Webb’s accomplishments in the Southern League.
Organizational Drivers
Lori Webb
Southern League | President

I
t’s often been said that the sports industry is something of an old boys’ club. And then there’s the realm of minor league baseball. Arguably even more tradition-bound, the affiliated minors did not have a female league president for its first 111 years of its existence. Until last year.

Lori Webb made history by becoming president of the Class AA Southern League, succeeding the late Don Mincher. Webb started with the league in 1994 as an executive assistant. Steadily, she rose through the leadership ranks, and when Mincher died early last year, Webb had become the natural choice to succeed him. She has since been part of a sweeping series of shifts in the affiliated minors that have included numerous affiliation and team ownership changes and a new embrace of national marketing strategies.

“Things are changing very rapidly in our business right now, and it’s very exciting,” Webb said. “What we’re doing now is going to bring us a lot more national recognition, but the important thing is to also not lose the things that make minor league baseball special.”

— Eric Fisher


  • Crowning professional achievement: Being elected president of the Southern League of Professional Baseball Clubs in 2012 after working with the league since 1994.
  • Biggest professional disappointment: Reaching my goal of being elected president, and my parents did not live long enough to enjoy this achievement with me.
  • Person who had the biggest influence on your career in sports: Don Mincher. After he was elected in 2000, we had a 12-year working relationship and friendship. He allowed me to take on as much responsibility as I could handle, and then some — and he mentored me along the way. He was always supportive of me and willing to answer all my questions and explain many of the finer points of baseball when I needed clarification. He showed me that it is possible to attain your goals with patience and humility.
  • Woman in sports business you’d most like to meet: Danica Patrick. She broke through the gates of a male-dominated sport and has continued to set and reach goals for herself in the race car industry. To do this she must surround herself with smart people to help her, and she has made many risky business decisions that have allowed her to remain competitive and reach her goals.
  • Best advice you’ve received: When faced with a difficult decision, sleep on it. Things will look different in the morning.
  • What would you, at age 18, find surprising about the person you’ve become today?: At age 18, I was graduating from a small-town high school and dreamed of being a secretary in a doctor’s office, getting married, having a family, and living in a cobblestone house a few miles away from my hometown in upstate New York. I would have never believed that my marriage to my high school sweetheart would lead to living in several different states, meeting new people from all walks of life, and eventually working in baseball, much less becoming president of a professional baseball league in the South.
  • The biggest challenge I face working in the sports business is …: Not being able to relate to all of the on-field incidents the same way the players and managers do because I never played organized sports. Although I continue to learn about these things, I do look at them from a different perspective.

“I’ve been very impressed with her thought process and her demeanor, the way she works through problems and issues. She is extremely capable.”

— Pat O’Conner | President | Minor League Baseball

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