RiverDogs ownership group honored as organization of the year

An aerial view of Joe Riley Park, home of the Charleston Riverdogs. Leroy Burnell/Staff

The Goldklang Group, the parent company of the Charleston RiverDogs, was named the Organization of the Year by Ballparkdigest.com.

The Goldklang Group owns four minor league baseball franchises, including the RiverDogs (Single-A, South Atlantic League). The company also owns the Hudson Valley Renegades (Low-A, New York-Penn League), the St. Paul Saints (Independent, American Association) and the Pittsfield Suns (Collegiate Baseball, Futures Collegiate Baseball League of New England).

The RiverDogs were a force on the attendance front as they set franchise records in overall attendance (292,661), good for fourth in the South Atlantic League, and average attendance, drawing 4,368 in 67 home dates. The previous overall record was 287,646 and stood since 2007.

“This is a tremendous honor for The Goldklang Group and the Charleston RiverDogs, in particular,” said RiverDogs general manager Dave Echols. “All of our teams have contributed to this award, but it starts at the top with quality leadership which is what (owner) Marv Goldklang and his staff provide. We’re proud of what we’ve done as RiverDogs, and also proud of what the three other Goldklang Group teams have accomplished.”

The RiverDogs were at the forefront in helping the community following two separate devastating tragedies.

After the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June, the RiverDogs donated all proceeds from their game the following day to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund. Each of The Goldklang Group teams donned special caps or jerseys in the following weeks and donated all proceeds from the auction of those items. The RiverDogs followed by wearing a special uniform of their own, with a simple, but poignant black armband on the sleeve of both their home and away jerseys. At the end of the season they auctioned the uniforms and donated the money to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund.

Unfortunately, a second tragedy struck the Charleston area when Tropical Storm Erika caused severe damage and flooding to the city.

The RiverDogs, along with three other South Atlantic teams in the state — Columbia Fireflies, Greenville Drive and Myrtle Beach Pelicans — started a GoFundMe page to help raise $100,000. Each team, along with Minor League Baseball Charities, donated $2,500 each. All funds will be donated to the American Red Cross.

Each year BallparkDigest.com, the Internet’s leading guide to ballparks and the business of baseball, honors accomplishments in the industry with the annual Ballpark Digest Awards.

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