WEYMOUTH, Mass. (October 14, 2022) -- Worcester Bravehearts General Manager Dave Peterson has been named the 2022 recipient of the Futures League’s William J. Terlecky Executive of the Year Award.
Commissioner Joe Paolucci presented the award during the Futures League’s Fall Organizational Meeting, which was held earlier this month in conjunction with the Third Annual Golf Tournament at Leicester Country Club.
“Dave is the face of the Bravehearts organization. He is an innovator that is always looking for different ways to entertain the Braveheart fans and provide a great show,” Paolucci said. “His leadership skills and willingness to think outside the box are traits that help drive the Worcester Bravehearts every season. Despite having the Triple-A Worcester Red Sox playing down the street, the Bravehearts still drew over 1,600 fans per night and nearly 50,000 for the season.”
Peterson, who has led the Bravehearts organization since their inception in the fall of 2013, is now a three-time recipient of the award. He also earned the honor following two of the team’s four championship seasons in 2014 and 2019.
“Dave is not only a superb leader in the Futures League, but really he is one of the best sports executives in the entire country,” Bravehearts President & Owner John Creedon Jr. said. “Boundlessly creative, immeasurably cheerful even in the face of adversity, and indefatigable in his work ethic -- Dave is one of a kind. It has been an incredible nine years working side by side with Dave to launch, grow, and continually improve the Worcester Bravehearts to the delight of our fans and community. He is positively a force of nature. With Dave and the Bravehearts, the best is yet to come!”
Peterson’s hard work and leadership is shown in all of the Bravehearts’ tireless work in the community. This year’s efforts were taken to another level with the creation of a season-long campaign called Twenty-Twenty-You allowing fans to be involved in all aspects of their operation.
The season-opening game featured the unveiling of a mural on the right-field wall featuring photos and logos of more than 250 fans and 65 small businesses from Worcester and surrounding Central Massachusetts towns. A pair of sold-out Education Days featured “You Choose The Rules” allowing local students to choose the rules for each inning of the game.
Among many other ventures, the team also created a Pen Pal Club with members of the local community and hosted two weeks of youth baseball clinics that drew over 330 children.
The results of these promotions paid off at the box office. The Bravehearts’ attendance jumped 30 percent from 2021, while five games at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field were sold out.
“This is a true testament to our fine staff who happily plunge toilets, pull tarp, pick up trash, and dance in the stands every night in order to leave fans smiling,” Peterson said. “Without them, this award does not end up in Worcester. I appreciate them so much. Thank you to the Futures League, a league I love. I promise you there is plenty more to accomplish. We’re on to 2023.”
A familiar face to Worcester baseball fans for more than 15 years, Peterson also worked as the on-field master of ceremonies and then Vice President of Sales & Marketing for the former Worcester Tornadoes independent team (whose jerseys made an appearance for a June throwback night this summer) from 2005-10.
In addition to his spearheading the Bravehearts’ efforts on the field and throughout the community, Peterson can still be found roaming the stands and firing up the crowd with his signature “rally dance” late in games.
His signature “Tacky Rally Jacket” spurred the idea of the “Rally Jerseys” in 2022, as the Bravehearts became the first team in baseball history to change jerseys in the seventh inning if the team was losing.
The Executive of the Year Award is named for Bill Terlecky, the former North Shore Navigators GM who lost his courageous battle with cancer three years ago. Peterson and Terlecky himself are the only executives to win the award more than once.
“He deserves this honor and recognition which is especially meaningful since the award is named in memory of the late, great Bill Terlecky who was a longtime mentor to many people in baseball, including Dave,” Creedon said.
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