CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Dr. Gene Budig, who served as the final president of the American League in Major League Baseball, and later became a part owner of the Charleston RiverDogs, passed away on Tuesday morning according to the team. The Isle of Palms resident was 81.
“This is a truly sad day for the RiverDogs family. Gene was not only a partner, but a great friend. Gene and Gretchen have been a constant presence at the ballpark for the last 15 years, and Gene’s humor, sage advice, and pure love of baseball will be sorely missed. Our hearts go out to Gretchen and the Budig family,” Marv Goldklang, chairman and principal owner of the RiverDogs said in a statement.
Budig and his wife moved to the Isle of Palms in 2005 after he retired. He would become a part owner of the RiverDogs in 2007.
“Following his accomplished career in academia, Gene Budig became a friend to many in Baseball. Dr. Budig took great pride in his role as American League President, and continued to be in the game as part-owner of the Charleston RiverDogs." MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "We appreciate his impact on students, his service to the Air National Guard, and his lifelong connection to our National Pastime. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to his wife Gretchen, their family, and his friends throughout our game.”
Budig also spent much of his life working in academics. He served as President at Illinois State and West Virginia University and as a Chancellor at the University of Kansas before going to work in baseball.