Found Portland Sea Dogs general manager and president Charlie Eshbach has died.
Charlie Eshbach, the founding general manager and president of the Portland Sea Dogs, is seen at the Bangor Chamber of Commerce breakfast held at the Black Bear Inn in Orono in this June 24, 2009, file photo. Credit: Michael C. York / BDN

Charlie Eshbach, who spent 25 years building up the Portland Sea Dogs, has died.

Eshbach, who was 70, died after a lengthy illness, the team announced Tuesday.

“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,” Chairman Bill Burke and Treasurer Sally McNamara said in a statement.

Sea Dogs founder Dan Burke hired Eshbach as the Double-A Red Sox affiliate’s first employee ahead of its inaugural season in 1994. Eshbach served as general manager until he stepped down in 2015 but remained the team’s president for another three years. Eshbach continued to serve as an adviser to the Sea Dogs.

Under his leadership, the Sea Dogs won the Freitas Award in 1999 and the John H. Johnson President’s Trophy in 2000.

Eshback, who had a 45-year career in Minor League Baseball, was honored as the Eastern League Executive of the Year in 1994 and 2002 and named the “King of Baseball” in 2013. He was inducted into the Portland Sea Dogs Hall of Fame in 2018.

Prior to joining the Sea Dogs, he worked with the Elmira Pioneers in New York starting in 1974 before moving onto the Bristol Red Sox the next year. He also served as general manager of the Reading Phillies in 1978.

Eshbach is survived by his wife Ann-Marie and sons Brian and Scott, along with grandchildren Charlie and Audrey Eshbach.