By RONALD BLUM
NEW YORK (AP) — Katy Feeney, a baseball executive for four decades and a daughter of former National League President Chub Feeney, has died. She was 68.
Feeney died Saturday while visiting relatives in Maine. She had not shown any sign of illness, baseball officials said. She retired from baseball in December after working her final postseason.
Feeney was hired by the NL in 1977 and rose to Major League Baseball’s senior vice president of club relations and scheduling. She was among the most prominent women in baseball and the sport’s go-to expert on the complicated rules governing the schedule.
She was a familiar presence at baseball’s biggest events, thoughtfully remembered everyone’s name around the game and almost always sported a stylish hat from a vast collection she built during her many travels.
“All of us at Major League Baseball are shocked and saddened by the news of Katy’s passing,” the commissioner’s office said in a statement Sunday. “She was one of the game’s most dedicated executives. Overseeing the schedule, Katy long held one of the most challenging positions in the sport.”
“Be it in that capacity, at the All-Star Game or throughout the postseason, Katy’s unmatched work ethic allowed her to serve our clubs with excellence throughout a decorated career,” MLB said.
An avid theater-goer who long took tap-dancing lessons, she was a baseball lifer, born into one of the sport’s longstanding families. Her father, Charles S. Feeney, was a grandson of Charles Stoneham, the New York Giants’ controlling owner from 1919-36, and a nephew of Horace Stoneham, who owned the team from 1936-76 and moved it to San Francisco after the 1957 season.
Charles Feeney became a Giants vice president and by 1950 essentially was the club’s general manager. He served as NL president from late 1969 until 1986, and was the San Diego Padres president for a little over a year in 1987 and ’88.
A University of California-Berkeley graduate, Katy Feeney followed her father to the NL office, was promoted to assistant director of public relations in 1979 and became director of media and public affairs in December 1986 following the resignation of Blake Cullen.
In that role, she became a friendly voice to media and later fans in the broadcast era as the person who introduced National League players on the podium during the postseason and All-Star Games. Following the merger of the NL and AL with the commissioner’s office in 2000, she became the point person for dealing with the formation of the schedule and its rejiggering when weather caused havoc.
At the winter meetings last December, she quietly made the rounds in the press room, saying individual goodbyes to those she’d worked with for years. As usual, she didn’t want to make a fuss.
“For decades, Katy carried on her family’s great baseball tradition and became a mentor to many young officials,” the commissioner’s office said. “In particular, she was one of the leading pioneers to the female executives of our game. Her friends and colleagues will never forget Katy’s unwavering commitment to baseball.”
The Giants said she was survived by brothers John, Stoney and Will; sister Mary; and eight nieces and nephews. Feeney was still a regular at AT&T Park and loved coming back to San Francisco, including during the Cubs-Giants NL Division Series last October.
“The passing of Katy Feeney brings great sadness to our organization,” Giants CEO Larry Baer said. “Katy was one of the most experienced voices in the game and was a longtime friend that left an imprint not only on the Giants organization, but all of baseball.”