Houston's Dias Honored with 2017 Robert O. Fishel Award at Baseball's Winter Meetings

Style Magazine Newswire | 12/11/2017, 4:22 p.m.
Gene Dias, Vice President of Communications for the Houston Astros, has been named the recipient of the 2017 Robert O. ...

Orlando, FL – Gene Dias, Vice President of Communications for the Houston Astros, has been named the recipient of the 2017 Robert O. Fishel Award for Public Relations Excellence, presented this evening during the Baseball Winter Meetings.

The Robert O. Fishel Award, named after the longtime baseball executive, goes to the “active, non-uniformed representative of Major League Baseball whose ethics, character, dedication, service, professionalism and humanitarianism best represent the standards propounded by Robert O. Fishel.” An executive with the Cleveland Indians, the St. Louis Browns, the New York Yankees and the American League Office, Fishel was the inaugural winner of the Award in 1981.

“This award is truly a reflection of our terrific Communications staff,” said Dias. “I’m so very proud of the great work of our staff during this very special season. We all share in this award.”

Dias just completed his ninth season with the Astros, having joined the franchise in 2009 following nearly 20 years with the Philadelphia Phillies. Dias plays a major role in all baseball and business communications for the Astros and supports initiatives throughout the organization. Dias and his staff have guided the Astros through two of the last three Postseasons, including Houston’s first World Series Championship in franchise history in 2017. This season, the Astros also received the 2017 Allan H. Selig Award for Philanthropic Excellence in recognition of its “Houston Astros Community Leaders Program,” which has allowed more than 30,000 children throughout the Greater Houston area to access baseball and softball programming, education-based initiatives and volunteer opportunities. Additionally, Dias and his staff oversaw the recent Hall of Fame inductions of Craig Biggio (2016) and Jeff Bagwell (2017), who were the first two Astros ever to reach Cooperstown. The Astros’ PR team assembled far-reaching media campaigns for each player.

Dias, a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, where he was a member of the baseball team, volunteers with the Astros Foundation and is currently a board member with the Houston Chapter of the NAACP. Prior to joining the Astros, Dias worked in various roles for the Phillies, including in media relations and then as Director of Community Relations. In the latter capacity, he created a number of programs and events that remain in place today and served on the board of directors of Phillies Charities, Inc.

Fishel Award nominees are submitted by the 30 Major League Clubs and league officials. The nominees are voted upon by active past winners and MLB officials. The previous winners of the Fishel Award are:

1981 – Robert O. Fishel, American League

1982 – Robert W. Brown, Baltimore Orioles

1983 – Larry Shenk, Philadelphia Phillies

1984 – Arthur E. (Red) Patterson, California Angels

1985 – Jim Ferguson, Cincinnati Reds

1986 – Fred Claire, Los Angeles Dodgers

1987 – Jim Toomey, St. Louis Cardinals

1988 – Tom Mee, Minnesota Twins

1989 – Donald Davidson, Houston Astros

1990 – Ned Colletti, Chicago Cubs

1991 – Phyllis K. Merhige, American League

1992 – Richard Griffin, Montreal Expos

1993 – John Blake, Texas Rangers

1994 – Katy Feeney, National League

1995 – Howard Starkman, Toronto Blue Jays

1996 – Bill Guilfoile, National Baseball Hall of Fame

1997 – Dick Bresciani, Boston Red Sox

1998 – Jay Horwitz, New York Mets

1999 – Bob DiBiasio, Cleveland Indians

2000 – Tim Mead, Anaheim Angels

2001 – Rob Matwick, Houston Astros

2002 – Mike Swanson, Arizona Diamondbacks

2003 – Rick Vaughn, Tampa Bay Devil Rays

2004 – Jeff Idelson, National Baseball Hall of Fame

2005 – Randy Adamack, Seattle Mariners

2006 – Rob Butcher, Cincinnati Reds

2007 – Richard Levin, Major League Baseball

2008 – Scott Reifert, Chicago White Sox

2009 – Patrick Courtney, Major League Baseball

2010 – Jay Alves, Colorado Rockies

2011 – Jim Trdinich, Pittsburgh Pirates

2012 – Staci Slaughter, San Francisco Giants

2013 – Tim Hevly, Seattle Mariners

2014 – Jason Zillo, New York Yankees

2015 – Brian Bartow, St. Louis Cardinals

2016 – Bart Swain, Cleveland Indians