Dolan family gets Lifetime Achievement Award

Greater Cleveland Sports also honors Indians hosting of All-Star Game

January 23rd, 2020

CLEVELAND -- Every year, the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards takes time to honor a person who through personal dedication and achievements has advanced sports in Cleveland, and to highlight the city’s top sports moment of the year. On Wednesday night, the Indians were honored in both categories.

First, the Tribe’s owner/chairman and CEO, Paul Dolan, took the stage to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Cuyahoga Community College following a video that documented the Dolan family’s pursuit of owning the club and their impact in the community.

“It’s an incredible honor and privilege to be up here, representing the Dolan family for this award,” Dolan said in his acceptance speech. “[My parents] could not be here, but I know how pleased and how proud they are tonight to receive this award. I think they’re particularly proud because the award doesn’t go to one or two individuals; it goes to the Dolan family. And to them, yes, baseball is important, but if there’s anything more important than baseball, it’s family.”

Dolan’s father, Larry, purchased the Indians in 2000. His community and charity involvement has included work as former president of the Christopher Foundation, executive board member of the Geauga County Chapter of the American Red Cross, board member of the Cleveland Foundation, and founder and former president of the Geauga County Public Library Foundation.

“It was mentioned that we pursued the Browns [before the Indians],” Dolan said. “There was a public part of that process, and my father would get up and say, ‘Whatever we do with the team doesn’t matter, if we don’t positively impact the lives of the people in our community, in particularly the young.’

“I remember being surprised by that. Not by the sentiment, but that he would lead so powerfully with that as a reason why we were pursuing the team. When it turned out that we got the Indians, that attitude that he brought was very prominent. It really kind of shaped the culture of the Indians.”

Paul Dolan became the primary control person of the franchise in 2013. His involvement in the community includes work with the Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland and his position of chairman of the board of directors for United Way of Greater Cleveland from 2018-20.

“I want to thank the men and women of the Cleveland Indians,” Dolan said. “When we bought the team, we said we're not just buying a great team, we're buying a great organization. And I think 21 years later, we nailed that even better than we knew at the time.”

After Dolan left the stage, all attention shifted to the video board, where the Indians were honored for the best sports moment of the year by hosting the 2019 All-Star Game. The festivities, community involvement, ’s All-Star Game MVP Award performance and ’s moving Stand Up 2 Cancer moment all were highlighted in the video montage.

“For me, probably the most powerful moment was the Stand Up to Cancer moment with Carlos Carrasco,” Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said as he accepted the award. “That moment in the ballpark and what it meant to Carlos and all that he had been through, it was so powerful.

“We happened to be hosting some pediatric cancer patients at the ballpark and at a number of events throughout that week. And to hear them share their stories and what that meant for them and how it lifted their spirits and lifted them through a very difficult journey they were going through, and to know they had so much support. That’s probably the one that resonated with me the most.”

Antonetti and Dolan left the event without speaking to the media, but they didn’t escape the stage without fielding a couple of questions about the upcoming season. And while there’s much speculation about whether the team will make more additions to the roster before Opening Day, both Dolan and Antonetti seem confident in the current roster of young talent.

“We’re lucky to be guided by one of the best managers in baseball,” Antonetti said. “Paul earlier used the word ‘magician,’ and Terry Francona is that. He finds a way every year to build a unique identity with the team, that finds some way to go in every day and compete. We’re so lucky to have him. Not only for what he does on the field but all the things he does off the field as well.”