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Jays honor longtime employee Starkman

MLB.com

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays are paying their respects to longtime employee Howard Starkman by creating an annual award in his honor.

Toronto has introduced the Howard Starkman Award which will be presented annually to the employee of the year. Starkman is set to officially retire on Friday and is the longest serving employee in the organization.

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TORONTO -- The Blue Jays are paying their respects to longtime employee Howard Starkman by creating an annual award in his honor.

Toronto has introduced the Howard Starkman Award which will be presented annually to the employee of the year. Starkman is set to officially retire on Friday and is the longest serving employee in the organization.

View Full Game Coverage

Starkman joined the Blue Jays in 1976 and was one of the first employees ever hired by the organization. He was the longtime director of public relations before eventually moving on to become the vice president of media relations and later the vice president of special projects.

The Blue Jays also honored Starkman by placing a small plaque inscribed "Howard Starkman #38" on the side of the bases that were used during Thursday night's game. The number 38 represents the total amount of years that Starkman worked in the organization.

The award will be displayed at Rogers Centre and will include the following:

"The Howard Starkman Award was established in April 2014 to honour the career of long-time Blue Jays employee Howard Starkman. It is granted annually to the Employee of the Year for the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club, who best exemplifies the values of integrity, innovation, accountability, team work and a passion for winning. At the inception of this award, Howard was the longest standing Blue Jays employee having started with the club in 1976.

"In a career with the Blue Jays that spanned five decades, Howard was the recipient of numerous accolades. The prestigious Robert O. Fishel Award for excellence in Public Relations was bestowed upon Howard in 1995, he was twice recognized by the Toronto Chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America with the Good Guy Award, he won the Sports Media Canada President's Award in 2012 and he was part of the World Champion Toronto Blue Jays organizations of 1992 and 1993.

"Over the years, Howard mentored and guided the careers of many within the sports business, a gift that is looked back on with sincere and heartfelt gratitude."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB.

Toronto Blue Jays