American Association To Induct Five in 2024 Hall of Fame Class

MOORHEAD, MN – The American Association of Professional Baseball Hall of Fame will welcome five new members in the 2024 class when the league holds induction ceremonies as part of the American Association All-Star Game festivities in Kansas City, KS on July 23. The five inductees are David Espinosa (player), Sam Katz (owner), Hal Lanier (manager), Ben Moore (player) and Curt Smith (player).


The 2024 Hall of Fame Luncheon and induction ceremony will be held on Tuesday, July 23 at the Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center in Kansas City, MO. – the historic building where “Rube” Foster established the Negro Leagues in 1920.


“Our league members and Hall of Fame Committee have brought forward five very deserving inductees for the American Association Hall of Fame,” said Commissioner Joshua Schaub. “Each inductee has made a tremendous impact on the American Association both on and off the field. We are as proud and excited to honor them and our league’s history as we continue to build on the foundations they helped put down.”


Short biographies of the inductees are listed below.


David Espinosa

  • Grand Prairie – American Association, 2008-11
  • Lincoln – American Association, 2012-13
  • Kansas City – American Association, 2014
  • Wichita – American Association, 2014-15
  • St. Paul – American Association, 2015

A two-time league champion and owner of a .314 career AAPB batting average, Espinosa ranks first in league history with 46 triples, second with 529 runs scored and third with 801 hits. The 2010 postseason all-star shortstop also holds Grand Prairie career records with 314 games played, 268 runs, 394 hits and 63 doubles over his four seasons with the AirHogs. After his playing career, he became an independent scout for the Miami Marlins and the Cincinnati Reds.


Sam Katz

  • Winnipeg Goldeyes – Northern League, American Association, 1994-present

Owner and Director of the Winnipeg Goldeyes, Katz returned professional baseball to Winnipeg in 1994. He spearheaded the building of Blue Cross Park in downtown Winnipeg, which opened in 1999 and founded the Goldeyes’ Field of Dreams Foundation which benefits . Katz also served has Mayor of Winnipeg from 2004-2014.


Hal Lanier

  • Winnipeg Goldeyes – Northern League, 1996-2005
  • Joliet JackHammers – Northern League, 2006-07

A former Major League player and manager, Lanier joined the Winnipeg Goldeyes as manager in 1996 and crafted a 472-360 record in ten seasons. His clubs advanced to the post-season every year he was manager. Lanier spent over ten seasons in Major League baseball as a player and managed the Houston Astros from 1986-88 and was named the National League Manager of the Year in 1986.


Ben Moore

  • Winnipeg – Northern League, 2006-07
  • Sioux Falls – American Association, 2008-11, 2013-14 (player), 2017-20 (coach)
  • Laredo – American Association, 2016 (coach)

Second in league history and first in Canaries AAPB history with 55 career victories, 701 strikeouts and 797.1 innings pitched, Moore led the league in strikeouts three times and was named a post-season all-star twice. He was a member of Sioux Falls’ 2008 championship squad, while his 144 Ks in 2011 are fourth-most in league history.


Curt Smith

  • Lincoln – American Association, 2011, 2013, 2015-2021

The face of the Saltdogs for a decade and a two-time post-season league all-star, Smith ranks third in AAPB history with 151 career doubles, fourth with 794 hits and 441 RBI and sixth with 96 home runs. Assembling a .309 batting average over eight seasons with Lincoln, he leads the club in nearly every career offensive record during its AAPB tenure. The Curacao native also represented the Kingdom of the Netherlands at countless international tournaments, including the 2009, 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classics.


The American Association of Professional Baseball ( and is a Major League Baseball Partner League that operates in nine states and one Canadian province.  Formed in 2006, the league consists of twelve member clubs with many beginning play in 1993.  By the end of 2023, over 55 players with American Association experience had made their debut with MLB clubs after having first played in the American Association.



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