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The Portland Sea Dogs' founding president and general manager Charlie Eshbach has died at 70

Charles Eshbach-Portland Sea Dogs
Michael C. York
Bangor Daily News file
Charles Eshbach, general manager and at the Bangor Chamber of Commerce breakfast held at the Black Bear Inn, Orono, Maine, Wednesday, June 24, 2009.

Charlie Eshbach, described as "the heart and the brains" behind the Portland Sea Dogs, has died.

Eshbach was already an established minor league baseball executive when Sea Dogs founder Dan Burke hired him to put together the franchise that first took the field in Portland in 1994. Eshbach became the team's first president and general manager.

The team drew more than 375,000 fans its first season and regularly leads its league in attendance. Eshbach's successor, current Sea Dogs president and general manager Geoff Iacuessa, said Eschbach would have been successful in any business.

"The way that he led people, the way that he treated people, just an outstanding person," he said. "You go back to that — treat others the way you want to be treated. I think he exemplified that."

Iacussa said word of Eshbach's death Tuesday has already spurred reaction.

"All the feedback we're getting from fans, talking about what a great person he was, and I think most people know that, and it's just a sad day for us as a staff," he said. "But, just remember Charlie for who he was, what a great person he was and thankful for the opportunity to work for him and with him."

Eshbach stepped down as team president in 2018. The Sea Dogs say Eshbach died after a lengthy illness. He was 70 years old.