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William Gladstone ’55, Owner of Tri-City ValleyCats, Dies

05/04/2020

William Gladstone ’55, 2017 Alumnus of the Year, died on April 30, 2020, at 88 from complications of COVID-19. Gladstone was Chairman and Principal Owner of Troy, N.Y.-based Minor League Baseball team Tri-City ValleyCats, the Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros, after a long career with Ernst & Young.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Gladstone served a tour of duty with the U.S. Air Force as a Second Lieutenant during the Korean War and spent most of his business career at Arthur Young & Company. He played a key role in the firm’s merger with Ernst and Whinney and became Co-Chief Executive of Ernst and Young in 1989.

Gladstone and his partners purchased the Pittsfield Mets franchise in 1992, and, in 2002, he was instrumental in moving the team to Troy, N.Y., where it was renamed the Tri-City ValleyCats. He was elected to the board of directors for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1991 and was a member of Minor League Baseball’s Board of Trustees for 12 years, and he served on the board of directors and executive committee for the New York-Penn League. In 2015 he was crowned the “King of Baseball” by Minor League Baseball for his dedication and service to the sport.

In 2017, Gladstone was named an Alumnus of the Year at the annual Alumni Association Luncheon, where he spoke of the influence the Law School has had on his long career, both during his tenure at Ernst & Young and his post-retirement work in the world of baseball.

“Being knowledgeable in various areas of the law is a great foundation for many business challenges you face after graduation,” he said. “My plans to practice law gradually changed as my career progressed, but what I learned at Brooklyn Law School and the discipline it encouraged remained very important for my career growth and success throughout 40 years.”

“Bill truly was one of the Law School’s most accomplished graduates. He succeeded brilliantly in sparkling careers as a top executive both in business and professional baseball,” said Nick Allard, professor of law and former dean of the Law School. “He was an iconic American original, and his passion for his family ran deep. I will always remember the magical summer evenings joining them at Cats games sitting with the King and Queen of Baseball behind home plate surrounded by family, friends, and fans. By any measure, Bill was an all-time home run leader.”

Gladstone is survived by his daughter, Susan, son, Doug, and his five grandchildren. He is predeceased by his wife of over 60 years, Millie, who died in 2018.

Read the Times-Union obituary.

View the Dean’s Luncheon conversation.