The Futures Collegiate Baseball League’s North Shore Navigators introduced local baseball icon Derek January as the leader of their new ownership group on Oct. 3, 2019.
January’s brother, Jeff, and father, Don, will be managing partners. All three were born, raised, and still live on the North Shore and bring extensive, varied baseball experience to the two-time FCBL Organization of the Year, which Patrick A. Salvi had previously owned since 2012.
“My dad, Jeff and I are thrilled that this opportunity has presented itself to us,” said Derek January. “We look forward to bringing some new ideas that will work great with the foundation of fans and sponsors that (former General Manager) Bill Terlecky and Pat developed over their time here. We are excited to have the chance to work with so many great people in this community. The North Shore has a rich baseball history and we look forward to continuing that tradition at historic Fraser Field.”
Derek will run the Navs’ day-to-day operations as the general manager after aiding the team in a player procurement role during the 2019 season. He was responsible for bringing in many players that contributed to North Shore’s 30-win campaign, culminating in a playoff appearance for the first time since 2016.
January is the co-owner of Expos Baseball, which is in its ninth year as one of New England’s most successful travel programs. Expos Baseball has helped guide more than 100 players to college and at least eight to the professional level. Nine Expos alumni played for last year’s Navs, including FCBL All-Star Most Outstanding Pitcher and current UMass Lowell freshman Cam Seguin. January expects the pipeline with the Navs to continue for years to come.
“Playing for the Navs is a great segue for our kids to continue to get better,” January said. “It's an honor for me to have some of 'our (Expos) guys' — some who played in the program for six or seven years — wanting to play for the Navs. They're all good players that can play at this level and make an impact on and off the field, and a lot of them are local. Having high-level local players on the Navs is a 'home run' for the fans and the community.”
During his own career, January played at Miami-Dade Junior College in Florida and was drafted by both the New York Yankees and Milwaukee Brewers. His two sons also remain active in the game, as Ryan is a catcher in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization and Dylan will play at Franklin Pierce University after graduating from Swampscott High School this coming spring.
All three Januarys are members of the Boston Park League Hall of Fame, making them the only father-son(s) combination out of more than 250 all-time inductees to receive that honor. They have all umpired at the Division 1 level as well, including work in the prestigious Cape Cod League and New England Collegiate League.
Jeff, who has spent over 20 years in law enforcement, will be the team's Director of Operations. He is a former catcher at the University of South Florida and UMass Amherst. He is also a member of the North Shore Baseball League Hall of Fame.
Don, who was born in Lynn, played five years of professional baseball, reaching as high as the Triple-A level after signing with the Cleveland Indians in 1963. He has umpired three College World Series in Omaha, Neb., and worked Major League Baseball games as a replacement during two different umpire strikes.
“We are very excited to welcome the January Family into the Futures League,” said FCBL Commissioner Joe Paolucci. “The Januarys have been synonymous with baseball on the North Shore for decades and there is no doubt they are going to continue on with the great tradition that the Salvi Group and Bill Terlecky have built at Fraser Field.”