The Fort Wayne TinCaps are the recipient of this year’s John H. Johnson President’s Award, Minor League Baseball announced Thursday. The award is given for all-around organizational excellence and is considered MiLB’s top honor, annually going to only one of the 160 MiLB teams across all levels.
The John H. Johnson President’s Award honors the “complete” baseball franchise, based on contributions to baseball in the community, promotion of the baseball industry, contributions to league stability, and financial stability. This is the first time the TinCaps have received the award, which has been given out annually since 1974.
“Through their tireless efforts in their community and their dedication to making Parkview Field a destination throughout the year, the TinCaps have become a model franchise for Minor League Baseball,” MiLB President and CEO Pat O’Conner said in a press release. “This award acknowledges the exceptional job they have done, and on behalf of Minor League Baseball, I congratulate the TinCaps on another outstanding season and wish them continued success in the future.”
Here is some of what the TinCaps achieved in 2016 (information provided by the team):
During the 2016 season, the TinCaps welcomed 413,701 fans to Parkview Field, averaging 6,084 per opening. Both of those figures set franchise records in the ballpark’s eighth year. Fort Wayne outdrew 12 of 30 Triple-A teams, 28 of 30 Double-A clubs, and ranked second out of 100 Single-A and Rookie organizations. On top of that, Parkview Field has hosted nearly 150,000 guests across 700-plus non-TinCaps events in the last year.
This past season at Parkview Field also marked the debut of The Summit presented by Tuthill, a one-of-a-kind group area atop The Tuthill 400 Club that overlooks center field. Additionally, the TinCaps upgraded their award-winning ballpark with the expansion of protective safety netting to the far ends of both dugouts, and a new concourse surface. Since Parkview Field opened in 2009, the TinCaps have spent more than $6 million enhancing the ballpark. …
The TinCaps continued their tradition of community service in 2016. For example, the TinCaps Reading Program presented by Longe Optical grew to encompass 296 schools and 90 libraries around the region, reaching more than 113,000 students. Meanwhile, other initiatives included showcasing a different local non-profit organization at each home game, donating a value of almost $700,000 to 600 organizations and charities through the TinCaps CARE program, helping to restore a local little league field, and supporting our military. Members of the TinCaps staff also volunteer with 70 community organizations.
This is the second consecutive year the TinCaps received a prestigious Minor League Baseball award, after being given the John H. Moss Community Service Award in 2015. They are the first club to get a major MiLB award in consecutive years since the Nashville Sounds in 1980-81.
The TinCaps will receive the John H. Johnson President’s Award at the Baseball Winter Meetings Banquet on Sunday, Dec. 4, in National Harbor, Maryland. They are the fifth Midwest League team to get the award. Previous MWL winners were the 1980 Quad-City Cubs, the 2008 Cedar Rapids Kernels, the 2012 Dayton Dragons, and the 2015 South Bend Cubs. This is only the fourth time that two teams from the same league won the John H. Johnson President’s Award in back-to-back years.