Major League Baseball's 2013 slogan is "We Play For October." The Oakland A's bought into that philosophy and so did their Double-A affiliate.
While their season on the diamond came to an end on Labor Day, the RockHounds are having an outstanding October of their own. The club has been nominated for four national awards, including Minor League Baseball's top three honors.
The RockHounds are the Texas League's nominee for the John H. Johnson President's Award, the Larry MacPhail Award, and the John Henry Moss Community Service Award. In addition, Eloisa Galvan is the league's nominee for the Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year Award.
While criteria for each award is different (see below), the common thread is a club's contributions to its local and baseball "communities."
¨ John H. Johnson Award - - - Minor League Baseball's highest honor, recognizing what it calls the "complete franchise."
¨ Larry MacPhail Award - - - Focuses on marketing and promotional creativity.
¨ John Henry Moss Community Service Award - - - The newest of the three honors (this is its inaugural year), named for the South Atlantic League's founder and longtime president, relates directly and specifically to a franchise's commitment to charitable service.
Each league (with the exception of the Gulf Coast and Arizona Rookie leagues) nominate one club for each of the awards, meaning just 14 clubs become finalists for the respective awards.
"We feel very fortunate to represent the Texas League as a finalist for these awards," said general manager Monty Hoppel. "There are so many outstanding franchises across the country and each of us works extremely hard to provide a first class product for our fans. To see our efforts recognized is very gratifying."
'Hounds Are A Longshot … But That's A Good Thing
While it may sound strange to say, the RockHounds are unlikely to win the John H. Johnson Award, but only because the team was accorded the honor in 2007. Since the ultimate winner is selected from among more than 170 professional baseball franchises nationwide, the award is almost certainly a once-in-a-lifetime achievement. Just to be nominated … or re-nominated in the RockHounds' case … is a tremendous honor.
"What makes the John H. Johnson Award so significant is that it relates to a long term commitment," Hoppel said. "The club has been here for more than 40 years, with the same ownership since 1990, and the partnership with the community keeps getting stronger. That's a very special relationship and what Minor League Baseball is all about."
The RockHounds' outstanding "off-season" began with Hoppel being named Texas League Executive of the Year for a fifth time, joining a very exclusive "club." El Paso's Jim Paul (five) and Bill Valentine of the Arkansas Travelers (six) are the only others to have won the award five or more times, and both are in the league's Hall of Fame.
RockHounds Director of Business Operations Eloisa Galvan has been with the club, full-time, since 1994, and began as a game-day employee in 1989. Competition for the Rawlings award is tremendous, with the
winner being selected from a nationwide field. As with the team awards, to be the Texas League's nominee is an honor in itself.
Award winners will be announced during the annual Baseball Winter Meetings, December 9-12 in Orlando, Florida.
Minor League Baseball Awards
To be presented at the Baseball Winter Meetings
Orlando, FL - December 9-12, 2013
John H. Johnson President's Award
... honors a "complete" franchise that has demonstrated stability, and significant contributions to its community, league and the baseball industry.
John Henry Moss Community Service Award
… awarded to a club that demonstrates an outstanding, on-going commitment to charitable service, support and leadership within their local community and within the baseball industry.
Larry MacPhail Award
… given to a club that demonstrates outstanding and creative marketing and promotional efforts within its community, its ballpark (including non-game day events), in media and other promotional materials.
Rawlings Woman Executive Of The Year Award
… presented to a woman who has made outstanding contributions to her club, her league or to baseball.