Clinton, IA - A successful 2013 season came to a close Wednesday morning when LumberKings' and Minor League Baseball photographer Paul Gierhart was awarded with the MILBY "Photo of the Year."
Gierhart climbed the left field berm in the seventh inning of the June 28th game against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and captured a beautiful shot of the sun setting beyond the grandstand of Ashford University Field. "I feel that God's gift of nature in combination with the greatest game ever invented and a whole lot of luck were the recipe for this image," said Gierhart.
The photo was one of 12 nominated for the award presented by Minor League Baseball. "It's outstanding for Paul to be honored with this award," said LumberKings Director of Media Relations Chad Seely. "All the hard work and long hours he puts in around stadiums in the Midwest League has paid off, so to speak. The picture captures what baseball in Clinton is all about."
For fans interested in the photo, it will be available in a variety of different sizes in the LumberKings souvenir shop in coming weeks. "Without the fans, there is no game. So, thank you fans everywhere, especially those of Clinton, IA," Gierhart said.
2013 was a year of attention-grabbing headlines for the Clinton baseball franchise. On the field, the LumberKings went to the MWL Playoffs for the ninth time in the last eleven seasons. They sent five players to the MWL All-Star Game and Tyler Pike was named left-handed Pitcher of the Year.
Off the field, the team was featured in a new ad campaign from Wahl Clipper Corporation to show how players prep and ready themselves and compare to the everyday man. Camera crews followed the team for a week in May and returned in August to tape players and staff members support St. Baldrick's Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity dedicated to raising funds for research for childhood cancer. The end result was several commercials on national TV throughout the summer, with more expected to be released November 4.
Author Lucas Mann returned to Clinton with the release of "Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere." The book centered around Mann's account of the LumberKings' 2010 season, which culminated in Clinton's trip to the Midwest League Championship Series.
"It's very flattering that the smallest full-season market has garnered this much attention. There's a lot of hard work that goes into the day-to-day operation of Minor League Baseball and we're very appreciative of the fans support," said LumberKings General Manager Ted Tornow.