VISALIA, CA- The Visalia Rawhide, as announced by Minor League Baseball and Esurance, were named the inaugural 2016 Esurance Home Field Advantage Award winner, as well as General Manager Jennifer Pendergraft being honored as the California League "Women of Excellence" Award winner at the Winter Meetings in National Harbor, MD.
The Esurance Home Field Advantage Award honors the communities who best supported their hometown Minor League Baseball teams this season. One Minor League Baseball team in each of the 14 leagues has been named the Esurance Home Field Advantage Award winner based on the highest percentage capacity of the ballpark during the 2016 season.
"Minor League Baseball fans are some of the most dedicated and passionate in all of sports, and when asked to come out and support their hometown teams, that's exactly what they did," said David Wright, Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer for Minor League Baseball. "Fan support is a crucial part of a team's success, and this award recognizes their commitment."
Rawhide General Manager Jennifer Pendergraft was honored by the California League, in a vote by her peers, as the 2016 California League "Women of Excellence" Award winner. In 2007, Jennifer Pendergraft started as an Executive Assistant for the Visalia Oaks. She quickly fell in love with the town, Top of the Third ownership philosophies and what the ballclub had planned for the future. Jennifer has been in Visalia ever since. After assisting with the ballpark renovation process & team rebranding, she was named Assistant GM in 2009.
Continued ball club growth led to Jennifer's promotion to General Manager after the conclusion of the 2012 season and it has not stopped. She has continued to build an outstanding brand of family entertainment at Recreation Park which, in 2016, set an all-time attendance record for the fifth time in seven years as 123,079 fans came through the turnstiles.
Last year, the Rawhide won the California League's Excellence in Community Service Award. They achieved such an honor by Jennifer's leadership in making their community feel like they are a "Rawhide Family". Pendergraft also shared the "family love" with the entire California League when she told teams how to gain grant access from Strategic Business Solutions, LLC. She gave clubs a way to make their employees better while saving money at the same time.
The recent success of the Visalia Rawhide is due in no small part to Jen's dedication to the organization and the community of Visalia.
2017 marks the 71st year of baseball in Visalia at Recreation Ballpark and the 11th season as the Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Arizona Diamondback in the California League. For more information or tickets call 559-732-4433 or head to Rawhidebaseball.com. You can follow the Rawhide on Twitter (@VisaliaRawhide), Facebook (TheRawhide), Instagram (@visaliarawhide) and Snap Chat (visaliarawhide).