Minor League Baseball has announced the Albuquerque Isotopes are the recipient of the 45th annual John H. Johnson President's Award. The Isotopes will receive Minor League Baseball's top honor at the Baseball Winter Meetings on Sunday, Dec. 9, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.
The John H. Johnson President's Award has been presented annually since 1974 to honor the most complete baseball franchise. The award's criteria are based on contributions to league stability, contributions to baseball in the community, promotion of the baseball industry and financial stability. This is the first time in franchise history the Isotopes have won the honor having previously been nominated as the Pacific Coast League's representative for the award in 2004, 2007 and 2010.
"The ownership and staff of the Albuquerque Isotopes have been among the most dedicated and steady in all of Minor League Baseball, and in their 16 years, they have become one of Minor League Baseball's elite franchises," said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O'Conner. "Their dedication to their community, their fans and Minor League Baseball as a whole, has been exemplary and I salute them for a job well done."
With a staff of 28 full-time employees, the Isotopes front office has been the epitome of loyalty and continuity throughout the years. Led by team President Ken Young since day one, 33% of the front office staff have been with the organization for at least 15 of 16 seasons and 47% have been with the team for 10 years.
The Isotopes have ranked in the top 10 attendances of all 160 Minor League teams each year of the club's existence, averaging more than 8,100 fans per game during each of its 16 seasons. Additionally, the 2018 season saw the Isotopes finish with the third-highest attendance in the Pacific Coast League. With 556,330 fans passing through the Isotopes Park gates in 2018, the Isotopes attendance has never fallen out of the top-five in the PCL since beginning play in 2003, despite playing in the 11th most populated market among the 16 teams in the league.
The 2018 season also saw the largest single-game crowd in Isotopes Park history on May 5 with 16,975 fans packing the ballpark for the debut of the Mariachis de Nuevo México. Meanwhile in 2018, on Aug. 6, Isotopes Park welcomed the 9 millionth fan in Isotopes history through the gates.
The Isotopes take pride in giving back to a supportive community through a wide variety of initiatives. The Isotopes use their high-profile presence to provide support and resources to area programs, institutions, non-profits and organizations.
In 2018, Orbit has made over 300 appearances throughout the Albuquerque area while the Isotopes front office staff has already logged over 350 volunteer hours serving the local community.
Through numerous in-stadium fundraising functions, the Isotopes raised over $700,000 in the past calendar year for local organizations through initiatives such as a concession stand volunteer program, charity walks and jersey auctions among many others. Additionally, through the Stadium Lease Agreement, which includes rent and surcharge amounts, the Isotopes have paid more than $28 million back to the City of Albuquerque, an average of $1.7 million over the past 16 years.
"It is beyond humbling to receive our industry's top honor, especially when the Pacific Coast League is filled with so many deserving teams and leaders," said Isotopes General Manager John Traub. "Under Ken's leadership, we are proud to have been able to deliver 16 years of consistent, family-friendly entertainment to our fans. Whether we're embracing diversity through the Mariachis de Nuevo México, giving back to the community through volunteer work or entertaining a ballpark packed with fans, our organization looks forward to continuing our tradition of successes for another 16 years and beyond."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.