MANCHESTER, N.H. - The New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Double-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, are proud to represent the Eastern League for the 2013 John H. Johnson President's Award. The prestigious honor, presented annually by Minor League Baseball, is given to one minor league team to recognize the franchise's long-term success while positively impacting the local community and the game of baseball.
"To be chosen to represent the Eastern League once again for the John H. Johnson Award is a tremendous honor and privilege," said Fisher Cats President Rick Brenner. "Since we arrived in New Hampshire, we have been blessed with a hard-working staff, committed partners in the community, and truly outstanding fans. They have enabled us to make a real impact over our first ten seasons, and will continue to do so as we move into the future."
The John H. Johnson President's Award is Minor League Baseball's top award, presented to honor "the complete baseball franchise." One team from each league in affiliated baseball is nominated based on franchise stability, contributions to league stability, impact on the community, and promotion of the baseball industry.
"Under the direction of Art Solomon and Rick Brenner, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats have established themselves as one of the model franchises in all of Minor League Baseball," said Eastern League President Joe McEacharn. "Thanks to the hard work of the entire staff in New Hampshire, the Fisher Cats are able to provide their fans with affordable, family entertainment on a nightly basis at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, while also establishing a strong commitment to their community, helping to raise money and awareness for hundreds of charities."
The Fisher Cats earned their second President's Award nomination by continuing the work that has made them one of the most successful teams in minor league baseball. Highlights for the nomination include:
- Fisher Cats and Fisher Cats Foundation have provided nearly $3.5 million in monetary and in-kind donations to more than 4,000 non-profit organizations since 2006.
- Annual Granite State Baseball Dinner has raised more than $960,000 for the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, the Ted Williams Foundation, and the Fisher Cats Foundation. Proceeds from the dinner have been used by the Fisher Cats Foundation to provide $200,000 in scholarships to 68 students in New Hampshire and Massachusetts since 2007.
- Continued to receive 'Best of' recognition in New Hampshire publications: 'Best Sporting Event to Take Clients To' (six years running), 'Best NH Sports Team' (three years), 'Favorite Sporting Event for Families' (three years), and 'Best Mascot' (two years).
- The Fisher Cats Reading Challenge, now presented by Velcro USA, Inc., has reached more than 200,000 students since its introduction in 2007.
- Nashua native and shortstop Kevin Nolan, the first New Hampshire native to play for the Fisher Cats, was named the Blue Jays Community Service Award winner for his work in the community.
- In April, partnered with Youk's Kids and E&R Cleaners to provide tickets to five thousand Manchester students for a game at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
- Hosted first charitable golf tournament on June 3, 2013 to raise funds for the Granite State Children's Alliance and Child Advocacy Centers of Hillsboro County.
- Hosted second annual 'Manchester Goes Back to School' event in August with Manchester Christian Church, Queen City Paint, and the Ted Williams Foundation, providing free school supplies to 4,000 families; Hosted several other programs and events to raise money and awareness for hundreds of community organizations throughout the year.
- Owner Art Solomon has published 'Making It in the Minors', an enjoyable read that provides a first-hand testament to making a team successful.
- Northeast Delta Dental Stadium upgrades include Samuel Adams Bar and Grill, MVP Healthcare Generation Go Play Area, Bank of New Hampshire VIP Party Suite, 140' LED board in left field, and more.
- With their major league affiliate, the Toronto Blue Jays, 68 players have advanced to the majors.
The President's Award would be the latest national honor for the Fisher Cats. In 2009, they won Baseball America's Double-A Bob Freitas Award recognizing the Fisher Cats as the most outstanding franchise at the Double-A level for overall business operation and long-term success. A year later, 2010, the team was honored with the Larry MacPhail Award as the nation's best in promotional effort and community involvement.
Minor League Baseball has presented the President's Award to one team each year since 1974. Three Eastern League teams have won the honor, the last coming in 2006. This year's winner will be announced at Minor League Baseball's Winter Meetings in December.
Fisher Cats Full and Half-Season Tickets are on sale now. Season Ticket Holders enjoy a host of benefits, including monthly all-you-can-eat barbecues, flexible exchange policy, a free kid's birthday party, invitation to exclusive events, and much more. Fans that purchase by February 1 will also receive double the Fisher Cash - up to $100 per full season seat - to use at concessions stands or in the Souvenir Store. Opening Day at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium is April 10, 2014, against the Binghamton Mets (Binghamton Mets). For tickets, visit www.nhfishercats.com or call (603) 641-2005.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.