FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- Fort Wayne TinCaps Team President Mike Nutter is set to be inducted into the Northeast Indiana Baseball Association Hall of Fame on Sunday, May 19.
Nutter is a three-time Midwest League Executive of the Year, having earned the award in 2004, 2009, and 2015. In a league that traces its history to 1947, he's one of only three people to win that accolade three or more times. Nutter came to Fort Wayne as an Assistant General Manager in 1999 and is now in his 20th season with the organization, and his 19th as Team President. The humble and self-deprecating Ohio native guided the team through its transition from the Fort Wayne Wizards at Memorial Stadium to rebranding as the TinCaps in 2009 and moving into Parkview Field.
Under Nutter's leadership, the TinCaps have been one of the most successful organizations in Minor League Baseball for more than a decade. In 2016, the TinCaps won Minor League Baseball's most prestigious honor, the John H. Johnson President's Award for overall organizational excellence-only one out of 160 teams in MiLB claims the annual award.
Through the first 10 seasons of TinCaps baseball at Parkview Field, the team has drawn more than 4 million fans to games, plus another 1 million-plus for special events, and garnered national acclaim. From Parkview Field being ranked the No. 1 Minor League Ballpark Experience in the country by Stadium Journey to the team's merchandise sales perennially ranking among the top 25 in MiLB, the organization has been recognized in a multitude of ways for its logo, marketing, food, service, and more. Most recently, Ballpark Digest presented the TinCaps with its Continued Excellence Award in 2018.
Perhaps the national award during Nutter's era as President of the TinCaps that best encapsulates his character and the mission of the organization was winning Minor League Baseball's John H. Moss Community Service Award in 2015. Like the John H. Johnson President's Award, that is presented annually to just one of MiLB's 160 teams.
Nutter himself was honored by the Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana in 2016 with their Individual of Integrity Award. During his time in Fort Wayne he has volunteered with non-profit organizations such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Erin's House for Grieving Children, Greater Fort Wayne Inc., and Visit Fort Wayne. That's on top of being a married father of two teenagers. Nutter, 46, has also coached his son's youth baseball teams and been a proud supporter at his daughter's cheerleading competitions.
Prior to making Fort Wayne his home, Nutter began his career in Minor League Baseball as an intern for the Kane County Cougars of the Midwest League in Geneva, Ill. After graduating from Bowling Green State University, Nutter worked for the Brevard County Manatees, formerly of the High-A Florida State League, and then the Triple-A Nashville Sounds.
"This is truly an honor," Nutter said. "The TinCaps greatly appreciate the work that the Northeast Indiana Baseball Association does in our community. While my name may be on this plaque, the success of the TinCaps has been the result of the hard work and dedication of everyone who's worked at Parkview Field."
Nutter will be joined in the NEIBA Hall of Fame Class of 2019 by Mike Frame and Mike Marchesano. Frame is the longtime head baseball coach at Huntington University, while Marchesano is a Fort Wayne native who was a pitcher for Team Italy in the 2004 Olympics.
"The NEIBA Hall of Fame roster reads like a 'who's-who' of baseball in Northeast Indiana and the three gentlemen we're inducting this year are no exception," said Jim Shovlin, NEIBA President. "We are honored to have them join us as Hall of Famers."
The NEIBA is a non-profit organization committed to preserving and promoting baseball in Northeast Indiana. Since 1961, the NEIBA has honored local baseball players, personnel, and ambassadors through a Hall of Fame and honors program. Each year, these honorees are recognized at a banquet. Sunday's event starts at 5 p.m. at the Classic Cafe Catering & Event Center in Fort Wayne.
While Nutter has established himself as a leader regionally in Northeast Indiana, he has become highly respected across the game of baseball. Among those who commended Nutter upon learning of his latest accomplishment was National Baseball Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman. The legendary former closer for the San Diego Padres, who Fort Wayne has been a Minor League affiliate of since 1999, tweeted:
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.