Hillsboro, OR. (December 1, 2017) - Baseball America has honored the Hillsboro Hops (@HillsboroHops) with the Freitas Award for 2017. The publication has handed out the Freitas Award every year since 1989 to honor the top overall operations in minor league baseball. The Hops are being honored as the top Short Season/Rookie League organization.
"We'd like to thank Baseball America for selecting our franchise for this prestigious award. We are humbled to join such great company with past winners," said Hillsboro Hops President K.L. Wombacher. "From our dedicated owners and staff to our loyal fans and community partners, we are extremely proud of everyone involved with our organization for the effort and pride they display on a daily basis."
An affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Hillsboro Hops have made the playoffs four consecutive years (2014-17) and won back-to-back Northwest League titles in 2014 and 2015.
The Diamondbacks have frequently entrusted the Hops with top draft selections. In 2013, Arizona sent top picks Braden Shipley and Aaron Blair to Hillsboro to begin their careers. In 2015, first overall selection Dansby Swanson debuted with Hillsboro. In 2016, Arizona's top selection Anfernee Grier began his career with the Hops, and in 2017, Pavin Smith was also sent to Hillsboro. Seven Hops players have been promoted to MLB rosters.
Since the team re-branded and changed its name to the Hops after its move to Hillsboro, the team has been one of the leaders among all minor league clubs in merchandise sales.
The Hops played host to the 2017 NWL-PBL All-Star game at Ron Tonkin Field. In addition, the organization also produced two large Fan Fest events leading up to the All-Star game.
The Hops have shown innovation by self-producing and distributing TV broadcasts of select home games after striking a deal with NBC Sports Northwest. The team also struck a deal to air every Hops game on Rip City Radio, which also serves as the radio home to the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers.
The fan experience at Ron Tonkin Field is one of the best in all of minor league baseball with state-of-the-art facilities. Prior to the 2017 season, the Hops installed a new Ribbon Board in right center field in order to provide more engaging content and in-game details such as stats and player bios for Hops fans. The board, which cost the team $400,000, is the same product that is being used at Atlanta's new SunTrust Park and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Fans coming to Ron Tonkin Field for Hops games have become accustomed to receiving a warm welcome from the HOPSpitality staff that greets them and provides them with outstanding customer service. The ease of parking and roundtrip shuttle service to and from the Tri-Met Light Rail stop closest to the ballpark have also become big reasons that 97% of people who attend a Hops game say they are likely to return.
The Hops are also a leader in the community in which they play. Led by Chairman Mike McMurray and CFO Laura McMurray, the team has created the Hillsboro Hops Fund, which raises money to assist in the growth of youth baseball and softball in Washington County. Over the 5 years that the Hops have hosted a banquet, featured speakers who have flown in to help raise money for the Hillsboro Hops Fund include MLB stars such as Mark Grace, Luis Gonzalez and Orlando Hudson.
Season tickets, mini-plans and 10-ticket flex plans now available at hillsborohops.com, or by calling 503-640-0887.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.