ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Minor League Baseball announced today that the Eugene Emeralds of the Short Season Class A Northwest League are the recipients of the 53rd annual Larry MacPhail Award, symbolizing the top promotional effort in Minor League Baseball.
The award has been presented since 1966 and is named after Hall of Famer Leland Stanford "Larry" MacPhail Sr., who introduced innovations such as night baseball, airplane travel, pension plans and batting helmets. The Emeralds will receive their award at the Baseball Winter Meetings Banquet on Sunday, Dec. 9, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Emeralds are the first Northwest League team to win the award since its inception.
"The Larry MacPhail Award is the most sought-after achievement in Minor League Baseball and we are so proud of our great staff led by Allan Benavides," said Emeralds Owner D.G. Elmore. "Winning this award is not just an award for the Emeralds and the Elmore Sports Group, but also for what is possible in a smaller market and Short Season baseball through creative thinking and hard work."
The Emeralds have long been one of Minor League Baseball's top promotional organizations, having been the Northwest League's nominee for the Larry MacPhail Promotional Award for the last eight seasons. Over the last eight years, the Emeralds have won Golden Bobbleheads for Best Charity Promotion or Event (2011), Best In-Game Promotion or Event (2014) and Best Community Promotion or Event (2016 - also won the Best Overall Promotion Award).
In their 37 home games in 2018, the Emeralds held 32 different promotional theme nights, ran 10 weekly promotions, had eight specialty jersey nights and conducted over 30 nightly promotions during games, helping them set a PK Park attendance record of 125,967 fans.
"We are so honored to be the first Northwest League team to win this award, as this league has some of the best operators and owners in all of Minor League Baseball. After being nominated for several years, to finally win the award is just tremendous," said Benavides. "Our staff works tirelessly year-round to keep our brand top of mind and our fun, sometimes experimental, promotions would not be possible without all the fun and creative colleagues we have in this industry whom we continue to learn from each and every year."
"Few teams across Minor League Baseball pack as many events and promotions into their schedule as the Eugene Emeralds," said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O'Conner. "The Emeralds do a wonderful job of coming up with promotions that are timely, entertaining and popular within their community. On behalf of Minor League Baseball, I commend them on a job well done, not only for themselves, but also for the Northwest League and Minor League Baseball as an industry."