GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield of the Wilmington Blue Rocks was named the 2012 winner of the Matt Minker Community Service Award. Each Carolina League
club was eligible to nominate one player for consideration.
Beginning with the Blue Rocks' preseason "Meet the Team" event, Merrifield, who was returning for a second season in Wilmington, made it known that he wanted to be more involved in community affairs and outreach. He became the team's go-to guy whenever there was an opportunity to volunteer. Whether it was at a hospital, restaurant, camp, clinic, autograph session or a raffle, Merrifield was always ready.
Merrifield was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the ninth round of the 2010 June First-Year Player Draft out of the University of South Carolina, where his 11th-inning RBI clinched the College World Series title for the Gamecocks that year. He spent all of 2011 with the Blue Rocks, as well as most of this season, before receiving a callup to Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
Named in honor of the late Blue Rocks team president, the Minker Award is bestowed upon the player in the league who does the best job of serving his club's community during each season. Minker passed away in November, 2007 after a five-year battle with cancer. He was 60.
Minker was involved in the ownership of the Blue Rocks since the franchise came to Wilmington in 1993. His construction company built Frawley Stadium, in five months. He became president of the club in 1995. During his 13 years representing Wilmington on the Carolina League's Board of Directors, he served the league as an officer, a member of the executive committee and as league representative on the Minor League Baseball Board of Trustees.