ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Minor League Baseball announces that the Cedar Rapids Kernels are the winners of the John H. Johnson President's Trophy. The Kernels will receive their major award at the Baseball Winter Meetings™ Banquet at the Las Vegas Hilton on December 11.
The President's Trophy, Minor League Baseball's top award, is presented annually to honor the complete baseball franchise--based on franchise stability; contributions to league stability; contributions to baseball in the community; and promotion of the baseball industry. Cedar
Rapids has had professional baseball since 1890 and the Kernels have been in the Midwest League since 1962. It's safe to say the club has never been more valuable to its community than it was in 2008 when devastating floods overwhelmed the city.
General Manager Jack Roeder saw the Kernels' history of genuine community relations as no longer an option, but a duty, after 20% of Cedar Rapids was ravaged by the floods. The club's stadium parking lot, spared from the flooding, served as a staging area for The National Guard, FEMA, city officials and emergency vehicles.
"The Kernels organization is appreciative and humbled to win this prestigious award from Minor League Baseball," stated Roeder. "We will dedicate this award to the citizens of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Our friends and neighbors have shown, and continue to demonstrate, their spirit, determination and enthusiasm in the face of the unbelievable destruction brought on by the devastating floods in June of 2008."
The Kernels' goal when play resumed at Memorial Stadium was to assist their friends, neighbors and business partners in their recovery efforts, as well as provide a haven for an
escape from the daily cleaning up of their city. They assisted numerous charitable organizations; raised over $60,000 in flood relief; collected 12,000 pounds of food; allowed other local organizations to host or relocate their events at their ballpark; and opened their luxury suites during games for fans that had been forced to evacuate from their homes into shelters.
Despite the extraordinary burden undertaken by the club, Roeder and his staff also maintained their usual community activities. The most prominent of these is the Kernels Foundation, which uses its funds to help build recreational facilities and programs in the area.