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Giants, Lookouts earn top praise

San Jose wins Minors' top award after record-setting season
November 10, 2009
The San Jose Giants and Chattanooga Lookouts will be the center of attention in Indianapolis next month when the clubs are presented with two of Minor League Baseball's top trophies.

The Giants, who were California League champions in 2009, were awarded the John H. Johnson President's Trophy -- Minor League Baseball's top award for the Minors' most complete franchise. The Lookouts, who became the Dodgers' Double-A affiliate last winter, were named the winners of the Larry MacPhail Trophy for their efforts in promotions this season.

"This has been a magical season," said San Jose President and CEO Jim Weyermann. "Our fans deserve so much of the credit. To be honored by our peers with this prestigious award is the greatest single achievement in our franchise history."

San Jose's general manager, Mark Wilson, was selected as the California League Executive of the Year in his 25th season with the team earlier this year. Wilson guided the club as it raised over $300,000 for local youth sports and $100,000 for non-profit organizations.

The Giants drew over 200,000 fans and set attendance records for the fourth straight season despite a tough economy in 2009. They reinvested much of their record-setting profits into the community, memorably helping the city of San Jose move forward with its annual 4th of July fireworks celebration after it was cancelled due to lack of funding.

"It places the San Jose Giants in elite company alongside previous winners," said Weyermann. "We thank [MiLB President] Pat O'Conner for his recognition of the outstanding baseball community that resides in Santa Clara County."

The Giants, San Francisco's Class A Advanced affiliate, organized an "Education Day" in 2009, which provided an opportunity to recognize outstanding performance from local students and teachers.

The club opened its gates and invited fans to attend 20 games for free during the year, giving families and fans the ultimate affordable night out. San Jose also hosted a community Halloween party and provided free movie nights at ballpark for the public.

Across the country, Chattanooga was equally as busy in promoting baseball and its community through a series of award-winning promotional efforts. The Lookouts are the first Southern League team to win the MacPhail award since Tennessee took it home in 2001. Birmingham and Nashville were the only other Southern League clubs to win the award since it was created in 1966.

"The Larry MacPhail Trophy is a very meaningful award and we are thrilled to win it," said Chattanooga President and general manager Frank Burke. "In an industry with so many great promoters, it is a high honor for me and the hard working employees of the Lookouts."

The Lookouts, with their popular "Used Car Giveaway" nights, introduced a new mascot to the field in 2009 along with a series of other unique twists. The team sent a pair of employees around the city dressed as knights to promote games, provided fans with free Dodgers-themed trolleys to the ballpark and distributed free tickets around town.

Danny Wild is an editor for