Thunder named outstanding franchise

Trenton wins James H. Johnson President's Trophy

The Thunder has been a success on and off the field since its inception and welcomed its 5 millionth fan to Waterfront Park during the 2005 season. (Trenton Thunder)

By Ben Hill / | November 22, 2005 12:19 PM ET

Thunder often signifies that tumultuous times are ahead. For the city of Trenton, N.J., however, the opposite has been true.

Since the arrival of the Double-A Thunder franchise in 1994, Trenton has been a proud host to one of professional baseball's most well-run teams. In recognition of the organization's accomplishments, the Trenton Thunder was announced Tuesday as the recipient of the James H. Johnson President's Trophy, awarded annually to Minor League Baseball's most outstanding franchise.

The President's Trophy, which will be presented next month during Baseball Winter Meetings in Dallas, honors a franchise's stability, contributions to league stability, contributions to baseball in the community and promotion of the baseball industry.

The Thunder has been one of the Minor Leagues' top-drawing franchises since its inception. The organization has drawn more than 400,000 fans in each of the past 11 seasons, and in 2005 hosted the 5 millionth fan in team history. Both of these accomplishments are Minor League records at the Double-A level.

"The award means a lot, and we're very humbled," Thunder general manager Brad Taylor said. "But at the same time, we've done a great job. We have a commitment to our fans and partners, and are very customer-service oriented. If we treat people well and give them a safe, affordable environment, they're going to keep coming back. Our goal is to over-deliver."

The Thunder also has done a commendable job of giving back to the community. The team has raised more than $2.5 million in charitable donations through its Grand Slam We Care Foundation, a figure that Taylor is eager to keep adding to.

"We have many partners within the community and are contacting Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs to find different ways to get involved," he said. "And next season, we're going to have a reverse giveaway promotion. The fans will bring in items that we will then give to the appropriate charity."

As much as the Thunder has accomplished, don't expect the organization to rest on its laurels.

"Now we're thinking about how to win the trophy two years in a row," Taylor said. "We want to raise the bar. We've got a great staff that enjoys a challenge and we're going to keep getting better."

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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