The Atlantic League will be renaming its annual award for groundskeeping the Ray Cipperly Award for Groundskeeping Excellence. The tribute to the late Somerset Patriots groundskeeper takes effect this year.
“One aspect of our ballparks that fans always remember is the high quality surface our clubs play on,” said Atlantic League President Rick White. “TD Bank Ballpark’s field has been no exception, and it was Ray’s tireless efforts which made it so widely admired throughout the league and professional baseball.”
The Ray Cipperly Award for Groundskeeping Excellence honors the club groundskeeper and crew who consistently provide a superior playing surface and environment, despite circumstances outside their control. This includes weather, field traffic, financial resources and non-baseball events.
Cipperly, who passed away on October 11, 2015 after a courageous battle with cancer, was the Somerset Patriots’ first-ever groundskeeper. He held the position from 1998 through 2010 and set a Major League standard for the field that continues today. Somerset Patriots Chairman Steve Kalafer dubbed Cipperly a “compulsive perfectionist” and noted that former Major Leaguers Joe Torre and Don Zimmer raved about the field’s condition upon visiting TD Bank Ballpark.
“This is a well-deserved honor for Ray and the Cipperly family,” noted Kalafer. “It will help keep his memory alive and recognize his many contributions to the Somerset Patriots and the Atlantic League.”
The Atlantic League will announce its inaugural recipient of the Ray Cipperly Award for Groundskeeping Excellence on Thursday, October 20.