The San Jose Giants and the Chattanooga Lookouts are the winners of two of Minor League Baseball's major awards: the John H. Johnson President’s Trophy and Larry MacPhail Trophy, respectively.The San Jose Giants and the Chattanooga Lookouts are the winners of two of Minor League Baseball's major awards: the John H. Johnson President’s Trophy and Larry MacPhail Trophy, respectively.
John H. Johnson President’s Trophy — San Jose Giants
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.
The San Jose Giants completed their 31st consecutive season in the California League in 2009. Despite playing in one of the older Minor League ballparks, and the presence of two Major League clubs in adjacent markets, San Jose attracted over 220,000 fans, including playoffs. It marked the fourth straight year the Giants have set a regular season attendance record, and the first time the club has topped the 200,000 mark. San Jose, who claimed their third league title in the last five years this season, also experienced record revenues and net profits in 2009.
“This has been a magical season and our fans deserve so much of the credit,” said San Jose President and CEO Jim Weyermann. “To be honored by our peers with this prestigious award is the greatest single achievement in our franchise history. It places the San Jose Giants in elite company alongside previous winners and we thank Pat O’Conner for his recognition of the outstanding baseball community that resides in Santa Clara County.”
San Jose, which has been affiliated with the San Francisco Giants since 1988, continued its long history of supporting community endeavors, as the club raised over $400,000 for youth sports organizations, schools and other non-profit organizations in their area. The club also stepped in when the city of San Jose’s official July 4th celebration was cancelled, raising the necessary funds and coordinating the event in less than a week so it could be held as originally scheduled.
Weyermann and his staff also made Municipal Stadium available at no cost for other community initiatives, such as free movie nights and anti-gang programs, throughout the year.
Larry MacPhail Trophy — Chattanooga Lookouts
The Larry MacPhail Trophy symbolizes the top promotion effort in Minor League Baseball. The Chattanooga Lookouts have their usual staple of promotions, including their extremely popular “Used Car Night,” which they have held for nearly two decades. However, the other means by which the Lookouts have promoted their club at home games, and throughout the year, is anything but conventional.
The club sent two people, dressed as knights, around town with pocket schedules and a sign which read “Two Knights Game at AT&T Field is at 7:15.” The popularity of the idea resulted in an advertising campaign built around the knights throughout the season. Chattanooga also added “Blooie” to its stable of mascots in 2009. This diminutive blue mascot compliments the club’s iconic red “Looie” and one of his duties is to lead the crowd in the “3.5 Inning Stretch,” where only half of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” is played and sung.
“The Larry MacPhail Trophy is a very meaningful award and we are thrilled to win it,” stated Chattanooga President/GM 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 Southern League Lookouts provide free transportation for fans parking a few blocks away from their stadium, via their trolley painted Dodger blue to reflect their affiliation with the Los Angeles Dodgers. They also have an ice cream truck, antique truck and a motorcycle which drive around the city passing out samples, schedules and tickets, often with one or more of the club’s four official mascots in them.
In addition to its many off-season school, parade and hospital visits, the club promotes itself with such initiatives as “Marquee Madness,” which rewards local businesses promoting Chattanooga’s Opening Day. The Lookouts also post a new daily message on a stadium LED sign that is visible from the busiest street in the city. Fans regularly submit ideas for the sign, with some suggestions making their way onto it.
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