After a great 2015, the South Bend Cubs (Low A; Midwest League) have been rewarded with Minor League Baseball’s John H. Johnson President’s Award, to be presented at the Baseball Winter Meetings.
Two-plus years of hard work led the award. The team has embarked on $7 million in ballpark upgrades in the last two years. The franchise underwent a total rebranding after signing a new affiliation deal with the Chicago Cubs, changing the name from Silver Hawks to Cubs and unveiling new logos, colors and uniforms. The changes paid off: the SB Cubs set franchise records for the best single-season attendance (347,678) and average attendance (5,039) at Four Winds Field.
The award’s criteria are based on financial stability, contributions to league stability, contributions to baseball in the community and promotion of the baseball industry. This is the first time South Bend has won this award.
“This is an award we have to share with every fan in every city, town and village from a hundred miles around. Without them, we wouldn’t be receiving it,” said Andrew T. Berlin, owner of the South Bend Cubs. “This is the greatest baseball region in the world. It is an honor to accept this distinction on behalf of the executives at Four Winds Field who make it a place to call home for nearly 350,000 men, women and children all summer long. We have the best executives in the business and the best fans in Minor League Baseball.”
“On behalf of the entire South Bend Cubs organization, we are incredibly honored to accept the 2015 John H. Johnson President’s Award,” said South Bend Cubs President Joe Hart. “To be selected for this prestigious award over some of the best franchises across the nation is extremely humbling. The 2015 season broke a number of longstanding records in South Bend and would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our front office and gameday staffs. We pride ourselves on having the most passionate and customer service-focused people working for us. It is wonderful to see their hard work recognized.”
“Through dedication to their community and commitment to making Four Winds Field a better place for fans, the South Bend Cubs broke attendance records and became a business leader in their area,” said Pat O’Conner, Minor League Baseball President & CEO. “This award recognizes them for their pursuit in setting a higher standard for all of Minor League Baseball. On behalf of Minor League Baseball, I congratulate the South Bend Cubs on an outstanding season and wish them continued success in the future.”
“Over the last four years, there has been a baseball resurgence in South Bend,” added Hart. “Fans are flocking back to the stadium in record numbers and have embraced our organization. Our corporate sponsors were also a huge part of this season. We cannot thank our fans and sponsors enough for their support and for helping make 2015 a record-breaking year.
“Of course, we would be remiss if we did not thank the Chicago Cubs organization and their entire staff for believing in our vision of providing the best facilities and care for player development,” remarked Hart. “We also want to thank the staff of the Midwest League and President Dick Nussbaum who provides incredible support. We are honored and privileged to represent a league with so many quality organizations.”