The Amarillo Sod Poodles have been named the 2019 Texas League Organization of the Year, as voted on by executives from the league’s eight clubs. With the announcement, the Texas League champion Sod Poodles swept the Organization, Executive and Manager of the Year awards.
“The Texas League is proud to have chosen the Amarillo Sod Poodles as our 2019 Organization of the Year,” said Texas League President Tim Purpura. “The Sod Poodles excelled and exceeded so many expectations this year both on and off the field, especially with a championship in their inaugural season. Their staff created a second-to-none environment for their fans at HODGETOWN, and the support and attendance from the community in their first season proved that Amarillo was a perfect fit for Minor League Baseball.”
The 2019 season was historic for the Sod Poodles’ organization, the community and the City of Amarillo. Amarillo’s first affiliated professional baseball season since 1982 was one of the most successful inaugural seasons, team names, logos, and community-oriented brands in Minor League Baseball.
Hodgetown drew 40 total sellouts, including 23 consecutive, while averaging over 6,200 fans per game. Including the playoffs, Amarillo welcomed nearly 450,000 fans through the gates in a market size of 200,000 people. The Sod Poodles’ regular season attendance figure finished 21st in all of Minor League Baseball and second among Double-A affiliates.
On the field, Amarillo claimed the TL Championship in its inaugural year in a winner-take-all fifth game after earlier claiming the South Division’s first half title. The Sod Poodles’ roster boasted 11 Major League call-ups, eight midseason All-Stars, four postseason All-Stars, seven league weekly award winners and three of baseball’s top 100 prospects.
The organization featured multiple memorable events throughout the home season including Star Wars and character theme nights, an appearance by the World Famous (San Diego) Chicken, nightly charitable activities and promotions, 18 fireworks shows, more than 20 gate giveaways, and the #BringTheRUCKUS postseason rally towel campaign.
The Sod Poodles will be officially presented with the Organization of the Year Award in December at baseball’s annual Winter Meetings.
Previously, Sod Poodles’ President and General Manager Tony Ensor was named the Bill Valentine Executive of the Year, while Phillip Wellman was tabbed the Manager of the Year. In addition, the club received multiple other honors including: Best Minor League Team Name (MLB Fox Sports), Best Double-A Ballpark (Ballpark Digest), and Best Visiting Clubhouse, Best Umpire Clubhouse and Best Visiting Team Hotel (Texas League).