Not all of the wins came on the field for the Quad-Cities River Bandits during a Midwest League championship season.
The Quad-Cities franchise has been selected by its peers in the Midwest League as its nominee for the John H. Johnson Presidents Award, the top team honor presented by Minor League Baseball annually at baseball’s winter meetings.
The award, last won by Quad-Cities in 1980, is presented to a “complete baseball franchise that demonstrates stability and significant contributions to its community, league and the baseball industry.’’
The recognition as the Midwest League recipient and a national finalist comes one year after the River Bandits’ parent organization, Main Street Baseball, was named the sport’s organization of the year by Ballpark Digest.
“It’s a tremendous honor and incredibly humbling to us that our peers would vote us as the team that best exemplifies everything good about our business,’’ River Bandits owner Dave Heller said. “The award, along with the organizational award we won last year, are the two biggest honors in the industry.’’
Midwest League owners select the John H. Johnson Award recipient based on observations at games throughout the season as well as their knowledge of the work of franchises in the 16-team league throughout the year.
Heller points to several of the club’s community-betterment programs as examples of why the River Bandits were considered for the honor in addition to the game-day experience other team officials had while attending games in the Quad-Cities.
He cites the Bandit Scholars program that funds four college scholarships annually for Quad-City area individuals, a $100,000 contribution to help fund Camp Genesis and Flu-Free Quad-Cities programs and an investment in $1.5 million in amusement rides this year with proceeds benefiting needy Quad-City youths.
“It’s all part of what goes into receiving this recognition and it’s all part of what we do for the community,’’ Heller said.
Heller calls the most recent honor a tribute to the work of the River Bandits’ front-office staff.
“Andrew Chesser and the staff work long and hard all season long to entertain our fans and create great memories for people at Modern Woodmen Park and it is great to see their work recognized,’’ Heller said.
The national winner will be announced during baseball’s winter meetings, scheduled for Dec. 10-14 in Orlando.