Greenville Drive Win John H. Johnson President's Award
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida - Minor League Baseball announced today that the Greenville Drive are the recipients of the 44th annual John H. Johnson President's Award. The team will receive Minor League Baseball's top honor at the Baseball Winter Meetings Banquet on Sunday, Dec. 10, at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida.
The John H. Johnson President's Award has been presented annually since 1974 to honor the complete baseball franchise. 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. Greenville's selection marks the first time a South Atlantic League club has won the award.
Since the privately-funded Fluor Field opened in 2006, the Drive have been a model of consistency in the South Atlantic League, averaging nearly 335,000 fans per year and helping to spur an economic resurgence in the area surrounding the ballpark, known as Greenville's Historic West End.
Drive Owner and President Craig Brown has made over $16 million worth of renovations to the ballpark, creating high-end seating and party areas, including the popular Rooftop at Fluor Field and the Green Monster Seats above the left field wall. Outside the gates, within a half-mile of the ballpark, 81 retail businesses and 61 restaurants have been established since Fluor Field first opened its gates.
"When we broke ground on Fluor Field more than 12 years ago, we set the goal to become the most complete organization in Minor League Baseball - being a part of the fabric of the Upstate Community, building strong relationships with industry leaders, and priding ourselves on providing our fans with family-friendly, affordable entertainment that will create everlasting memories," said Brown. "We always strive to make our organization, Fluor Field, and the Upstate better each year, and the Johnson Award is an incredible honor that recognizes our staff, community, and ballpark for the sustained success that we've been fortunate to have."
In addition to the Drive's accomplishments at the ballpark, the club has established successful community, education, youth development and workforce development programs designed to engage and make an impact on the Greenville community, which helped the Drive claim the South Atlantic League Club Merit Award in 2017 and the league's Marketing Excellence Award in each of the last four seasons.
"The ownership and staff of the Greenville Drive have done a fantastic job of attracting fans to beautiful Fluor Field over the last 12 years, and their continued emphasis on community, education and youth development programs help make them a model franchise in Minor League Baseball," said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O'Conner. "The fact that they have spent over $16 million on upgrades to a ballpark that was privately funded to begin with, and brought over 100,000 people to the ballpark for non-baseball events shows their level of dedication to their city. This award is an acknowledgement of their efforts to be a great community partner and I congratulate them on a job well done."
"At our fundamental core, we have always strived for the Greenville Drive and Fluor Field to be a pillar of the Upstate Community - an organization and venue that community and business leaders can utilize as an extension of their platform and messaging," said Drive General Manager Eric Jarinko. "Out of 160 teams, to be named Minor League Baseball's John H. Johnson President's Award recipient is very humbling, and also proves that the Drive's impact has been much greater than just baseball. This award is a total team effort across the board, from the Drive staff - both Front Office and Game Day staff - to our partners, ticket plan holders, fans and the entire Upstate Community. Without the strong relationships and commitments that have been forged over the past 12 years, this sustained success would not be possible."
PAST JOHN H. JOHNSON PRESIDENT'S AWARD WINNERS 1974 Rochester, International 1975 Tacoma, Pacific Coast 1976 Mexico City Red Devils, Mexican
1977 Fresno, California 1978 Iowa, American Association 1979 Denver, American Association
1980 Quad City, Midwest 1981 Great Falls, Pioneer 1982 Tacoma, Pacific Coast 1983 Louisville, American Association
1984 Albuquerque, Pacific Coast 1985 Las Vegas, Pacific Coast 1986 El Paso, Texas 1987 Syracuse, International 1988 Indianapolis, American Assoc.
1989 Durham, Carolina 1990 Pawtucket, International 1991 Albuquerque, Pacific Coast 1992 Buffalo, American Association
1993 Norfolk, International 1994 Billings, Pioneer 1995 Columbus, International 1996 Salt Lake, Pacific Coast 1997 Richmond, International 1998 Lynchburg, Carolina 1999 Tulsa, Texas 2000 Portland, Eastern 2001 Eugene, Northwest 2002 Iowa, Pacific Coast 2003 Reading, Eastern 2004 Rochester, International 2005 Trenton, Eastern 2006 Altoona, Eastern 2007 Midland, Texas 2008 Cedar Rapids, Midwest 2009 San Jose, California 2010 Billings, Pioneer 2011 Tennessee, Southern 2012 Dayton, Midwest 2013 Vancouver, Northwest 2014 Durham, International 2015 South Bend, Midwest 2016 Fort Wayne, Midwest
• Discuss this story on the Appalachian League message board...
Appalachian League Stories from October 25, 2017
- Greenville Drive Win John H. Johnson President's Award - Bluefield Blue Jays
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.
Other Recent Bluefield Blue Jays Stories
- Blue Jays' Dennis Holmberg Named Mike Coolbaugh Award Winner
- Lee Landers Named King of Baseball
- Oakland's Grady Fuson Named Sheldon "Chief" Bender Award Winner
- Binghamton's Richard Tylicki Honored with Charles K. Murphy Patriot Award
- Omaha's Laurie Schlender Named 2017 Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year