Whitecaps win minor league awards


Steve McCarthy. Photo via whitecapsbaseball.com

The West Michigan Whitecaps recently hit a triple at the Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego.

The front office of the Class A minor league affiliate of the Detroit Tigers picked up three awards at the event this month: the Minor League Baseball Presidential Citation, Bob Frietas Award for Class A and Midwest League Executive of the Year, which was given to VP of Sales Steve McCarthy.

Bob Frietas Award for Class A

The award is for sustained excellence in the business of Minor League Baseball for at least five years. The award is based on recommendations by Minor League Baseball staff, including President Pat O’Connor, league presidents and long-standing baseball writers.

The team was also awarded the Frietas award in 1998. Only one other team — San Jose — has won the award twice.

"The Freitas Award is one of the most prestigious awards that a Minor League franchise can receive, and we couldn't be more honored to be this year's designee," said Lew Chamberlin, CEO and managing partner, West Michigan Whitecaps.

"The success that the award recognizes is the result of a lot of hard work on the part of our staff, the support of an incredibly engaged fan base and community, a terrific Major League partner and a little bit of luck. It's been an incredible year for us in so many different ways, and we're very appreciative of this award."

Minor League Baseball Presidential Citation

The Whitecaps’ efforts to repair Fifth Third Ballpark in time for the season after a Jan. 3 fire destroyed nearly half of the stadium earned them the award.

O’Connor presented the award, which recognizes exemplary service, as the Whitecaps hosted the Midwest League All Star Game and drew the team’s highest attendance in more than 12 years.

"We're very appreciative of this recognition," Chamberlin said. "Our Minor League peers have all been very supportive during the days immediately following the fire and throughout the re-building process, and we're pleased that that support has culminated in this citation from MiLB."

Midwest League Executive of the Year

McCarthy was honored with the designation in late September, which recognizes an person who had a successful season in a variety of categories.

In 2014, McCarthy helped the Whitecaps have one of their best seasons in advertising revenue, total and per game average attendance and ticket revenue.

He also helped with the planning, relocation and construction following the fire at the ballpark.

"This is a well-deserved honor for Steve," Chamberlin said. "He has been an integral part of our staff for some time and his efforts were key to the Whitecaps' 2014 success."

Two other Whitecaps have won the Executive of the Year award: President Scott Lane in 1994 and 1996 and Vice President Jim Jarecki in 2006. 

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