The South Bend Cubs, the Class-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, won the 42nd annual John H. Johnson President’s Award. The award has been given out each year since 1974 to “honor the complete baseball franchise.”
“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, in a statement. “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 in a statement. “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.”
According to the release, “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.”
In the first year with the Cubs organization, the SB Cubs set franchise records for attendance and average attendance. The franchise has spent “more than $7 million in renovations and improvements to their city-owned facility,” Four Winds Field, and used “$3 million from that investment to update the playing surface and training facilities.”
The South Bend Cubs will be presented with the award during the Winter Meetings in December.
Sonny Gray is one of the top pitchers in all of baseball. Not only is he very, very good. He’s young (turns 26 this week) and he’s under team control through the 2019 season. Gray is exactly the young arm that all 30 teams covet, and that includes the Oakland Athletics.
Every fan base has Gray at the top of their wish list with Billy Beane receiving only 25 cents on the dollar in trade. In other words, most fans want to trade decent prospects for Gray but nowhere close to the organization-changing deal it would take to acquire him … that is if he was available.
Peter Gammons talked to Billy Beane about Sonny Gray. Beane told Gammons, “Trading Gray is not something I think we could do. We have to put a representative product on the field and continue to dream we get a ballpark. We should have good pitching with Gray, Jarrod Parker, Kendall Graveman, Jesse Hahn, Chris Bassitt, maybe Sean Manaea during the season. I just cannot see us trading Gray or [Josh] Reddick.”
Beane thinks the A’s will be able to afford Gray when he becomes expensive around the time the young talent is ready to compete.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Playing Stupid: The Year in Cubs Quotes … a must-read from Patrick Mooney.
• Jim Bowden reported Dave Martinez is one of the candidates to be the next manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bowden’s report has not been confirmed. Martinez is included in a rather long list of managerial candidates: Kirk Gibson, Bud Black, Gabe Kapler, Dave Roberts, Bob Geren, Darrin Erstad, Ron Roenicke and Tim Wallach. Bowden indicated Martinez has not had an interview, but is expected to talk to the Dodgers’ front office in the near future.
• The Nationals will formally introduce Dusty Baker and Mike Maddux on Thursday. Baker is the Nationals new skipper and Washington made Mike Maddux the highest paid pitching coach in the game. Maddux was reportedly set to be the Nationals’ pitching coach regardless if Baker or Bud Black was the skipper. Baker will be paid a reported $4 million guaranteed over two years with incentives worth another $3 million.
• Rob Bradford asked the question, should the Red Sox prioritize Zack Greinke or David Price? Bradford is not sure if Greinke would want to pitch in Boston. Greinke dealt with “a debilitating anxiety disorder” and once said he “couldn’t envision himself pitching in a place like New York.”
• According to a report from Jon Paul Morosi, the Orioles are likely to extend qualifying offers to Chris Davis, Wei-Yin Chen and Matt Weiters.
• Comcast SportsNet reported that Rick Renteria would fit well as White Sox bench coach.
• The diminished power of managers in baseball echoes Cubs’ early 1960’s College of Coaches according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.
• Jeff Sullivan examined Alex Gordon and the Royals’ defensive dominance.
This Day In Cubstory
2013 – Cubs granted free agency to Alex Burnett, Rafael Dolis, Cole Gillespie, Edwin Maysonet, Brad Nelson, Zach Putnam, Henry Rodriguez and Jaye Chapman
2010 – Cubs signed free agent Angel Guzman
2009 – Cubs granted free agency to Rich Harden and Reed Johnson
2001 – Cubs granted free agency to Delino DeShields, Matt Stairs, Todd Van Poppel, David Weathers, Rondell White and Ricky Gutierrez
1999 – Cubs signed free agent Mike Heathcott
1998 – Cubs signed free agent Terry Mulholland
1996 – Cubs granted free agency to Ryne Sandberg
1991 – Cubs released Erik Pappas
1982 – Bryan LaHair, born
1955 – Bert Wilson, the radio voice of the Cubs on WIND since 1943, died at the age of 44 from high blood pressure.
1970 – Charlie Root passed away at the age of 71.