The Pittsburgh Pirates' Double-A affiliate, the Altoona Curve, was selected Wednesday as the top Minor League franchise for the 2006 season.
Representatives of the Altoona front-office staff will be presented with the John H. Johnson President's Trophy on Dec. 7 in Orlando during the annual Minor League awards banquet. The award is based on a club's contributions to the baseball industry and local community, the long-term stability of the franchise and the financial success of the operation, and the promotion of Minor League Baseball.
Altoona was selected as the best franchise among the 176 eligible Minor League clubs throughout the United States and Canada.
"On behalf of our ownership group, our hard-working and dedicated front-office staff, our passionate fans from throughout Central and Western Pennsylvania, and everyone who has had a role in shaping the success of the Altoona Curve, both at the ballpark and in the community, I would like to thank Minor League Baseball for choosing to award our franchise the prestigious John H. Johnson President's Trophy," Curve president and managing partner Chuck Greenberg said in a statement released by the team.
"This is certainly an historic day in the history of the Altoona Curve, and we are thrilled and honored to be recognized by Minor League Baseball as the top franchise from among all affiliated clubs across the United States and Canada," added Curve general manager Todd Parnell.
"For those of us who work in the industry, the Johnson Trophy has always been considered the Heisman Trophy of Minor League Baseball and I can't say thank you enough to our ownership group, our outstanding front-office staff and, most importantly, the fans of the region who have supported this franchise from day one and who are truly the reason for the awards that we have earned."
Since being established in 1999, Altoona has been one of the model franchises in all of Minor League baseball. In addition to drawing nearly 3 million fans to Blair County Ball Park, which is widely considered to be among the most beautiful facilities in all of baseball, the Curve franchise has been very active in promoting Minor League baseball throughout Pennsylvania.
In addition to being named as the 2006 John H. Johnson President's Trophy winner, the Curve was also recently selected by Baseball America as the 2006 recipient of the Freitas Award winner as the top franchise in Double-A baseball. In 2004, Altoona was given the Larry MacPhail Promotional Trophy for top promotional effort, both on and off the field, among all Minor League clubs.
Altoona has been the Bucs' Double-A affiliate since the franchise's inception, and will remain so until at least the 2010 season. Ian Snell, Zach Duke, Jose Bautista, Tom Gorzelanny, Matt Capps, Jose Castillo, Ryan Doumit, Chris Duffy, Mike Gonzalez, John Grabow, Paul Maholm, Nate McLouth, Humberto Cota, Ronnie Paulino, Josh Sharpless, Shane Youman and Jack Wilson are among Curve alum who are currently on the Pirates' active roster.
Ed Eagle is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.