The International League announced a new award it will debut this season honoring those who work behind the scenes to make minor league baseball such a success.
Longtime Toledo Mud Hens broadcaster Frank Gilhooley has been named the first recipient of the Spirit of the International League award. Gilhooley, in his 24th season in Toledo, will be recognized by the Mud Hens on May 24 during "Frank Gilhooley Day" at Fifth Third Field.
“Frank epitomizes exactly what we had in mind when establishing the Spirit of the International League Award,” International League president Randy Mobley said in a release. “With his humble and pleasant approach, Frank is an extended member of the family for Mud Hens fans listening on the radio.'
The award seeks to recognize those who "work tirelessly to enhance the fan experience and significantly contribute to the overall success of the production that is today’s minor league baseball game," the IL said in a release.
Tireless work certainly seems like an appropriate description. In recent weeks, I've spoken to several people from around the minor league community about the long hours and hard work it takes to make it in the business. Long hours for little pay seems like part of most any job description in the game, so it would seem such an award is deserved.
"During a baseball game these days there are many, many individuals in and around our ballparks who impact the fan experience," Mobley said. "Some are visible and others are not so visible, but each and every one of them is vital to the success of the operation of their team and this League. With the creation of this award we will look forward to annually recognizing an individual who has clearly demonstrated a fan-centered approach on a daily basis."
Beginning in 2011, each International League team will be able to nominate a person from its staff for the award. The IL will select the winner.
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