Minor League Baseball (MiLB) announced that the South Bend Cubs professional baseball team has been picked from among all 160 teams in the country to receive the highest honor in MiLB.  The team is the 42nd recipient of the annual John H. Johnson President’s Award which will be bestowed upon South Bend representatives during the Baseball Winter Meetings on Sunday, Dec. 6, in Nashville, Tennessee.

The John H. Johnson President’s Award has been presented annually since 1974 to honor the complete baseball franchise. Award criteria are based on financial stability, contributions to league stability, contributions to baseball in the community and promotion of the baseball industry.  South Bend is the second team in Indiana history to win the award, ending a 27 year drought that’s lasted since the Indianapolis team won in 1988.

“Through dedication to their community and commitment to making Four Winds Field a better place for fans, the South Bend Cubs broke attendance records and became a business leader in their area,” said Pat O’Conner, Minor League Baseball President & CEO. “This award recognizes them for their pursuit in setting a higher standard for all of Minor League Baseball. On behalf of Minor League Baseball, I congratulate the South Bend Cubs on an outstanding season and wish them continued success in the future.”

“Frankly, 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,” commented Andrew T. Berlin, owner of the South Bend Cubs. “This is the greatest baseball region in the world. And it’s 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 thousand men, women and children all summer long. We have the best executives in the business and the best fans in minor league baseball.”

Last winter, South Bend announced a new player development contract with the Chicago Cubs organization and in their first year as an affiliate of the regional fan favorite, set franchise records for largest single season attendance (347,678) and average attendance (5,039) at Four Winds Field. 

The South Bend Cubs host Home Run for Life, a charitable event that each month recognizes a different child suffering from a devastating disease. In 2015, more than $15,000 was raised to benefit the children’s hospital. The club also participates in charity concerts, reading programs, charity walks and youth events to make South Bend a better place for everyone. 

“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. “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.” 

Since 2012, team owner Andrew Berlin has spent more than $7 million in renovations and improvements to the city-owned ballpark. Major capital investments were made during the 2015 season to improve the playing surface, the player clubhouse and build one of the best year-round baseball training facilities in the Midwest which is open to the public. 

“Of course, we would be remiss if we did not thank the Chicago Cubs organization and their entire staff for believing in our vision of providing the best facilities and care for player development,” remarked Hart. “We also want to thank the staff of the Midwest League and President Dick Nussbaum who provides incredible support. We are honored and privileged to represent a league with so many quality organizations.”

“People will ask ‘where do you go from here?’
Well, we’re just getting going. We make no small plans. This is just the beginning.”

— Andrew Berlin


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 Association
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