DAYTONA - The Fort Myers Miracle have been selected as the Florida State League nominee for the John H. Johnson President's Award as announced by league President Chuck Murphy. The Johnson Award honors a "complete" baseball franchise that has demonstrated franchise stability and significant contributions to the community, league and the baseball industry.
The Miracle were nominated by the Florida State League's Board of Directors and General Managers.
In 2012, the Fort Myers Miracle celebrated its 20th anniversary since arriving from Pompano Beach prior to the 1992 season. As a tribute, at each Friday and Saturday home game, the Miracle wore full throwback uniforms, replicating those worn during the 1992 inaugural season. During the year, fans could bid on the game-worn jerseys, which were auctioned off at the end of the home schedule. The proceeds from the auction benefited the Dave Clark Foundation, an organization that helps physically and mentally challenged children experience the game of baseball.
Fort Myers also returned original inaugural season promotions and events to Hammond Stadium during the course of the 2012 year. With the franchise's longevity in the area, the Miracle were able to celebrate its two millionth fan and bestowed the lucky ticket holder with a gift package.
In addition to the celebration of 20 years in Southwest Florida, the Miracle refreshed the "Be Your Own Fan" campaign to allow fans to customize their ballpark experience by signing up for select categories that catered to each individual fan's interests.
Using the Lee County Sports Complex and Hammond Stadium as a staging ground, the Miracle were successful in integrating the local community on the grounds by hosting two high school baseball games, as well as a collegiate game.
A hallmark of the Miracle in the Southwest Florida community are creative promotions to engage and entertain the fans at Hammond Stadium. In 2012, the Miracle honored the local teaching community by welcoming actor Dennis Haskins, best known as Mr. Belding from the late 1980's, early 1990's hit "Saved by the Bell." Teachers were admitted free to the game and Haskins signed autographs, threw out the first pitch and sang the "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh inning stretch.
Denny McLain, a former 31-game winner and Major League Baseball veteran, also made an appearance at Hammond Stadium in 2012. A controversial and polarizing figure in baseball, McLain interacted with fans by signing autographs and telling stories from the 1968 World Series Champion Detroit Tigers.
In June, the Fort Myers Miracle and the Goldklang Group inducted Dan Jennings, currently the Miami Marlins Assistant General Manager, into the Killebrew Root Beer Scout's Hall of Fame.
The Miracle also hosted non-game day fund-raising events such as the seventh annual Special Needs Camp which also benefits the Dave Clark Foundation. The Special Needs Camp allows physically and mentally challenged children to get up-close and personal instruction from the Miracle players.
In three of the last five seasons, the Miracle have drawn over 120,000 in total attendance and have been in the top-4 in the Florida State League in average attendance for eight consecutive years.
The John H. Johnson President's Award winner will be named in Late November, prior to the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville.