Baseball America names South Bend Cubs best Single-A affiliate in the country

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The monthly magazine "Baseball America" has named the South Bend Cubs as the 2023 Single-A Bob Freitas Award winners, honoring the club as the best single-A level affiliate in all of baseball.

Presented annually to a franchise from each of Minor League Baseball’s classification levels, the Freitas award recognizes long-term business success, community involvement, and operational excellence.

This is the second time the South Bend team has won the coveted award, with the last win coming in 1993 when the team was affiliated with the Chicago White Sox.

“It’s an honor to be recognized as one of the top organizations in Minor League Baseball by Baseball America,” said Owner and Chairman of the South Bend Cubs Andrew T. Berlin. “We’ve made a number of changes and improvements to enhance the fan experience over the last twelve years with even more on the way. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of our entire staff.”

Ownership of the South Bend team changed hands in 2011 and it became the High-A affiliate for the Chicago Cubs in 2014.

“Our Freitas Award is one that honors excellence in the entirety of a minor league baseball team's operation,” said Baseball America Editor-In-Chief JJ Cooper. “From the ticket takers to the general manager, it's an honor we bestow on clubs that have a reputation for going above-and-beyond the expected. I was fortunate enough to see it for myself a few years ago in a visit."

This is not the first piece of hardware won by the team. The club won the John H. Johnson President's Award in 2015 for financial stability, contributions to league stability, contributions to baseball in the community and promotion of the baseball industry.

"Over $32 million has been invested into facilities that not only improved the ballpark, but the community as a whole," said Assistant General Manager Chris Hagstrom-Jones. "Since 2012, over 3.2 million fans have attended baseball games and in 2023, the South Bend Cubs have averaged 4,915 fans per game, 49 of those 66 games being sellouts."

That same year, Ballpark Digest would name the South Bend Cubs Team of the Year.

“This [Freitas] award is as much a testament of our community as it is our organization,” said South Bend Cubs Team President Joe Hart. “We’ve always been more than a baseball team. Our club strives to not only provide a family-friendly experience at the ballpark, but to also be good partners in the community. We are incredibly honored to be recognized by Baseball America.”

Four Winds Field has also been recognized as one of the best facilities in the country, having been voted Best High-A Baseball stadium by Ballpark Digest in 2017, 2022, and 2023. On the promotional side, the organization won Minor League Baseball’s Golden Bobblehead for best promotion with Spin to Win Saturdays.

The South Bend Cubs will open the 2024 season on the road before returning to Four Winds Field on Tuesday, April 9 to host the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers on Opening Night.

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