TinCaps President Mike Nutter called it the most significant award his franchise has ever received.
Minor League Baseball announced Thursday that the TinCaps were chosen for the third annual John Henry Moss Community Service Award, given to a franchise that exemplifies a commitment to outreach and charity.
"A guy asked me what it means," Nutter said. "I told him, and he said, ‘Give me a high point or two.’ Jaymason Curry has got to be one of the high points. I love to win, the fireworks are great, but this is about community impact."
Curry, the 14-year-old fan recovering from chemotherapy, was honored as an infielder July 30 at Parkview Field after being presented with a one-day contract by Nutter.
That and other creative or forward-thinking initiatives helped make Fort Wayne the Midwest League nominee for the Moss award. Nutter said he received congratulatory messages from executives across all levels of the minors after the TinCaps won it.
"People around here had a little extra bounce in their step (Thursday)," he said. "We have a great staff. We’re not all from Fort Wayne, but this is our home. We like to get involved. Hopefully our impact will last long after we’re gone."
The late John Henry Moss was the longtime head of the South Atlantic League. Nutter had made his acquaintance multiple times.
"Just did things the right way," Nutter said. "I didn’t know him well, not going to pretend like I did, but when I was young in this industry Mr. Moss always had time for people. He always wanted to give back. Minor League Baseball named this award for him because of so much he had done. This is the third one they’ve ever given away, and it’s ours."
The award will be presented formally at the winter meetings Dec. 6 in Nashville, Tennessee. Nutter will speak for three to four minutes on behalf of the organization as part of the acceptance.
The TinCaps said they donated nearly $500,000 this year to more than 600 charitable causes and organizations, while members of the 25-man roster often made public appearances.