The ownership group of the Pittsfield Suns has received a major baseball honor.
The Goldklang Group has been named the 2015 Organization of the Year by Ballpark Digest.
"Everything came together this season for the four teams under the Goldklang Group umbrella," wrote Kevin Reichard, Ballpark Digest publisher. "Those successes are the result of a lot of hard work over many years. But that hard work paid off across the board."
The Suns are one of four teams owned by the Goldklang Group. The group runs the Suns, along with the independent St. Paul Saints, the Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs of the Class A South Atlantic League and the Fishkill, N.Y.-based Hudson Valley Renegades of the New York-Penn League.
"While I might like, as owner, to take credit for this recognition, the truth of the matter is that it was earned by the most creative, hardest-working group of individuals I've known in the game," group chairman Marv Goldklang said, "from our general managers to their game-day staffs."
The Suns were 20th out of 154 summer college league teams with an average attendance of 1,654 fans. The Suns were also 28th in total attendance with 41,345 fans coming through the gates at Wahconah Park.
The Suns were third in the Futures League in attendance and average attendance.
When the Suns throw out the first pitch for the 2016 season, it will mark their fifth year of operation at Wahconah Park. That's the second-longest tenure of any team since the Pittsfield Red Sox came to Wahconah in 1965-69. The Suns will join the Pittsfield Mets/Astros (1989-2001), the Pittsfield Electrics of the Class C Canadian-American League (1941-48) and the Pittsfield Hillies of the Class A Eastern League (1913-30).
"Whether it was opening minor league baseball's best new ballpark of the year or operating successfully out of one of its oldest [Wahconah Park], each team has continued to reward our fans with wonderful, and in some respects, unique experiences at the ballpark," Goldklang said in a statement.
The St. Paul Saints of the independent American Association opened CHS Field, named bast new ballpark. The team was the Association's organization of the year and the team was also awarded executive of the year for general manager Derek Sharrer.
The Renegades, led by senior vice president and general manager Eben Yager, were second in the New York-Penn League in attendance at 163,767. Yager was named president of the Pittsfield Suns last year, and splits his time between the two venues.
"Continued excellence isn't a matter of happenstance. It's the result of hard work, great personnel and well-planned systems," Reichard wrote on the BallparkDigest.com site. "It's no accident the Goldklang Group annually sets the bar for excellence in professional baseball."