In a season that included his franchise achieving rousing success as host to the Triple-A All-Star Game, Tacoma Rainiers president Aaron Artman was selected Thursday as the executive of the year in the Pacific Coast League.
The Rainiers also posted their third-best season attendance in the franchise’s 58-year history and achieved continued growth and success in licensed merchandise sales.
"Having the opportunity to help build something this special over the past 10 years has been a great privilege," Artman said. "It’s an award for our staff, our ownership, and the community who has supported this journey. And I hope we are just getting started."
Artman is the second Tacoma official to win the award. Stan Naccarato was the 1975 recipient.
"All I can say is, it’s about time!" said Rainiers chairman and chief executive officer Mikal Thomsen. "I have worked closely with Aaron for the past seven years, and his focus today is the same that it was when we bought the team:
"Constant improvement in every aspect of the franchise and an undying emphasis on making the Rainiers an even more integral part of the Tacoma and South Sound fabric."
The Rainiers finished 66-76 while battling a constantly changing roster because of injuries affecting the Mariners, their big-league affiliate. Tacoma won the PCL Pacific North Division pennant in 2016 by going 81-62.
Despite two early-season rainouts, the Rainiers attracted 374,951 fans to Cheney Stadium, which fell just shy of their franchise record of 378,518 in 2011.
The Rainiers were also picked as the PCL’s nominee for the Charles K. Murphy Patriot Award, which recognizes outstanding support of and engagement with the United States Armed Forces and veterans.
One franchise from each of the 16 minor leagues is nominated for the award. The overall winner will be announced in December at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners