CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The Appalachian League announced that the Johnson City Doughboys are the 2023 Organization of the Year. This award is given to the club that exemplifies the standards of the complete baseball franchise based upon franchise stability, contributions to the league stability, contributions to baseball in the community and promotion of the baseball industry.
Johnson City’s overall and average attendance has increased in the three years since the reformation of the Appalachian League from a Rookie Level affiliated league to an MLB-partnered summer collegiate league in 2021. In 2023, the Doughboys led all Appalachian League teams by welcoming 87,719 fans to TVA Credit Union Ballpark, a 54.3-percent increase compared to 2022 and a 123.8-percent increase over the organization’s attendance in ‘21. Additionally, Johnson’s City average attendance of 3,655 this season was a 73.6-percent improvement over 2022. The Doughboys set a new attendance record on Opening Day (4,254) and again on July 4, when Johnson City hosted a franchise-record 5,261 fans.
“It is truly an honor for the Doughboys to be named this year’s Appalachian League Organization of the Year. There are so many great organizations within the Appalachian League and to receive this award is truly amazing,” said Johnson City general manager Patrick Ennis.
“We cannot thank our community partners, season ticket holders and fans enough for their unwavering support this past season. Thank you, Johnson City, for your support and we hope to continue to make TVA Credit Union Ballpark a beacon of fun for this community.”
This past season saw Johnson City win the West Division en route to winning the Appalachian League Championship on Aug. 2, when the Doughboys defeated the Burlington Sock Puppets, 4-1. The Doughboys won more games than any other Appy League team, finishing with a 35-10 record. They recorded winning streaks of 10 (June 13-29) and 11 games (July 7-20) and clinched the top spot in the West Division on July 21.
The Doughboys had great success with their many ballpark promotions this season as they strived to provide fans with a uniquely fun and affordable experience. The team wore multiple custom jerseys throughout the season, including camouflage jerseys on US Army Be All You Can Be Wednesdays and a one-of-a-kind Charlie Brown Peanuts-themed jersey that sold out.
The team also held a Princess Night for Girl Scouts and raised $3,000 for the Make-A-Wish of East Tennessee via a jersey auction. Johnson City’s Dollar Days on Mondays and Tuesdays were popular with fans, as was the addition of Rocky the Bat Dog, who received some of the loudest cheers in the ballpark this season.
The Doughboys partnered with the US Marines and the James Quillen VA Medical Center on different games throughout the season. The team’s annual charity softball game for the Honor Flight of the Appalachian Highlands helped raise money for Vietnam Vets to travel to Washington D.C. In addition, Johnson City’s relationship with Science Hill High School’s JROTC program led to the presentation of colors at all of the Doughboys’ big events, including the 2023 Appalachian League Championship Game.