DENVER -- The strong performance of players throughout the Minor League system in 2013 earned the Rockies their first Topps Organization of the Year Award.
The award is given annually to the team that, according to Topps, a company forever connected to the sport because of its baseball trading cards and memorabilia, "has shown outstanding performance, depth and talent throughout their Major and Minor League teams." It is based on points given for the number of players in the organization that have received Topps awards during the season in various Minor and Major League rookie categories. The trophy was presented to the club during the recent Winter Meetings.
"It shows what happens when there's a lot of good work from a lot of different parts of the organization, and on the part of the players," said Jeff Bridich, the Rockies' player development director. "This type of award, when the players are recognized publicly for their achievements, is wonderful, and it starts with them. It wouldn't be possible without the dedication and work and performance on the field.
"Also, this trophy points to our scouts, amateur and professional scouts before those players are even part of our organization, making recommendations on these types of players. And what a credit to our staff -- managers, coaches, trainers, everyone else involved day-to-day with these kids, to make sure they develop and play through the tough times that any season can put before them. Our development staff is there day in and day out, and they make a difference in these players' lives once they are in our system."
Rockies owner, chairman and CEO Dick Monfort highlighted the award in a letter to season-ticket holders:
"Needless to say we are very proud of this and we have a lot of talented players throughout our system," Monfort wrote. "Our job now is to turn those players into wins and championships and that is exactly what we plan to do."
Individual winners and their categories included:
• Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team.
• Triple-A Colorado Springs' Ryan Wheeler, Topps All-Star, Pacific Coast League.
• Double-A Tulsa's Kyle Parker, Topps All-Star and Player of the Month, Texas League.
• Tulsa's Tom Murphy, Topps All-Star and Player of the Month, Texas League.
• Class A Asheville's Rossell Herrera, Topps All-Star and Player of the Month, South Atlantic League.
• Grand Junction's Raimel Tapia, Topps All-Star Team, Pioneer League.
• Colorado Springs' Matt McBride, Player of the Month, Pacific Coast League.
• Modesto's Taylor Featherston, Player of the Month, California League.
The Brewers and Yankees have won the award five times, and the Athletics, Orioles, Expos and Mets are three-time winners. The Angels, Royals, Padres and Giants are two-time winners.
Topps sponsors well-recognized annual awards to rookies, Minor League players and scouts.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb.