Big League Stew - MLB

That's not a typo or a joke. The Los Angeles Dodgers have been named the 2010 Topps Organization of the Year for Major League Baseball.

I'll be completely honest: This is the first I've ever heard of the Topps version of the award. I knew Baseball America named an Organization of the Year each winter, and its award usually made sense from a baseball perspective.

When first learning of the Topps award winner, I had to scratch my head. What could be the criteria if the Dodgers are ultimately named the best in the business? Most photogenic?

Not quite.

The award is designed to spotlight a major league team for outstanding performances, depth and talent throughout their major and minor league levels.

Topps uses a system that rewards points in four different minor league categories, as well as points for teams with players named to the Topps MLB Rookie All-Star Team.

So, the Dodgers really didn't earn this just on their good looks. From LADodgerTalk.com: 

"We're very honored to receive this prestigious award," said Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti. "It is evidence that our scouting and player development staffs are making progress."

Ned could be on to something. The 2009 winner was none other than the San Francisco Giants, so maybe this is a sign of good things to come in Los Angeles next season.

Or maybe not; the Milwaukee Brewers are five-time winners with little (one playoff appearance, in 2008) to show for it.

This is the sixth time the Dodgers have racked up enough points to secure the Topps award, but it's their first since 1997.  

The Topps award actually dates to 1966. Not sure how I missed it all these years. (Then again, I didn't have a Twitter from 1966-2009 either. I missed a lot.)

Here are the categories:

• Minor League All-Stars.

• Minor League Players of the Month.

• Trautman Award recipients, which is awarded to each league's Minor League Player of the Year.

• The J.G. Taylor Spink Award recipient, awarded to the overall Minor League Player of the Year. (Confusingly, there's another J.G. Taylor Spink Award given to a sportswriter. Same guy. Different award.)

• Major league players named to the Topps Rookie All-Star Team.

You can learn more about the Topps Organization of the Year award and how the Dodgers secured it this season by visiting Dodgers.com.

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