FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – While he grew up moving all over the country following his father’s career in the meat industry, Mike Nutter has called Fort Wayne home since 1999 and has turned the Summit City’s minor league baseball franchise into a point of pride here in northeast Indiana.
The president of the Fort Wayne TinCaps, Nutter was named Minor League Baseball’s 2022 Executive of the Year earlier this month at the Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego. Minor League Baseball consists of 120 teams across four levels that are affiliated with the 30 Major League Baseball franchises.
Having spent the last 31 years working in the sport, Nutter’s love of baseball blossomed at an early age when his family moved from Napoleon, Ohio to the San Francisco bay area in the late eighties. His father’s business had season tickets to the Oakland A’s during a run that featured stars Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, and Rickey Henderson, with Oakland advancing to the World Series three straight years (1988-90).
“My older brother was six-foot-six, and a two-sport athlete in college, and I was not that,” Nutter jokes. “My mom said that even if I wasn’t on the playing side of things, there were opportunities to be involved in sports, and I took that and ran with it.”
With family still in the Ohio area, Nutter transferred to Bowling Green State University and began pursuing opportunities in baseball. He worked as an intern for the Kane County Cougars outside of Chicago in Geneva, Illinois for four straight summers, further stoking his passion for the game.
After graduation, Nutter headed to Florida to work for the Brevard County Manatees, then moved to Tennessee to work for the Nashville Sounds. In 1999 a position game open with the then-Fort Wayne Wizards, and he and friend & co-worker David Lorenz made the move together to the Summit City – and both have been here ever since, with Lorenz now a vice president for the TinCaps.
After moving to the Summit City, Nutter met his wife, Beth – a Warsaw native – and settled into Fort Wayne. Their son, Carson, was born in 2003, and a their daughter, Katelynn, 15 months later. Despite Mike being a die-hard Ohio State fan, Carson is now a freshman at I.U. while Katelynn is a senior at Homestead High School.
One of Nutter’s top accomplishments in the Summit City has been the impact of Parkview Field. Since it’s debut in 2009, businesses have invested over $1 billion in projects in downtown Fort Wayne, with Parkview Field serving as one of the anchor points of the city’s revival.
In addition to steady attendance numbers and numerous accolades for fan experience at Parkview Field, Nutter points to the recently established “Mental Health Awareness Night” as one of the team’s ventures he’s most proud of.
As for future, Nutter notes he doesn’t have 31 more years left in the game of baseball, but hopes to send many more future baseball executives out into the world while continuing to grow the game he loves in hopes of making an impact broader than baseball.