St. Louis Public Radio News
10:16 am
Thu July 14, 2005

Marion, Ill. might score baseball team from South Bend

St. Louis, MO – The southern Illinois town of Marion might soon get a minor league baseball team from Indiana.

The president of the Midwest League says Metro-East lawyer John Simmons is buying the South Bend Silver Hawks, and might move them.

Simmons is building a $16 million ballpark in Marion, with taxpayers paying as much as a quarter of that cost.

The sale of the team still could take a few months to get approval from baseball officials. And Midwest League President George Spelius says a move would need separate approval, aside from the sale. "I don't think anybody disagrees with any of our owners to sell the ballclub," Marion said Wednesday.

"Moving the ballclub is another issue."

The South Bend Silver Hawks are affiliated with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The commissioner of baseball ultimately has final say on the matter.

Simmons has said he was looking for a team from the Midwest League to bring to Marion. Construction of the stadium began last month; it's not known whether the new team would start playing there in 2006 or 2007.