Sports

Bill Murray and The Veecks Become New Owners of the Joliet Slammers

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The Joliet Slammers and the Frontier League announced today that the Slammers now have new majority stakeholders.

Official Joliet Slammers Press Release

The Veecks and Bill Murray are Coming to Joliet!

New investment group has acquired a majority stake in the Slammers

The Joliet Slammers are excited to announce that a sale of a majority stake in the team has been completed to a group led by Mike Veeck, Night Train Veeck, and Bill Murray.  Former majority owner Nick Semaca, will stay on with the group as a shareholder.  

Joliet Mayor Terry D’Arcy said, “Joliet is excited for the opportunity this new ownership brings. We are looking forward to continuing the partnership with the Slammers.”

Semaca purchased the Slammers prior to the 2013 season, bringing stability to a franchise that had three ownership changes in four years.  During his 11 years as owner, the Slammers won the 2018 Frontier League Championship, hosted the 2017 Frontier League All-Star Game, and delighted hundreds of thousands of fans that attended Slammers games over this time.  The team also created the City of Champions Cup in 2020, a mini-league that played during a time when only a few teams across the country were playing in front of fans, utilizing independent league players, players on loan from affiliated teams, and former Major League Baseball players.  

“I am super excited about Mike, Night Train, and Bill coming into our ballclub to launch a new growth era for the Slammers.  And I am excited to remain a part of the ownership group – it really is a great time for the team, the City, and most importantly our fans,” said Semaca.

Mike Veeck is a nationally renowned speaker, entrepreneur, college professor, philanthropist, marketing, promotions and customer care expert.

The Veeck family started in baseball nearly a century ago when Veeck’s grandfather was president of the Chicago Cubs. Veeck’s father, Bill, is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame in recognition of his time as the owner of the St. Louis Browns, Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, and the then-minor league Milwaukee Brewers. Famous for so many occurrences at the ballpark, Bill Veeck will always be remembered for signing Larry Doby, the first black man to play in the American League and for sending 3 foot, 6 inch Eddie Gaedel to the plate for the Browns in a 1951 game against Detroit.

“I love Joliet and I’m looking forward to working with all of the Slammers staff, especially my son Night Train,” said Mike Veeck.

Night Train Veeck is the fourth generation of Veecks to work in baseball. He is a seasoned sports marketing executive with a diverse domestic and international background. With 15 seasons between Independent and Minor League Baseball, followed by seven seasons in Major League Baseball with the Chicago White Sox, he has hands-on experience successfully implementing numerous fan-centric marketing, sales, and partnership campaigns. 

Most recently, he has returned to the U.S. after almost two years leading fan engagement for Cricket Australia’s Big Bash League in Melbourne, Australia and shortly thereafter co-founding a Division III pro soccer team in Chicago. Additionally, he serves as an active owner and board member for Larne FC, a Northern Irish first division Soccer Club.

Night Train will be in leadership with the day to day operations of the Slammers.

Bill Murray has earned numerous accolades including a BAFTA Award, two Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and two Independent Spirit Awards, as well as a nomination for an Academy Award. In 2016, Murray was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.  Murray rose to fame on The National Lampoon Radio Hour (1973–1974) before becoming a national presence on Saturday Night Live from 1977 to 1980, where he received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series. He then established his stardom acting in a string of successful comedy films such as Meatballs (1979), Caddyshack (1980), Stripes (1981), Ghostbusters (1984), Ghostbusters II (1989), What About Bob? (1991), and Groundhog Day (1993). He also took on supporting roles in Tootsie (1982), Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Ed Wood (1994), Kingpin (1996), and Osmosis Jones (2001). 

Murray has been involved in minority ownership of the Minor League Baseball Charleston RiverDogs and St. Paul Saints alongside Mike Veeck.  Prior to being invited to join the affiliated ranks for the 2021 season, the Saints were considered the premier independent baseball team in the country.

The Joliet Slammers will open their 2024 season on Friday, May 10 against the Evansville Otters. Gates will open at 5:35pm, and the game will begin at 6:35pm.  

To celebrate, the Slammers will be offering a specially priced “New Owner, Who dis(count)?” Season Ticket package only available through Monday, January 15th!  Secure your season ticket plan for a crazy fun year at just $375 for a Club Seat and $275 for a Reserved Seat, a $50 savings. 

Visit https://www.ticketreturn.com/prod2new/team.asp?SponsorID=17093 or call 815-271-7792 to join the Slammers family today!

To learn more about the Slammers or the 2024 season, visit www.jolietslammers.com   

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