Jerry and Lisa Walker, owners of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (short season A; Northwest League), are adding to their baseball portfolio with the purchase of the Klamath Falls Gems (summer collegiate; West Coast League).
The Gems had been owned by several other WCL owners and local investors. Terms of the purchase were not released.
“We are very excited about this opportunity,” Jerry Walker via press release. “Klamath Falls and Kiger Stadium have a long and rich baseball tradition which we are proud to become part of. The current ownership has done a terrific job making the Gems an important part of the community, and we plan to continue their great efforts.”
The team plays out of Kiger Stadium, which opened in 1948 as the home of the original Class D Gems, playing out of the Far West League. There's undoubtedly some upside for the Walkers: the team averaged 1,216 fans a game last season.
It's not uncommon to see pro owners expand into the summer-collegiate field: the Goldklang Group, which owns several affiliated and indy teams, were successful last season with the Pittsfield Suns (summer collegiate; Futures League), while Lowell Spinners (short season A; NY-Penn League) owner Drew Weber and indy owner Pat Salvi are investors in that circuit as well.
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