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Babby negotiating to buy Jacksonville Suns

Jacksonville SunsAkron RubberDucks (Class AA; Eastern League) owner Ken Babby is negotiating to buy the Jacksonville Suns (Class AA; Southern League) from Peter Bragan, Jr., according to a published report.

Babby oversaw the successful turnaround of the former Akron Aeros, rebranding the team and successfully negotiating with the city for ballpark improvements. There’s similar upside with the Suns; there’s room for improvements to The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, and the team may be underperforming considering the strength of the market.

The Bragan family has owned the Suns for 30 years. Peter Bragan, brother to Bobby Bragan (former MiLB official, MLB manager and player) bought the team and ran it as a family operation. Bragan grew up in a baseball family that included brothers Bobby, Jimmy, Frank and Lionel. Peter Bragan Sr. and family bought the Suns from Lou Eliopoulos in 1984 and built up the franchise over the years. Bobby Bragan, began his minor-league managerial career in 1948 with the Fort Worth Cats (Texas League), took over the presidency of the Texas League in 1968 and ascended to the MiLB presidency in 1975, serving a three-year term. His cousin, the late Bobby Bragan Jr., once headed the NY-Penn League’s Elmira Pioneers. And his son, Peter “Pedro” Bragan Jr. is team president of the Suns after serving as general manager for 24 of the past 27 years.

Babby declined to comment on the report of the sale in the Florida Times-Union:

Babby declined to comment on any possible sale or negotiation, though he did not deny his involvement. “I’m not at liberty to discuss anything,” Babby told the Times-Union….

A timetable for when the sale might go through is unknown because the parties are still negotiating terms, the sources said, and there is no guarantee the deal will be finalized. Babby, who grew up in Bethesda, Md., and is a former spring training bat boy for the Baltimore Orioles, declined to discuss when a sale might be consummated.

There’s little chance Babby would buy the team to move it, however; the team is the midst of a ballpark lease and Jacksonville is a good market. The purchase price, we are told: $20 million.

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