Babby also owns the Akron RubberDucks (Class AA; Eastern League). He 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 sale is not final; Babby will take control of the franchise after the season. No word on the purchase price, though it’s certainly north of $20 million. From Jacksonville.com:
“I’m not sure how you follow the Bragan family in Jacksonville,” said Babby, a former digital media marketing director for the Washington Post who grew up a fan of the Baltimore Orioles. “They’ve made a mission of putting the fan first, to make sure every fan who walks to the game is treated with respect, care and love for those incredible couple of hours they spend in the ballpark. Our job is to continue that great tradition.”
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.
RELATED STORIES: Babby negotiating to buy Jacksonville Suns