Naming rights to Franklin Rogers Park, home of the Mankato MoonDogs (summer collegiate; Northwoods League) have been sold to local firm ISG, resulting in a name of ISG Field for 2021 and beyond.
Terms of the naming-rights deal were not disclosed.
ISG is a professional design and engineering firm that was founded in Mankato in 1973. Chad Surprenant is an owner of the MoonDogs as well as Chief Strategy Officer and Board Chair of ISG, which had been working on Franklin Rogers Park upgrades for years. The resulting $4.5-million renovation ($3 million from the city, $1.5 million from the team owners) touched on all parts of Franklin Rogers Park, including upgraded dugouts, two levels of new group and four-top areas, new synthetic turf, an overhauled Dog Pound all-you-can-eat deck, a new home clubhouse and new concessions.
“As a lifelong fan of baseball, I can safely say that a top gameday experience is vital for the growth of the game,” Surprenant said via press statement. “The newly named ISG Field represents our focus as a firm on supporting that goal by designing more engaging and accessible spaces for all users. “We are excited to continue our relationship with the MoonDogs, which has demonstrated a commitment to providing just that for its fans.”
The ballpark opened in 1961 as Key City Park and was renamed Franklin Rogers (a local sportswriter) in 1977. It hosted the Mankato Mets, playing in the original affiliated Northern League, in 1967 and 1968, were poised to host pro ball.Despite having two very competitive teams, the Mets never caught the Key City’s imagination, drawing just 20,441 fans in its two seasons. In that brief time span, however, the Mets produced four players who eventually made it to the major leagues (Rich Hacker, Jessie Hudson, Ernie McAnally and Tom Robson). Mike Martin, who won 2,029 games as head coach at Florida State, was a rookie outfielder on the 1967 team. Joe Frazier, who managed the 1968 team, eventually moved up the chain and managed the major league club in 1976 and for 45 games in 1977.
The Northern League came to town in 1999, first with the Mankato Mashers (where Curtis Granderson once played) and then the MoonDogs. The resulting renovations earned the MoonDogs a Best Renovation award from Ballpark Digest in 2018.