With the 2021 changes in the summer-collegiate world orchestrated by MLB, it’s easy to forget there already was a thriving baseball scene in America’s heartland, with the likes of M.I.N.K. League, the National Baseball Congress and the Jayhawk Baseball League still going strong. That history is intertwined with the announcement that Carroll is joining the M.I.N.K. League.
The Merchants will play in Merchants Park, built in 1949. Since 2015, the community has put in almost $2 million in renovations and upgrades to the ballpark. Previously, the team has competed in the Pioneer League. The Merchants will compete in the MINK’s North Division, joining the Clarinda A’s, Chillicothe Mudcats, Des Moines Peak Prospects and St. Joseph Mustangs. The South Division will be composed of Jefferson City Renegades, Joplin Outlaws, Nevada Griffons and the Sedalia Bombers.
“We are excited to welcome the Merchants baseball club to the MINK League,” said League Commissioner Ron Rodriguez in a press statement. “We have a consistent level of great interest from teams across the region in joining our league. The history, the community support, great facility, and the leadership group at Carroll will be a great fit with the other franchises we have. The MINK League is a special place for summer collegiate baseball that continues to grow. You can look in the past and see Ozzie Smith who played for the Clarinda A’s before he started his Hall of Fame career with the St. Louis Cardinals, to recent players like Luke Voit, who played for the Sedalia Bombers before going on to lead Major League Baseball in home runs with the New York Yankees.”