The former Springfield Sliders of the summer-collegiate Prospect League are no more, as new ownership means new branding for the 2022 season: the Springfield Lucky Horseshoes.
The roots of the name, according to Andrew Miller, Emperor of Entertainment for Golden Rule Entertainment, do not lie in horse racing, but rather have roots in two separate city-related themes. After Golden Rule purchased the Sliders in December 2021, the new owners—which includes promoter Jeff Jarrett and industry veteran Jamie Toole—started asking locals about what elements should be present in any new team branding and what should be part of a new ballpark experience. Here’s what they said.
The first has to do with Abraham Lincoln, who guided the United States through the Civil War. A Kentucky native, Lincoln’s early career featured time spent as a Springfield lawyer and lawmaker. As you might expect as the burial site for one of the most important figures in American history, you’ll find the Lincoln name used throughout the city on street names, business titles and more. Monuments to his ties with the city are everywhere.
In fact, a leading tourism draw is his tomb at Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery, marked by a large bronze statue of his head. The layout of the tribute is at eye level, making it easy to rub his note for good luck—and many of the 200,000 annual visitors to his tomb do just that. Plus, it’s Lincoln’s profile on the face of a penny—and there’s a long history of people thinking pennies are lucky. Hence the lucky portion of the new name—it’s a way to pay tribute to the city’s legacy without descending into cliché with a name like the Springfield Honest Abes.
And the horseshoe? Springfield is known for the horseshoe sandwich, a delicacy created almost a century ago and served in a variety of local restaurants. It’s an open-faced sandwich served on Texas toast and topped with a hamburger patty and fries smothered with cheese sauce.
Changes at Robin Roberts Stadium
As noted, the polling of Springfield citizens also included coverage of operations at Robin Roberts Stadium, the long-time home to professional baseball in the Illinois capital city. It opened in 1928 as home of the Three-I League’s Springfield Senators and along the way served as home to Triple-A American Association, Single-A Midwest League and independent-league teams. (Indeed, the team’s tenure in the American Association is part of a great baseball trivia question: What team name was separately used by two teams in two cities in two states? Answer: the Springfield Cardinals.)
Although an older ballpark, Miller said Robin Roberts Stadium is in great shape. It’s a pretty large ballpark, seating 6,500, and he said the team is already looking at upgrades like a history exhibit on Springfield baseball; for instance, Satchel Paige once coached there.
The modernization plans include overhauled concessions, a new ticketing system with mobile phone support and online ordering. Yes, horseshoe sandwiches will be sold at the ballpark.