A Southern Illinois team playing out of Marion’s Rent One Park is joining the summer-collegiate Prospect League for the 2023 season.
The 3,500-seat, 5,000-capacity ballpark was constructed in 2007 for the Southern Illinois Miners (Frontier League). After a 14-year run as the home of the Miners, the ballpark was shuttered at the end of the 2021 Frontier League season when owners Jayne and John Simmons announced they were ceasing Miners operations and retiring to spend more time with their family. At that time they hinted that other uses for Rent One Park as a multiuse facility were on the horizon, subsequently selling the ballpark to Marion Center Project LLC, with partner Rodney Cabaness saying that it would transition to future use as a centerpiece for a new sports-tourism complex in Marion.
“Southern Illinois has a rich history of baseball dating back sixteen years, when the opportunity arose to continue that legacy while providing a first-class venue to host community-related events, we wanted to ensure those types of activities were still possible by purchasing the stadium,” Cabaness said in a press release announcing the new team. “The Prospect League is a strong organization with highly competitive clubs which is a perfect fit for the level of baseball we desire to occupy Rent One Park, we couldn’t be happier or more excited with our decision and cannot wait for our inaugural season to start.”
“The operation of this new franchise will be a sterling addition to the past history of baseball here,” said Prospect League Commissioner Dennis Bastien. “The baseball fans, citizens and the corporate leaders of this region now have a new team to call their own. Owner Rodney Cabaness and partners, general manager David Kost and his staff, will together bring a whole new level of excitement to Southern Illinois.”
“We spent countless hours and days discussing which league was the best landing spot for our baseball organization and with each conversation it became glaringly evident that the Prospect League was the perfect fit,” added general manager David Kost. “Not only from a competitive perspective, but the schedule size allows us to return baseball to the region while still providing the opportunity to host community-oriented events such as concerts, PBR events, Nitro Circus, truck shows, fundraisers, etc. and at the end of the day, that meets our vision and goals for Rent One Park.”
In becoming the league’s 18th team, Southern Illinois joins the Jackson Rockabillys as new Prospect League’s teams for 2023.