Another Diamond Baseball Holdings (DBH) purchase to announce, as the International League’s St. Paul Saints have been sold to the largest MiLB ownership entity.
Terms of the purchase were not announced, which is subject to MLB approvals.
Arguably once the leading star and certainly a key part of the resurgence of independent baseball in the 1990s via the revived Northern League, the Saints transitioned to Minor League Baseball in 2021, all under the leadership of Marv Goldklang and the Goldklang Group, Mike Veeck and Bill Murray. To say that the sale of the Saints is the end of an era is an understatement: once the darling underdogs of indy ball, willing to tweak the nose of the more stolid affiliated world, the Saints are now firmly within the establishment bosom. It’s the latest acquisition for DBH after last week’s purchase of the Lansing Lugnuts (High-A; Midwest League).
This acquisition has another personal layer, however. Diamond Baseball Holdings’ CEO Peter Freund has known Goldklang and Veeck for more than 15 years. Goldklang helped introduce Freund to the world of Minor League Baseball, with Freud serving as co-owner of the Charleston RiverDogs (Single-A; Carolina League), another Goldklang Group team.
The sale also gives us a chance to drop Van Schley’s name, one of the important and interesting players in the independent-baseball resurgence in the 1990s.
“When Mike, Bill, Van Schley, and I arrived in St. Paul more than 30 years ago, we came with a vision both to bring back a legendary baseball franchise with a history spanning more than 100 years, and to re-imagine the connection between the game of baseball and a community,” Goldklang said via press release. “While I believe we have remained true to that vision during our stewardship of the Saints, there are opportunities yet to be realized. The decision to sell was a difficult and emotional one for me and it would not have been made were it not to an organization headed by people who ‘get it’ and are committed both to further expansion of the team’s brand and additional ways in which our ballpark can be utilized for the benefit of the community. Our own organization knows how deeply I will miss my active involvement with the Saints, but I am confident that in the future we’ll be able to look back with additional pride at what the Saints have become.”
“The Saints are an iconic franchise, unquestionably one of the jewels of Minor League baseball, and the club’s incredible legacy cannot be understated in St. Paul,” Freund said via press release. “DBH’s primary objective is to continue building on what my friends and partners of over a decade, Marv, Mike, Bill and Jeff, have already created, and to continue supporting the incredible Saints staff, players, fans and entire St. Paul community.”
These last three decades have been one of the most magical and rewarding rides of my baseball life,” said Saints co-owner Mike Veeck via press release. “From day one, the fans opened up their arms to this organization and made us strive for new heights each season. I’m so grateful to the St. Paul community because they proved that if you listen to them, then they will come out and support you. We’ve made so many friends in the area and leave the Saints in incredible hands. I’ve always said, ’You hire the best people and get out of their way.’ For my wife Libby and I, it’s now our time to step away.”
Executive Vice President/General Manager Derek Sharrer, who has been at the helm for two decades, will continue to lead the staff in season number 31 of the franchise’s history, with the existing front office remaining in place. That follows the pattern established by DBH with previous MiLB purchases; we’ve not heard of major layoffs or personnel changes after a purchase.
The Saints became the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins in 2021, one of only three Independent Professional Baseball teams to make that jump. Since moving to CHS Field, the Saints have led all of Baseball in percentage of attendance to capacity, averaging more than 107 percent.
“The Pohlad family and Minnesota Twins organization would like to thank Marv Goldklang, Mike Veeck and Bill Murray for their incredible vision and leadership in building the Saint Paul Saints franchise and brand,” Twins President & CEO Dave St. Peter said via press release. “The Twins-Saints player development partnership is a special part of their legacy and something that is certain to benefit Upper Midwest baseball fans for years to come. Going forward, the Twins look forward to working with Peter Freund and Diamond Baseball Holdings. DBH enjoys a splendid reputation across Minor League Baseball and the Twins are excited to be their partner here in the Twin Cities.”
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