By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
Since the Prospect League started in 2009, there have been two sets of Sliders. That will officially change next summer.
Controlling interest in the Slippery Rock Sliders organization has been sold by owners Mike and Laura Bencic, and the team has relocated to Springfield, Ohio.
A press conference has been scheduled for 11 a.m. today to officially introduce the Champion City Kings as the league’s newest member.
Good thing the city has a nickname, or else the league would have had two Springfields. The Springfield (Ill.) Sliders are charter members, as was Slippery Rock before the relocation.
Springfield gets its nickname from the Champion brand of farm equipment that is produced there at Navistar International.
“We’re proud to call Springfield our home and be a part in strengthening the community with this great American pastime,” Kings owner Ronald Heineman said in a statement. “We have been welcomed to Springfield with open arms and couldn’t think of a better location to make our home. I have hired Rick White as our general manager not only for his extensive baseball background, including over a decade as a major league pitcher, but also for his deep ties to his hometown community, Springfield ... the Champion City.”
White was drafted by Pittsburgh in 1990 and spent parts of 12 seasons with 12 different teams, primarily as a relief pitcher. He pitched for the New York Mets in the 2000 World Series — dubbed the Subway Series — against the New York Yankees.
The Kings will play their home games at Carleton Davidson Stadium. Opened in 2004, the stadium serves as the home for the Wittenburg University baseball team. It has a seating capacity of 1,056. Dimensions are 340 feet down the lines, 375 in the alleys and 404 to straightaway centerfield.
“We are truly excited about adding a franchise that will play at the Carleton Davidson Stadium,” said Leann Castillo, director of the National Trail Parks and Recreation District. “The combination of this area’s passion and history of baseball is an incredible opportunity to provide affordable entertainment and additional revenue for local businesses.”
The 2014 Prospect League schedule should be released within the coming weeks.
— E-mail: gfauber@