The Great West League is a premier summer collegiate wood bat league, beginning play in 2016 with teams in California and Oregon. League president Ken Wilson is looking forward to seeing the seats occupied at Tony Zupo Field. “My heart began to beat quickly the first time I walked into this great ball park in 2010, and I can’t wait for the fans to come out and see top college players from around the country playing for their own team.”
The new ball club is owned by Lodi Baseball, LLC, and is led by Jack Donovan, a former professional pitcher and long-time minor league team owner and operator. “We’re looking forward to being part of this great community and providing affordable family entertainment,” said Donovan.
Donovan expects to name a general manager in a matter of months and begin business operations a year prior to opening night in June, 2016. “This is a great baseball town and our goal is to earn the support of the fans in Lodi by putting the customer first.” The team will play 30-regular season games each summer at Tony Zupo Field.
“We’re thrilled to be home to a Great West League team and look forward to the high caliber of baseball it will bring to Lodi,” added Jeff Hood, Director of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services for the City of Lodi. “The league’s representatives are top-notch, and I’m confident they’ll make Zupo Field an enjoyable place for the community to spend summer evenings in 2016 and beyond.”
Baseball Hall of Fame executive Pat Gillick, currently interim president of the Philadelphia Phillies and co-founder of the GWL, was on hand for the announcement at Tony Zupo Field. “The fans will be impressed with the level of play in the Great West League,” Gillick noted, “and with the great entertainment provided during the games. It’ll be fun.”
Lodi hosted a Class A California League team from 1966 until 1984. The Los Angeles Dodgers sent prospects to the Lodi Dodgers for eight seasons (1976 – 1983). Dozens of future major leaguers played in Lodi, including Fernando Valenzuela, Mike Marshall, Greg Brock, Candy Maldonado, Jeffrey Leonard, George Hendrick and Johnny Grubb.
ABOUT THE GREAT WEST LEAGUE
The Great West League is one of the premier summer collegiate wood bat leagues in North America, providing a professional, minor league-like atmosphere for top college players seeking professional baseball careers, while providing affordable family entertainment and enriching the quality of life in its member communities.