PRESS RELEASE – Clark Minker, Main Street Baseball, LLC, and the Wilmington (Del.) Blue Rocks jointly announced today that the two have purchased the Blue Rocks, the Class-A Advanced Carolina League affiliate of the American League Champion Kansas City Royals.
Minker will be the club’s Managing Partner and League Director; Main Street will hold the majority of shares in the club. The transaction has received all necessary baseball approvals, including the Carolina League, Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball.
Minker is the son of Matt Minker, the long-time owner of the franchise and for years one of the most revered figures in minor league baseball. Matt Minker also served as the lead contractor in the construction of Frawley Stadium, the Blue Rocks’ long-time home, and worked on the construction of the ballpark along with his son, Clark. The Carolina League’s community service award, won in 2014 by the Blue Rocks, is named after Matt Minker, who passed away seven years ago.
“This team has been in my family ever since the first pitch was thrown back in 1993,” said Blue Rocks Managing Partner Clark Minker. “My family’s construction company built Frawley Stadium and my Dad and I were the first people to play catch in the outfield. This team means more to me than just about anything, and I’m going to do everything I can to ensure that it thrives in Wilmington for decades to come.”
Wilmington joins the Quad Cities River Bandits, Single-A affiliate of the Houston Astros in the Midwest League, the High Desert Mavericks, Advanced-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers in the California League, and the Billings Mustangs, the short-season affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds in the Pioneer League, as teams in the Main Street Baseball family.
“My wife June and I are so thrilled to partner with our friends Clark and Maureen Minker as we prepare to build on all of the great work Clark, his dad Matt, and the entire Minker family have done over the past two decades in Wilmington,” said Main Street Baseball president Dave Heller. “For a kid who grew up an hour away in Baltimore, owning one of the premier teams in the region is a dream come true. To do it with a great friend like Clark makes it all the more special. He and I have big plans to take this great club to even higher heights and provide fans here with the very best affordable, family-friendly entertainment and most fun in the entire region. I can’t wait to get started!”
“I’m so happy that we get to keep the Blue Rocks in the family and in Wilmington,” said Blue Rocks Vice President Jack Minker. “I’ve known Clark his entire life and he has the drive, the intelligence, and the passion to take the Blue Rocks to the next level. I know that, working together, Clark and Dave have great plans for this franchise and this ballpark, and all of us are so excited to watch them work their magic.”
“The Minker family roots run deep in Wilmington and in the Carolina League and we’re delighted to have Clark and Dave Heller take over the club,” said Carolina League President John Hopkins. “Clark knows Wilmington and is committed to the community and Dave is known throughout minor league baseball for the great success he’s had with his other clubs. We are delighted to welcome them to Wilmington!”
For 22 years, the Blue Rocks have provided Delaware’s best sports and entertainment experience. In 2013 and again in 2014, the News Journal named the Blue Rocks the “best kids’ entertainment in Delaware” and the team has consistently drawn around 300,000 fans a year. The Blue Rocks have won the Carolina League title four times in their existence.
Minker and Heller added that the Blue Rocks’ staff, led by long-time general manager Chris Kemple and assistant general manager Andrew Layman, would remain with the club. They also added that they were committed long-term to Wilmington and to Frawley Stadium. “I grew up in this ballpark and this community, and Dave and I are totally committed to Wilmington,” added Minker. Heller also suggested that changes would be forthcoming. “Clark and I are committed to upgrading the ballpark and making Frawley Stadium one of the region’s most iconic venues. We love this area and plan to be here for decades to come – and we couldn’t be happier!”