On Wednesday, Oct. 6, Jayne and John Simmons, the long-time owners of the Southern Illinois Miners baseball team, announced they are retiring from Frontier League baseball ownership.
And no, they are not selling. And yes, this means the 2021 season was the last season the Miners will be playing in Marion, Illinois, for the Frontier League, leaving Rent One Park for good.
“This is a bittersweet decision for us,” the owners said in the press release. “We love the Southern Illinois community, and our family roots run deep here. We appreciate the years of support we have enjoyed from baseball fans, civic leaders, business owners, vendors, and the City of Marion. However, we are at a time in our lives where we really would like to spend more time with our children and grandchildren.”
The Simmons brought baseball back to the area in the summer of 2007. Under the strong leadership of Jayne Simmons, the Miners led the League in attendance each of the franchise’s first four seasons – named “Frontier League Organization of the Year” three times (2007, 2009, and 2010). They secured the first championship after the 2012 season.
The press release shines a light on all the Simmons family did for Marion and the Miners baseball organization. But, unfortunately, this decision does not shine a light on those who will now be searching for employment.
As it states, “The Simmons’ investment in the team and stadium has been a contributing factor to both Marion’s and the surrounding communities’ economic growth. Since 2007, four new hotels have opened as have dozens of locally owned and operated restaurants, businesses, and miles and miles of connecting interstate that helped to fuel the economic growth of the community.”
It also mentions that the Simmons family believes Rent One Park has incredible potential to become a multi-use facility, with more information about the stadium coming in the next few months.
While this decision is understandable, there are many uncomfortable thoughts – what happens to the employees, what happens to baseball players, and all the economic growth that the Miners were able to contribute each season?
Dugout Dish will continue to report on this breaking news as it surfaces.
Follow Chelsea Brooke on Twitter for all things baseball. Photo credit: Chelsea Brooke