Mike Veeck, one of the architects of the modern independent baseball movement, has fully returned to the independent game by selling his ownership stake in three minor league clubs that are affiliated with major league organizations.
Veeck is in the process of selling his shares of three clubs: Charleston (Yankees) in the Class A South Atlantic League, Fort Myers (Twins) in the Class A Florida State League and Hudson Valley (Devil Rays) in the short-season New York-Penn League. He did not disclose the identity of the buyer, the ownership percentage in each club or how much money changed hands.
He continues to hold ownership stakes in the St. Paul Saints and Sioux Falls Canaries of the independent American Association. Veeck has been an owner of the Saints since the club and the Northern League helped revive independent baseball in 1993. He said his heart remains in the independent game.
“I’d rather be in independent ball. I have more fun with it,” he said, adding that one of the reasons for leaving organizational ownership was because of how he felt he was treated by others in the game. Some, he said, didn’t want him working or consulting with independent teams outside his ownership group.
“We went up to consult in Brockton (of the independent Can-Am League). Mike Tamburro (the club president) from Pawtucket (of the International League) said to me, ‘I can’t believe that a fellow member would come up there and do this.’ And all the Pawtucket Red Sox did, with Brockton down the road 45 minutes away, was set three new attendance records. They’ve become a group that just monitors what you’re doing and it’s just not fun for me. It’s like we have hall monitors.”
Veeck is a partner in the Goldklang Group, but he said his decision to sell “is for me alone. This has nothing to do with Marv (Goldklang).”
Veeck didn’t rule out pursuing ownership possibilities with other clubs, but said if that happens, it will only be in independent baseball.
“There will be some other opportunities, just because it’s just so much fun,” he said.