Ripken to pair up with Mattingly

Jan. 14, 2003 at 2:40 PM

EVANSVILLE, Ind., Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Two former baseball stars announced Tuesday that they are bringing minor league baseball to Evansville, In.

Don Mattingly and Cal Ripken Jr. will team up to bring a minor league outfit to Mattingly's hometown in 2004.

The pair will own minority shares of a Class-A team, which currently plays in the South Atlantic League as the South Georgia Waves, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team will remain in Albany, Ga., through the 2003 campaign.

David Heller, a Washington-based political consultant, will remain the team's principal owner when it moves to Evansville.

"To be part of this project in my hometown is such a great feeling," Mattingly said. "Going into this, we all agreed that we didn't want to partner with just anyone. We needed quality people here in Evansville and we certainly achieved that goal."

"We are very happy to be part of a team that includes Don Mattingly and David Heller," Ripken said. "The fact that this is Don's hometown and that David will be calling Evansville home is proof of our group's commitment to the project."

The ownership group will make a financial commitment of over $12 million during the life of a 20-year lease along with a number of contributions to the ballpark's construction.

Ripken already owns the Class-A Aberdeen IronBirds of the New York-Penn League. His company, Ripken Management and Design, also advises minor league teams on how to find potential owners.

"Having brought baseball back to my hometown with great success with the Aberdeen IronBirds, it is exciting to work with Don to bring baseball to his hometown and work on his project from the outset," Ripken said.

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