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View Full Version : RIP Joann Weber - owner Lowell Spinners at 58


Fenway
11-30-2006, 04:29 PM
In the past 10 years I got to know Joann very well. She thought her husband was nuts when he decided 10 years ago to close the clothing shop they had in New York to buy a team in the NY-Penn League.

She threw herself into it and ran the teams gift shop. Every game she would run around with a camera to take pictures of fans to put on the website later that night. She loved kids and she and her husband made Lowell a model minor league franchise.

News of her death hits hard, she was only 58 :whiner:

http://www.lowellspinners.com/images/joannweber.jpg
LOWELL, Mass. --Lowell Spinners owner Joann Weber has died after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 58.
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2006/11/30/owner_of_lowell_spinners_dies_of_cancer/

caulfield12
11-30-2006, 10:20 PM
Fenway, how much are teams in the New York-Penn League (short season) going for these days?

I always had a dream of owning the Clinton LumberKings (I was born in Clinton) when I retired, but I would imagine even smaller teams like that are now valued between $1-2 million, at least.

I worked for the Augusta GreenJackets in 1994 and 1995 (they were later sold by a member of the Scripps Family to these die-hard Red Sox fans who made it a Boston franchise) and the team was sold for around $1.4 million I want to say...

I would guess it would be worth at least $4-5 million now.

Any ideas?

Fenway
12-01-2006, 03:18 PM
I have no idea on what a NY-Penn league team would go for now. The Weber's bought the Spinners from Elmira 10 years ago for 900K and it the team is probably worth close to 3M now. They haven't had an unsold ticket since 1999.

It is a strange league with teams in Brooklyn and Staten Island at one end and yet you can go back in time to small towns in NY State like Batavia, Jamestown and Oneonta. I doubt those franchises are worth more than $1.5 and only if you planned to move the team.

Minor league baseball exploded. 20 years ago I used to go up to Kenosha to see the team in the Midwest League ( at the time it was the closest minor league team to Chicago ) and they were lucky if they drew 500 fans a night. Now look at the Midwest League.

Many think the movie Bull Durham caused the explosion but something happened.

The Weber's told me that the best way to buy a minor-league club is to show up at the winter meetings in December and meet as many people as you can.

caulfield12
12-01-2006, 11:39 PM
I don't think a short-season team would be enough baseball for me, there's something about starting in April with the rest of the game and continuing the playoffs on into September.

However, a little bit of something's worth a lot of nothing.

There's a really good book (the name escapes me) that was written about the Waterloo Diamonds franchise in the MW League and why it went under...replaced by teams in metroplexes/suburbs like the Kane County Cougars.

And, of course, there are the Independent Leagues, but there's something compelling about following teams that have major league affiliations.

I think the baseball strike, the continued increase for a "middle class" family of four to go to a major league game, the convenience, the feel that the game is more "pure" and the opportunities to really get to know the players, the refreshing warmth which most players who are grateful not to have to work in the "real world" sign autographs, it's just a totally different product.

Winning isn't as important as the majors...it's the quality of your promotions and the overall "entertainment experience" you put on, maybe combined with Two for Tuesdays and various wacky drinking promotions that get the 20 and 30-something crowd out.

peeonwrigley
12-02-2006, 02:19 AM
Minor league baseball exploded. 20 years ago I used to go up to Kenosha to see the team in the Midwest League ( at the time it was the closest minor league team to Chicago ) and they were lucky if they drew 500 fans a night. Now look at the Midwest League.

I played a game as an 18 year old in American Legion ball 5 years ago in that stadium in Kenosha. It was hardly worthy of us kids playing on it, let alone low level professionals. I never saw it when it was a functioning Minor League stadium, but it is in sad shape these days.

Fenway
12-02-2006, 09:00 AM
I played a game as an 18 year old in American Legion ball 5 years ago in that stadium in Kenosha. It was hardly worthy of us kids playing on it, let alone low level professionals. I never saw it when it was a functioning Minor League stadium, but it is in sad shape these days.

Simmons Park was in sad shape when the Kenosha Twins played there in the 80's. I *think* the guy that owned it made a nice score when he sold the franchise to Fort Wayne.

The Kenosha Twins began play in the Midwest League (http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Midwest_League) in 1984 (http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/1984) when the club relocated from Wisconsin Rapids (http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Wisconsin_Rapids%2C_WI). In 1992 (http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/1992), the team was sold, and the following year, they moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana (http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Fort_Wayne%2C_IN) where they became known as the Fort Wayne Wizards (http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Fort_Wayne_Wizards).
http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Kenosha_Twins

Funny story. When the Twins won the championship in 1985 there were quite a few White Sox fans rooting for them as they wer playing the Peoria Cubs

Hitmen77
12-02-2006, 11:28 PM
In the past 10 years I got to know Joann very well. She thought her husband was nuts when he decided 10 years ago to close the clothing shop they had in New York to buy a team in the NY-Penn League.

She threw herself into it and ran the teams gift shop. Every game she would run around with a camera to take pictures of fans to put on the website later that night. She loved kids and she and her husband made Lowell a model minor league franchise.

News of her death hits hard, she was only 58 :whiner:


LOWELL, Mass. --Lowell Spinners owner Joann Weber has died after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 58.
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2006/11/30/owner_of_lowell_spinners_dies_of_cancer/

What a very sad story. If that was a recent picture, she looked alot younger that someone in her late 50s. Too bad her life was cut short.