GENEVA, Ill. - The Kane County Cougars have announced an ownership change for the franchise as Dr. Bob Froehlich and his wife, Cheryl, have become the largest shareholders of the Cougars organization. Fondly referred to during his 35-year Wall Street career as simply "Dr. Bob", Froehlich has become the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of the Kane County Cougars. Last year, the Froehlich's acquired a minority interest in the Cougars where they became the largest minority stakeholders. The Cougars are a Class-A minor league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs in the Midwest League, and have been one of the most popular Minor League organizations since the franchise's inception in 1991.
As their first matter of business, the Froehlich's have established a family-centered board of directors. Joining Dr. Bob and Cheryl on the newly formed nine-member board of directors of the Cougars is their eldest daughter Marianne Neidhart, who is a stay-at-home mother with her 2 ½ year old daughter Belle Marie. Previously, Marianne spent 10 years with the Securities & Exchange Commission in Chicago as a Staff Accountant. Chris Neidhart, their son-in-law, and a Vice President at Bank Leumi USA in Chicago, will also be joining the board of directors. Stephanie Froehlich, their youngest daughter who lives in New York and who is an executive with the NASDAQ/OMX Stock Market, will also serve on the board.
Previous majority co-owners for the past 24 years, Mike Murtaugh and Mike Woleben, will remain involved as board members and minority co-owners. Joining them on the newly-formed board of directors will be Mike Murtaugh's son-in-law Dave Fritzsche, Founder & President of MidAmerica Partners, LLC, along with Mike Woleben's wife Sandy.
A former Wall Street executive and television personality, Dr. Bob also brings first-hand baseball experience. From 1971 to 1973, before a career ending knee injury finished his playing days, he played Semi-Pro baseball for the North Side Mets (formerly the Federal Street Merchants) in the storied Greater Pittsburgh Semi-Pro Federation Baseball League that was founded in 1929 and is still in operation today. The League has produced such professional baseball players as Art Howe, Ken Macha and Glenn Beckert. Other notable League alumni are football Hall of Famers, Art Rooney, Sr. and Dan Marino.
"As a Wall Street veteran I am especially honored to be able to be a part of the Ricketts Baseball Family and the entire Cubs organization," Dr. Bob Froehlich said. "When J. Joseph Ricketts founded Ameritrade (now TD Ameritrade) it changed Wall Street forever, and leveled the investment playing field for the individual investor. It is a real privilege to be able to work with such a visionary family".
Added Dr. Bob's wife, Cheryl, "We have always been a very close family and now we are all very excited about being a part of one of the most family friendly minor league baseball franchises around".
"Dr. Bob Froehlich, his wife Cheryl, along with a newly-created board of directors will continue to effectively lead what has been an extremely successful organization since 1991", Cougars General Manager/Vice President Curtis Haug said. "With this new leadership structure, along with the hard work and exemplary customer service put forth by our front office and seasonal staff, the Cougars will continue to offer the very best in affordable, family-friendly entertainment."
"The Forest Preserve District welcomes the Froehlichs as the largest individual shareholder of the Cougars," Forest Preserve District of Kane County President John Hoscheit said. "The District has enjoyed a positive long term relationship with the team. The financial commitment from the Froehlichs will help solidify that relationship for decades to come."
Cheryl and Dr. Bob have resided in the Chicagoland area for the past 25 years and they currently reside in west suburban Willowbrook.
The Cougars' franchise, since 1991, has been widely regarded as one of the top destinations for affordable family-friendly fun, catered event group outings and competitive Major League-affiliated baseball. More than 125 former Cougars players have reached the Major Leagues. The list includes some of Major League Baseball's top current stars such as Miguel Cabrera, Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez. Last summer, the Cougars became the first Class-A affiliate in Minor League Baseball history to reach 10 million fans. Located in west suburban Geneva, the Cougars play their games at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, which is land owned by the Forest Preserve District of Kane County. In addition to Cougars games, the venue has hosted concerts, the annual Relay for Life and other special events such as this past weekend's Ozzie's Home Run and Walk 5K. This season, the first-place Cougars sport the best record in the 16-team Midwest League. This summer, fans will be treated to numerous promotions including theme nights, concerts, fireworks shows and more.