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Welcome to another season of Flashback
This is the weekly column that takes a look back at events in the history of
Appleton professional baseball. Usually, the focus is on the field with a great
amazing game, a
championship game, something
interesting off the field,
player profile. To
kick off this season....politics!
Oh, don't roll your eyes. Not current national politics. Local
politics from 1987.
In 1987, the Appleton Foxes and the city of Appleton were in a disagreement
over, get this, money. A lot of stories, letters to the editor, and,
opinions were printed in The Post-Crescent from March to the middle of
the season. It's interesting looking back at it now. But, I've
talked with some of the people involved at the time and it sure as heck wasn't
interesting at the time.
This week's Flashback deals with the first appearance of the story that I
have in the archives at the new office. That mention is this article by
David Horst from the front page of the Fox Cities/Regional section of the March
5, 1987 edition of The Post Crescent.
A proposal to eliminate a $24,200
payment from the city to Appleton Baseball Club, Inc for maintenance of Goodland
Field would put the minor league baseball franchise in jeopardy, its president
Attorney A. Gerard Patterson, Appleton Baseball Club president, said it would be
very difficult to operate the club without that payment.
"I don't think it would be fatal to us, but it certainly would put the
whole thing in jeopardy," he said.
Ald. William Siebers submitted a resolution at Wednesday's Common Council
meeting to eliminate the payment from the Appleton Parks and Recreation
Commission to the owners of the Appleton Foxes beginning in 1988. The
resolution was referred to the Parks and Recreation Commission for debate.
Siebers said eliminating the payment would be "consistent with past
actions" in cutting subsidies to other organizations.
The city already saved money by turning over operation of the field to the
baseball club in 1983, Patterson said. Under the lease between the club
and the city, the club pays for maintenance, capital improvements, and
utilities, with the contributing the payment toward the maintenance.
Teams from Appleton High School-East and West and the Appleton Rebels (of the
Fox River Valley American Legion Baseball League) also use the field.
The lease extends through 1988 - when the payment will be $23,000 - so the city
would have to break the lease to enact Siebers' resolution.
Patterson took issue with Siebers characterizing the payment as a subsidy.
"I think Siebers hasn't got the total picture when he calls it a
subsidy," Patterson said. He estimated the club's current cost for
maintaining the field at $85,000-$90,000 a year.
The club has installed a new fence and a new infield and replaced three-fourths
of the lights since taking over the maintenance. All these are expenses
the city otherwise would have had to bear, he said.
The resolution does not come at a good time, Patterson said, because the Class A
Midwest League club is beginning a new affiliation with the Kansas City Royals
this year after the Chicago White Sox franchise moved its Class A team to South
Patterson said if the city wants to get rid of baseball at Goodland Field,
Siebers' resolution is the right course to take.
Dick Grant, parks and recreation director, said the city's cost for maintaining
Goodland Field was about $56,000 when it was turned over to the Appleton
Baseball Club in 1983. He would not venture an opinion on the wisdom of
Siebers' resolution and said he is not sure if the city would continue to
operate Goodland Field for high school and Legion baseball if the Foxes left or
"I don't know what the priorities are in the community," he said.
Siebers also sponsored a
resolution in January to investigate selling city-owned Reid Municipal Golf
Course to a private operator. That resolution died in committee.
The saga continues with an article from March 11, 1987. Little League and
poor use of the word "ironic" are dragged into the debate.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.