PEORIA, IL - The Peoria Chiefs have announced that after more than 20 years at the helm, team President Rocky Vonachen will retire from baseball.
The Vonachen family has been associated with Chiefs baseball in the Midwest League since 1983 and Rocky oversaw the development of Dozer Park in downtown Peoria in 2002 and the franchise's transition into the modern age of Minor League Baseball. Under his leadership the franchise hosted two MWL All-Star Games at Dozer Park and went over the 200,000 attendance plateau 14 times since moving downtown, including a franchise record 275,673 in 2008.
"It is with mixed emotions that I announce my retirement from baseball and my position as President of the Peoria Chiefs," said Vonachen. "I have been blessed for the last 25 years to have been able to do something that I truly loved each and every day and to carry on the vision that my father started so many years ago to improve the quality of life in Central Illinois while providing the best entertainment and professional baseball to the fans. When your office is at the ballpark it is not all bad! But it is also very demanding and takes a toll physically and on one's personal time over the years, so it comes time to take the next step. While retiring from a day-to-day role I will continue to be a part of the ownership group of the Peoria Chiefs. With that in mind, I am also looking forward to the next opportunity and challenge that awaits me."
"Over the years I have met so many wonderful people and gained so many friendships due to my involvement in the great game of baseball that I will cherish this time the rest of my life. I can't thank all the fans, corporate partners, players and great staff enough for helping make the Peoria Chiefs the great organization they are today and will continue to be. Please continue to show your support and cheer on your Peoria Chiefs this coming season and for many seasons to come. It is truly one of the great assets that makes Peoria & Central Illinois a great place to live, work and play! GO CHIEFS!!"
Statement from the Peoria Chiefs Board
"The Peoria Chiefs Board would like to thank Rocky for his 25 years of leadership in the Peoria Chiefs organization. His leadership and direction has made the Peoria Chiefs and Dozer Park one of the best organizations in Minor League Baseball. While we are sad to see Rocky step away from running the organization, we can respect his decision. Rocky has a great staff assembled in the front office and we know they will not miss a beat preparing for the 2018 season. We have the utmost confidence in General Manager Jason Mott, the 2017 Midwest League Executive of the Year, to run the organization going forward. We wish Rocky nothing but the best as he begins his next chapter. We are excited that Rocky will be seen around the ballpark enjoying the games in the future."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.