SAGINAW, Mich. — Organized baseball is coming to an east-central Michigan city for the first time since 1951.

Corky Thompson has bought the franchise rights to the Lorain County Ironmen of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League. He plans to bring the team to Saginaw and rename it the Saginaw Sugar Beets in 2018.

Thompson is currently a baseball coach for the Saginaw Golds, a youth travel team of Saginaw-area players. He said the college summer team is the next step for Golds players. Thompson said he plans on serving as owner and general manager of the Sugar Beets, but does not plan on coaching the team.

The Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League is sanctioned and supported by Major League Baseball with prospects who are primarily NCAA Division I players. The Sugar Beets will play in the Northern Division.

“The league is like some of the other summer wood-bat leagues like the Northwoods League or the Cape Cod League, but with younger players,” Thompson said. “You’ll see more freshmen and sophomore players in this league, with those players playing in the other leagues as sophomores or juniors.”

Thompson will announce the home field for the Sugar Beets next week. The team’s opening day is June 5.

The last organized baseball team to play in Saginaw was the Saginaw Jacks in the Central League 66 years ago.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.