Image via Visalia Rawhide
Written by David Castellon
The group that saved baseball in Visalia after purchasing the city’s minor league team is looking to sell it.
“We have thoroughly enjoyed these 17 years as stewards of the Visalia ball club. Coming off a successful 2018 season and Northern Division Championship, our general manager, Jennifer Reynolds, and the front office are gearing up for an exciting 2019 season,” president of the Visalia Rawhide Tom Seidler said in a press release issued Wednesday.
“At the same time, we have decided that it is the right time to hand the ball over to new ownership. We are beginning the process to find new ownership for the ball club to continue the great seven decade tradition of professional baseball in Visalia.”
Seidler is part of baseball royalty, as he’s the grandson of Walter O’Malley, who in legendary fashion bought the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950 and moved the major league baseball team across the country to Los Angeles. His son, Peter – Seidler’s uncle – later took the reins of owning the team.
Seidler lead the investment group of Seidler and O’Malley family members who bought the Visalia Oaks and later changed the single-A team’s name to “Rawhide.”
At the time of purchase, the team’s small stadium – even by minor league standards – at Recreation Park was in poor shape and attendance at games was poor.
Seidler and his family are largely credited with working with the city to improve and modernize the ball park, which included a $1 million investment of team money into the city-owned facility, and increasing game attendance.
In their press release, the family notes they’ve had the longest run as owners in the Rawhide’s 73-year history.
Team official couldn’t be reached immediately for comment, and the press release didn’t state the reason for the planned sale or if the sale might affects the Rawhide’s 13-year Class-A affiliation with the Arizona Diamondbacks.