by Dave Hartzell
In 1978, not too far into my career in federal law enforcement, I was approached by two church friends of mine, the mayor of Alexandria, VA, where I lived, and the president of the Alexandria city council. They offered me an opportunity to invest in a new minor league franchise in the class A Carolina League, which at that time was the highest class A league in the country.
After several meetings and consultations with city leaders, I invested in this venture, purchasing 1,500 shares at one dollar per share. The start-up date for this franchise was spring of 1978.
In order to be a successful team, a working agreement with a major league club was a necessity. Just starting up, we had none.
As major league clubs made their cuts from spring training camps in Florida and Arizona, we invited some of those better players to Alexandria for tryouts with our new club. Needless to say, our inaugural 1978 season was a frustrating but meaningful learning experience.
One player who tried out and actually made our team was Mickey Mantle’s son, Mickey Mantle, Jr. He eventually turned out to be a bust as a ball player.
Stay tuned for future blog about my adventures as a professional minor league team owner.
Dave Hartzell is a retired veteran of 35 years in federal law enforcement, based in Washington, D.C.