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Tracz Buys St. Petersburg ‘A’ Club

Schenectady Gazette, December 31, 1986

A-C Yank’s Tracz Buys St. Petersburg ‘A’ Club By Bill Palmer Gazette Sportswriter http://bit.ly/HzEix8

Dec. 31, 1986-Albany-Colonie Yankees Vice President of Baseball Operations Jack Tracz has purchased the St. Petersburg Cardinals franchise of the Florida State League, where he will assume the duties of President and General Manager. Tracz, who came to the Yankees two years ago, purchased the Class A team with his brothers, Dennis and Mark, of Virginia. The purchase price was $600,000. “Everything happened quickly. We had heard the team was for sale, but A. Ray Smith (the owner of the Louisville Redbirds Triple-A franchise) was also interested. Things worked out well, they accepted our package and both the City of St. Petersburg and the Cardinals have really made us feel welcome.” Joining Tracz will be Schenectady native Gary Wrigley, who was the Yankees director of sales this season. The Niskayuna graduate had worked with the Yankees for two years, and will serve as Tracz’ Vice-President of Baseball Operations. Tracz will handle the baseball end of the business with his brothers-who run the Arlington-based Virginia Financial Group-taking care of the financial end of things. I’m going to be doing the actual day-to-day running of the club,” said Tracz. “Dennis and Mark are both more of the financial world, so they’re expertise is in that area. They are the ones who helped package the financial deal.” Tracz and Rigley will have to get to work immediately, with both the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets calling St. Pete’s Al Lang Stadium their home for spring training. “We own the concession rights for the spring training games too, so we really have to get down there and get to work,” Tracz said. “But Ralph Miller (who Page 1 of 2


Tracz Buys St. Petersburg ‘A’ Club

Schenectady Gazette, December 31, 1986

owned the club for better than 20 years prior to selling to Tracz and his brothers) has said he’ll help out in an advisory capacity. “I’m really excited about this. It’s a great park, we got a nice agreement with both the city and the major league club and it’s a chance to really get involved with the direct running of a team. “It will be kind of opposite the situation up here where Ben (A-C owner and GM Ben Bernard) sweats out the bad weather in April and May and makes money his money in the summer months. We’re looking to do well during the spring training period and carry it on through the year.” St. Petersburg won the FSL’s West Division championship last summer and went on to capture its first playoff championship in 10 years by beating the West Palm Expos under managers Dave Bialas and Mike Jorgensen. Bialas, who finished the season with Louisville when Jim Fregosi left to manage the Chicago White Sox, will return as St. Pete’s manager in 1987. The Cardinals will be the fourth major league team with which Tracz has been associated. He began his administrative career with Salem of the Carolina League (a Pittsburgh Pirates farm team) in 1977 and ’79, then moved to the Bucs’ DoubleA Buffalo affiliate in 1979. Tracz was named the initial general manager of the Glens Falls White Sox team in 1980 when that team-which was originally supposed to play in Schenectadysettled in that Warren County city. Tracz had a falling out with the team owners, later filing and winning a law suit for earnings owed him and returned to Buffalo, staying through 1984, with the Cleveland Indians replacing the Pirates as the Bison’s parent team prior to the 1983 season. Albany-Colonie President-GM Ben Bernard hired Tracz before the 1984 season, and he has helped run several other events-notably last summer’s World Junior Tournament-in addition to his duties with the Yankees. Rigley, who graduated from Boston College in 1983, joined the team in 1985 as a salesman and was promoted to director of sales last season.

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12.31.1986 Tracz Buys St. Pete Cardinals  

Albany newspaper account of the purchase of the St. Pete Cardinals by Tracz

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