The Tucson Toros are back.
Tucson will field an expansion independent team in the Golden Baseball League next year at Hi Corbett Field, new owner Jay Zucker announced Monday.
Zucker will call the team the Toros, the former name of Tucson’s Triple-A team from 1969-1997.
“The Toros will be part of the fastest growing baseball league in the world,” said Zucker. “While most professional franchise are affiliated one of 30 major league teams, there is a new breed of baseball and these teams are independent.
Zucker is the former owner of the Tucson Sidewinders, which is leaving for Reno, Nev., next season, ending a 40-year run of Triple-A baseball in Tucson.
“Our roster will consist of players employed by the Tucson Toros, not major league organizations,” Zucker said. “Many of these players have played for other organizations.”
Starting in late May 2009, Tucson will play 40 games at Hi Corbett Field and 40 on the road.
The GBL has existed for five years with franchise in Yuma, Calgary, Chico (Calif.), Edmonton, Long Beach, Orange County, Reno, San Diego and St. George (Utah).
Reno moves to another location next season.
“We chose this league because of proximity,” Zucker said. “The travel is astronomical. With this league, we’ll be able to use a combination of air and bus reducing our travel cost.”
Zucker wouldn’t say how much it cost to enter the league. Estimate figures are around one million.
“It has been an amazing five-year stretch,” said GBL chief executive officer Dave Kaval. “We’ve had over 75 contracts sold to major league organizations.
“We’ve also had some great players in the league. We’ve had Ricky Henderson and Jose Canseco. We’ve had a lot of ex-major skippers run our teams. Guys like Mark Marshall, Steve Yeager and Garry Templeton.
“A typical roster is 22-man. You’ll three or four guys with major league experience.
“Our Long Beach team had seven players with major league experience. Three were sold to major league organizations. You see a lot of great players and you see a lot of movement back up to the major leagues.”