JOPLIN, Mo. —
Will the Joplin Miners score, or will a new name hit home?
Joplin area residents can pitch their ideas for a “Name the Team” contest announced Wednesday by owners of a professional baseball franchise that wants to locate at Joe Becker Stadium.
A partnership, WLD Suarez Baseball LLC, has obtained a franchise of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball that replaces the El Paso (Texas) Diablos.
The Joplin City Council on Tuesday night approved a lease agreement that will give WLD Suarez the use of the stadium beginning in August. Next month, the council will be asked to consider a performance agreement that, if approved, would clear the way for the team to play ball here.
“What we’ve been saying since the beginning is that this is a true partnership between us and the city, and we want to make the community feel a part of it as well, and the first step in that is to name the team,” said one of the partners, Shawn Suarez, at a news conference Wednesday announcing the naming contest.
He said residents could listen to local radio stations for more details on the “Name the Team” contest. Prizes will be given as part of the promotion, he said.
Residents also may make suggestions in emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook by searching for Joplin Professional Baseball.
Jim Frazier, a former athletic director and head football coach at Missouri Southern State University and a founder of the Joplin Sports Authority, attended the event and said he’s rooting for the name to be the Joplin Miners.
The Miners played at Joe Becker from the time the stadium was built in 1913 until 1953. During those last years, when the team was a farm club for the New York Yankees, a young player from Commerce, Okla., took the field. Mickey Mantle played for the Miners in 1950, then joined the Yankees in 1951 and played center field and first base until 1968. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974. His nicknames on the team where “The Mick,” “The Commerce Comet” and “Muscles.”