Marshall to share new baseball field with Appalachian League team
Published 2:42 am Friday, November 17, 2023
By GRANT TRAYLOR
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall Athletics is pleased to announce that it has agreed to a partnership with the Appalachian League to host a team at Jack Cook Field, starting in the 2024 season.
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“We did a ton of research and wanted what was best for our region, our ballpark and our community,” said Marshall Director of Athletics Christian Spears. “That made the decision to go with the Appalachian League a no-brainer. With the backing of the MLB and their support, we knew this was best for us all!”
The team, which will have its name and logo unveiled at a later date, will play its first game in Huntington on June 4, 2024, against the Pulaski River Turtles at Jack Cook Field.
Thursday’s announcement and schedule release officially marks the return of the Appalachian League to Huntington for the first time in 30 years when the Huntington Cubs played at St. Cloud Commons from 1990-94.
Brian Graham, Executive Director of the Appalachian League, said the partnership is a winning venture for all involved and he looks forward to seeing Huntington back in the Appy League next summer.
“We are thrilled that the Appy League will be returning to Huntington and looking forward to partnering with Marshall University and the rest of the Huntington community on this new team,” Graham said. “Marshall’s new baseball facilities will provide players with one of the best summer collegiate experiences in the country and furthers our goal of making the Appy League the destination for elite college players in the summer.”
The team’s managers, coaching staff and roster will be unveiled at a later time, but Graham denoted that the roster is expected to feature multiple players from Marshall and surrounding schools, giving Marshall fans continued opportunities to support their favorite players who represented the Thundering Herd.
“As a proud alumnus of Marshall University, I am thrilled to see the Appalachian League return to Huntington for the 2024 season,” West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said. “The new Jack Cook Field will be a state-of-the-art facility that will attract top talent from all over the country. I am confident that the Appy League will see incredible success in Huntington, and I can’t wait to see the first pitch thrown in 2024!”
The addition of the Huntington-based franchise not only brings the excitement of “America’s Pastime” to the Tri-State, but also the opportunity to showcase our area for visitors while also serving as a summer boon for local businesses.
The venture also utilizes Jack Cook Field as a facility that can help both Marshall University and Huntington, further enhancing the bond between the university and its community.
“The Appy League announcement is confirmation that Jack Cook Field is more than a college baseball stadium. It is a community asset,” Huntington Mayor Steve Williams said. “Marshall University and the City of Huntington are siblings that act in mutually beneficial interests.
“I’m particularly pleased that our team will be an Appalachian League member. Huntington has become known as the gateway to Appalachia. How practical it is to have an Appy League team part of the welcoming committee for visitors to our city.”
State officials lauded the move as one that serves the families of West Virginia and surrounding areas state while adding a new sports venture to the state’s portfolio of sports tourism activities.
“It is exciting to know that families will be gathering together to experience the joys of baseball once again in Huntington, West Virginia at a brand-new ballpark,” Rep. Carol D. Miller (R-W.Va.) said. “I look forward to the future economic impact the Appalachian League team will make on our Huntington community and applaud all the volunteers and investors who played a role in making this happen. I am excited to attend a game with my grandchildren soon.”
“This is an exciting announcement for our community as we bring the Appalachian League back to Huntington,” said Sen. Joe Manchin. “The Appy League will be a valuable addition to the region as the team will provide family-friendly entertainment, new economic opportunities for Main Street businesses and a sense of pride for hometown residents. I look forward to catching a game during their inaugural season!”
“Next year starts a new chapter for West Virginia’s sports heritage with the opening of the new baseball stadium in Huntington,” said Sen. Shelly Moore Capito. “This new team will utilize it to the benefit of baseball fans all across the region. I am thrilled families will have the ability to enjoy Appy League baseball next summer and can’t wait to see a game there!”
Under the new Appalachian League format, the team will have the opportunity to select a name and logo that represents the identity of its local community.
Information pertaining to the team, including its name and logo plus ticket information, will be released in the coming weeks.