Ownership group expresses interest in returning summer college baseball to Quincy


QU Stadium, the home of the Quincy University baseball team, could be the home field for a summer baseball team should an ownership group decide to bring a Prospect League team back to Quincy. | Photo courtesy QU baseball program

QUINCY — The prospects of bringing summer college baseball back to Quincy in 2025 are growing stronger.

Quincy Mayor Mike Troup said since the fall of 2023, he and representatives of Quincy University have been in conversations with an ownership group with ties to the Prospect League’s Springfield Lucky Horseshoes about bringing a team to Quincy.

“They’re looking to set up a second team in this league, so there’s some common ownership there, which is nice because you’re going to have the knowledge of how the league is operating,” Troup said.

QU athletic director Josh Rabe said the conversations among the university, the city and the ownership group have progressed nicely.

“I don’t think anybody is putting a stop on anything,” Rabe said. “I think all three parties have mutual interest.”

Troup is optimistic Quincy could have a team sooner rather than later.

“Everybody has a good healthy attitude, and I think everybody is trying to find a way to make this thing work for the community and each other,” Troup said. “As long as we keep focused, we should have summer baseball here next year.”

The talks between the university and the ownership group have centered around using QU Stadium as the new team’s home.

“Quincy University owns the facility, so that’s pretty much our role in it,” Rabe said. “The team that would want to come in here has to make it financially feasible for them to come back into town. Our role is just to make sure that our interests are protected in terms of that stadium and that it’s well taken care of.”

While Rabe admitted QU Stadium’s age calls for some tender love and care, he is optimistic it can provide a suitable home for a Prospect League team.

“I think that stadium is in very good shape for being born in 1938 and hosting events nine or 10 months out of the year,” Rabe said. “It’s not getting any younger, but it’s one of those things where it’s not a bright shiny toy and it needs to be kept up.”

The Quincy Gems were founded in 1996 and played in the Central Illinois Collegiate League until 2009 when they moved to the Prospect League. In September 2023, owners Jimmie and Julie Louthan sold the Gems to Full Count Ministries of Henderson, Tenn., which moved the Full Count Rhythm to the Prospect League this season.

“We were surprised when the Gems announced they were leaving,” Troup said. “It was a shock really to the community.”

Before the Gems, the Quincy Rivermen played in the Central Illinois Collegiate League from 1974-1987.

Prospect League commissioner David Brauer said Quincy’s tradition of supporting summer baseball makes it a prime candidate for a new team.

“Quincy has a longstanding history as a solid market in the Prospect League and the Central Illinois Collegiate League,” Brauer said. “The door is open for consideration should changes to Prospect League membership occur.”

Before it was known as QU Stadium, Q-Stadium hosted multiple minor league affiliates as far back as 1946. One of those affiliates, the Quincy Cubs, called the stadium home from 1965-1973. Troup recalled fond memories of going to Quincy Cubs games in his youth.

“I had an uncle from St. Louis who would come up, and he was obviously a Cardinals fan, but when he would come up, it was like, ‘What are we going to do?’ Well, we’re going to go to the baseball game,” Troup said. “As an elementary student going with your uncle, you were going to the stadium. It was a big deal. It was fun, and you were there with family. You’d get a hot dog, popcorn, a drink, you get to watch baseball. He was good at keeping stats and all that, so we were learning the game as well. There are a lot of good memories.”

Troup said the ownership group is making it a top priority to promote the city, not just the baseball.

“The way the ownership group is looking at promoting their baseball team like they’ve done in a couple other markets, they’re advertising our community,” Troup said. “I know when they opened up one of the other teams, they sold shirts and souvenir kinds of things in one weekend, and it was delivered to all 50 states. They try to make a big splash.”

Troup also said the group wouldn’t limit that promotion to just the summer.

“They’re looking at it as more of a year-round activity,” Troup said. “You’re going to have the summer baseball, but they want to do promotions and other events throughout the year. I think that’s what it takes. You want to get people in the habit of doing different activities, summer or fall or whatever. 

“From what I can tell in the conversations that we’ve had, they’re looking at it as a long-term approach, and as you’ve got to get the community behind it. That makes a great, interesting partnership.”

As for whether the new team would keep the Gems name, Troup said that remains to be seen.

“I could see both sides of the argument — it was here in Quincy, we’re bringing it back or you want a different approach because of some other things that you’re going to do differently,” Troup said. “The ownership group is going to have to figure that out.”

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