Co-owner Ron Kittle, former Chicago White Sox player
Whiting, IN – It was announced today that Oil City Stadium in Whiting, IN, will be the new home of the Northwest Indiana Oilmen Baseball Club, opening play this June. Club owners Don Popravak, Northwest Indiana’s Legend and White Sox Slugger Ron Kittle along with Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura made the announcement today at Whiting City Hall.
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen will be made up of top collegiate players from around the country, getting their first taste of professional-level wood bat baseball. Collegiate summer baseball is the first step for a large majority of all baseball players who progress to the minor and major leagues. It gives the MLB Scouts an opportunity to evaluate these top players perform with wood bats which are not used during the regular collegiate spring season. Ron Kittle added that “the league is designed to allow our players the opportunity to find that true sweet spot and start their journey to fulfill their dream of playing at the highest level.”
While the Oilmen call Oil City Stadium home, the team will represent the entire Northwest Indiana region, and the ball club draws its name and image from the workers from the BP oil refinery in Whiting, the largest inland refinery in the nation, which also serves as the center field backdrop to the stadium.
"We are extremely proud to bring this tremendous level of quality baseball to Whiting and the entire Northwest Indiana region," said Popravak who grew up only 3 miles from Whiting. "When I first saw the beautiful ballpark that Whiting built last year, I knew it was the perfect home for this team. The community will surely enjoy this level of baseball and the players will be honored to play in such a marvelous facility and be the blue collar team of the region." In 2011 Summer Collegiate Baseball drew over 3 million fans to its ball games across the country by providing a great product of affordable family fun to their communities. The Oilmen are delighted to bring this excitement to Northwest Indiana.
Mayor Joe Stahura added, “The City of Whiting is looking forward to hosting the 2012 Inaugural summer baseball season of the Northwest Indiana Oilmen Baseball Club at Oil City Stadium. We expect this to be a mutually beneficial relationship for both the Midwest Collegiate League as well as the community.”
The Midwest Collegiate League stretches from Whiting to Rockford, IL and will have eight teams competing in the circuit in 2011. Opening day will be Saturday June 2 at Oil City Stadium in Whiting.
The logo for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen captures the iconic blue collar oil worker that has called Whiting home for 123 years. The primary colors of the team are black and gold to symbolize oil and its nickname, "black gold". The team's secondary logo also features the Oilman with a backdrop of the well-known oil storage tanks that dot the landscape of Northwest Indiana. Merchandise featuring these logos will be available in early March.
The Oilmen are committed to providing not only quality baseball, but also a safe, affordable and fun atmosphere, perfect for kids and families. Tickets will start at just $4.00 for children, seniors and active duty military, season tickets and mini-plans will be announced in the coming weeks.
For more information on the Northwest Indiana Oilmen and to sign up for e-mail alerts, visit the team's website at www.NWIOilmen.com.