Posted: Sep. 5, 2014 9:40 am Updated: Sep. 19, 2014 10:15 am
By MATT HOPF
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
A local group has bought the Quincy Gems.
Quincy residents Terry Martin, Chris Martin, Julie Louthan and Jimmie Louthan — known collectively as Gems BB3, LLC — announced Friday that they had purchased the Prospect League team from the Quincy Civic Center Authority.
Terry Martin said the group bought the team for $120,000 and the sale was approved Wednesday by the league.
“We are happy to take the reins of not only a championship baseball team, but also a great part of Quincy's tradition of sports,” Terry Martin said. “To keep the team here in Quincy was important to us. Now, we will have the opportunity to make a great sports franchise even better.”
Terry Martin will act as president of the organization and Chris Martin, his son, will be general manager. Jimmy Louthan will serve as vice president and Julie Louthan as secretary-treasurer.
Terry Martin has been the Gems' general manager since 2012 and Chris Martin has been the team's manager since 2007. Terry Martin expects his son to return to the bench next season. The Louthans own JJ's Catering, which took over concession operations this season.
Reached at the Prospect League fall meeting in Indianapolis, Terry Martin said the ownership group will begin work immediately.
“I think the team needs to be marketed year-round and we plan on doing that,” he said. “With the Civic Center and all the other responsibilities they had, I think they couldn't quite put the time in on the Gems that I think it needed. We're working closely with them to get this done.”
The new owners also hope to attract more families to the ballpark.
“We want to try and create more of a family-type atmosphere for the fans in Quincy, and, quite frankly, do some things for children and family and maybe get a little bit more conservative on pricing,” he said.
“There are times that the Gems play three or four times a week at home. We want to try and get some family pricing in there where a family can pick more than one time a week to come to a game.”
The Gems had been owned and operated by the Quincy Civic Center Authority since the team joined the Central Illinois Collegiate League in 1996. The team moved to the Prospect League in 2009 and has won three league championships, including this year.
The team was placed on the market last October after it lost more than $90,000 during the 2013 season.
Terry Martin said the new owners will meet the public at an open house Sept. 21 at QU-Stadium. The owners want to hear what fans would like to see next season.
“I know this has been a part of the heritage that they want to keep, and that's one reason why (we) ... decided to take a chance,” he said.