Niagara Falls Team Sale to the Blue Jays Is Approved
The New York-Pennsylvania League has approved the purchase of its Niagara Falls, N.Y., franchise by Toronto, and the Blue Jays need only to receive the necessary financial papers to make the sale final.
Howard Starkman, director of public relations, said the Jays would decide later this month where in Ontario the Class A team would be relocated.
The cities under review are Niagara Falls, Welland and St. Catharines, Starkman said.
Leo Pinckney, president of the New York-Penn League, said the Jays had set a Nov. 15 deadline for deciding where to move the team but Starkman said that date had been put back because of a delay in receiving the necessary papers.
Pinckney said Hamilton, which is some 50 miles from Niagara Falls, N.Y., was discussed as a site but was rejected because it was too far away from the other league clubs.
Pinckney’s decision seems to put an end to U.S. businessman Mal Fichman’s bid to bring baseball to Hamilton. Fichman, general manager of the Miami Marlins of the Florida State League, had indicated interest in moving an existing New York-Penn League team to Hamilton’s Ivor Wynne Stadium.
“If we can’t put a team in Hamilton, then we’re not interested in the NYPL,” he said last month.
The league has one Pennsylvania team, located in Erie, and New York state franchises in Elmira, Jamestown, Niagara Falls, Utica, Oneonta, Little Falls, Newark, Auburn, Batavia, Geneva and Watertown.
Pinckney also said he has rejected the plan of two Harrisburg, Pa., businessmen to move the Newark, N.Y., team to the Pennsylvania capital.
Pinckney said the decision was made after telephone conferences with the club directors of the 12-team league.
Harrisburg, which is 162 miles from Elmira, the closest New York-Penn city, was considered “too far out of the way,” Pinckney said.
“That was the main basis for it,” he said from Auburn.