After 30 years, iconoclastic St. Paul Saints will be in new ownership hands

Diamond Baseball Holdings owns 13 other minor league baseball teams, including the Saints’ new Class AAA rival the Iowa Cubs in Des Moines.

St. Paul Saints left fielder Brett Rooker gets a hand from Jake Cave after hitting one of his three home runs July 13, 2021, against Columbus at CHS Field in St. Paul. On Wednesday, March 15, 2023, it was announced that the Saints’ ownership group was in the process of selling the team.
Rob Thompson / St. Paul Saints via St. Paul Pioneer Press

ST. PAUL -- The ownership group that brought minor league baseball back to St. Paul in 1993 announced Wednesday morning it’s in the process of selling the team to a group that owns several other minor league teams.

Diamond Baseball Holdings owns 13 other minor league baseball teams, including the Saints’ new Class AAA rival the Iowa Cubs in Des Moines.

“The decision to sell was a difficult and emotional one for me and it would not have been made were it not to an organization headed by people who ‘get it,’” Saints Chairman/CEO Marv Goldklang said in a statement.

Diamond Baseball Holdings CEO Peter Freund has been a co-owner of the Charleston RiverDogs, a Goldklang Group owned team, for the past 10 years. The team will continue under current management, including executive vice president and general manager Derek Sharrer, who has been at the helm for two decades.

“They see this as a jewel in minor league baseball, a flagship franchise,” Sharrer said Wednesday.


For 30 years in St. Paul, that flag has been the pirate skull and bones as the Saints worked hard to not just be different from other baseball teams, but to thumb their noses and some of the game’s more staid traditions. That isn’t expected to change, Sharrer said.

“Here’s the thing: If the flag is a pirate flag, that’s what they’re investing in,” he said.

The Saints started as an independent team playing at Midway Stadium in 1993, bringing minor league baseball back to St. Paul for the first time since the original St. Paul Saints left after the 1960 season. The team’s modus operandi, best explained by team motto “Fun is Good,” was as important — if not more important — as the baseball being played.

That tradition, including the pig that brings baseball’s to the umpires between innings, continued when the team became the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate as part of Major League Baseball’s major minor league realignment in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Saints are entering their third season as a Twins affiliate, and the teams are locked into a player development deal for the next eight years.

“What I can tell you, and I think Dave St. Peter and Derek Falvey and Thad Levine would say this, too, is the Twins and Saints have the most envied Triple-A partnership in all of baseball,” Sharrer said.

Goldklang, who owns the team with baseball iconoclast Mike Veeck and movie star Bill Murray, said DBH is “committed both to further expansion of the team’s brand and additional ways in which our ballpark can be utilized for the benefit of the community.”

In a statement, Veeck said, “These last three decades have been one of the most magical and rewarding rides of my baseball life.”


“From day one, the fans opened up their arms to this organization and made us strive for new heights each season,” said Veeck, son of baseball’s original firebrand owner Bill Veeck. “I’m so grateful to the St. Paul community because they proved that if you listen to them, then they will come out and support you. We’ve made so many friends in the area and leave the Saints in incredible hands.”

Sharrer said Diamond Baseball Holdings is working on building a group of “30-plus” minor league teams. In December, the group added the Twins Double-A affiliate in Wichita to its stable.

“When all is said and done, their vision is to bring resources to the teams and facilities and operations staffs so that those teams can operate even better than they have in the past,” Sharrer said. “But they also understand that minor league baseball is hyper focused locally. They get the minor league baseball business. They understand how important each community is to its team, and how important each team is to its community. They have no intent to change that. It’s what they’re investing in.”

The Saints begin their season with a three-game series March 31-April 2 in Toledo, then open at CHS Field with a six-game series against the Iowa Cubs April 4-9.


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