Team spirit

It’s been just over a year since Wheaton alumnus Kenneth Babby ’02 purchased his second Minor League Baseball team, the Jacksonville Suns, and the upgrades he has made to the team’s home park—as well as his commitment to his new community—are receiving attention.

Babby was featured in an April 4 article in the Jacksonville, Fla.-based Daily Record.

The article follows Babby as he makes the rounds at the park in preparation for Opening Day.

“Babby is always surveying the stands. He watches faces. What people are eating. How they’re interacting with each other and the game. It’s a trait that began when he was a teenager, a time when most of his peers would solely watch the action on the field,” Daily Record reporter David Chapman writes.

But it’s not just press attention the alum is receiving; since purchasing the Suns last March, Babby has been invited to serve on the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce board of directors, and the $1.8 million in renovations he has made to the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville are getting positive reviews from local fans.

“I don’t think we realize in the community what a gem we have,” Jacksonville Chamber CEO Daniel Davis said of Babby in the article.

This is Babby’s first season juggling two teams. In October 2012, he purchased the Akron RubberDucks (formerly the Akron Aeros), based in Akron, Ohio. There, he also made a major investment, committing to $3.5 million in improvements to the team’s Canal Park.

For Babby, who received a computer science degree from Wheaton College, baseball is essentially a family business. His father, Lon, served as general counsel of Major League Baseball’s the Baltimore Orioles in the 1980s and ‘90s. Babby often accompanied him on team business and even served as a batboy one year, getting to meet players such as Cal Ripken Jr., according to the Daily Record article.

These days, Babby shares his work and his love of baseball with his own son, Josh, who hopes to attend as many games in both Akron and Jacksonville as possible.