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Archive for Sunday, January 7, 2007

Budig buys into ballclub

January 7, 2007

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Gene Budig has branched into new baseball territory.

Budig, who left the chancellorship at Kansas University in 1994 to become president of baseball's American League, has purchased a piece of a minor-league team.

Budig and his wife Gretchen are now partial owners of the Charleston, S.C., RiverDogs, Class A affiliate of the New York Yankees.

"This is pretty exciting stuff," Budig said. "What could be more fun than being part owner of a minor-league baseball team?"

Marv Goldklang and Mike Veeck are the primary owners of the RiverDogs, a South Atlantic League franchise.

"We love his involvement from an historical perspective and his intimacy with the game," Veeck said of Budig in a statement released by the club.

The Budigs live just nine minutes from the RiverDogs' ballpark on the Isle of Palms. They made the Charleston suburb their permanent home about a year ago.

"This is a unique opportunity to be part of the Charleston community," Budig said. "It's also a chance to be part of a game that means so much to me."

Budig, 67, was KU's chancellor for 13 years prior to being tapped for the AL post when Bobby Brown stepped down in 1994. Budig held that position until it was eliminated by Commissioner Bud Selig in 1999.

After that, Budig spent some time as a professor at Princeton University. Now he commutes to New York City from time to time to serve as senior presidential advisor for the College Board.

And now Budig has another baseball connection.

"No segment of organized baseball is more exciting than the minor leagues," he said.

Budig retains strong ties to Kansas University. Last September, he and his wife provided the lead funding for a $5,000 annual award that will be presented each year to a KU faculty member in education or journalism.

He is also the namesake for Budig Hall on the KU campus.

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