In its inaugural season, the Galion Graders baseball team not only resonated with the community, but also the local economy.
“The Graders alone spent $30,000 in the local economy,” said Gary Frankhouse, Graders’ treasurer and Crawford County Economic Development coordinator.
That doesn’t include the exterior spending brought to the area during a Graders game, he said. Much of the money that the team directly spent was throughout several local businesses such as laundry services, food vendors, transportation, merchandising and printing.
“(They) all benefited from that endeavor,” Frankhouse said.
Mayor Tom O’Leary said the economic impact is more difficult for the city to trace since there’s no income tax revenue.
“There’s no denying that having them brought some energy in town,” he said.
Frankhouse said the Graders also helps boost the local tourism industry.
“It’s a chance for us to showcase what we have to offer,” he said.
Named for the road equipment manufactured by Galion Iron Works, the team’s management has been working on the roster during its offseason.
“It’s a strong roster,” said Graders general manager Mike O’Leary.
He’s working with Graders head coach Ray Neill to finalize the roster, which had 30 verbal commitments earlier in late October. The roster is expected to include talent from the Big Ten Conference including OSU and Michigan State. Some players, who performed strongly last season, are expected to return.
Additionally, O’Leary said they are looking to fill a “handful of jobs” and internships, which will include working in the concession stands or maintaining the field during the regular season.
“We’ll take anybody who’s ready to work,” O’Leary said. “You can have a job in professional sports that’s not on the field.”
The Graders finished its inaugural season with a record of 16-22, two wins shy of a playoff spot.
“We learned so much from last season,” O’Leary said. “It makes me feel good that we can produce a better product on and off the field.”
Reach Klein at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.