The renovated, restored Simmons Field has a new tenant: the Kenosha Kingfish.
Kenosha Baseball unveiled the Northwoods League franchise’s name and logo as part of its launch party Saturday afternoon at Simmons Field. Nearly 1,000 fans turned out despite 20-degree temperatures for the free food and beverages, music, stadium tours and kids activites.
“You’re probably wondering why we chose to do this on a day that it’s 20 degrees,” Kenosha general manager Jake McGhee said to the crowd. “It’s simple: We’ve got an unbelievable field, and we couldn’t wait to show it off to you guys.”
There are very few areas of Simmons Field that didn’t undergo an overhaul with a historic touch. Street pavers formerly of downtown Kenosha line the walkways, and the seats were salvaged from Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore.
The team said nearly 90 percent of the renovations are complete, with the rest to be finished by opening day in May.
“This is a result of a public-private partnership,” Mayor Keith Bosman said after tossing a strike during the ceremonial first pitch. “We couldn’t have done it without the guys from Madison. We are really looking forward to working with these guys.
“They are a great organization, and you can see by the results to Simmons Field.”
Team owners Steve Schmitt, Vern Stenman and Conor Caloia addressed the crowd as well as field manager Duffy Dyer, who flew in from his home in Phoenix for the event. Dyer led the Kenosha Twins to the Midwest League (A) title in 1985.
“I have a passion for baseball,” Dyer said. “I was in professional baseball for 42 years, have been out of it the last couple of years. I will admit, I missed it a great deal.
“I’m very happy and honored to come back to Kenosha.”
The Kingfish logo features a menacing crowned fish curled into a circle to resemble a baseball complete with stitches for gills. The color scheme (per the team): Lake Michigan blue, Vintage cream, Kings gold and Cardinals red.
The Kingfish are the second Northwoods League franchise to call Simmons Field home. The Kenosha Kroakers occupied the historic venue at 7817 Sheridan Road from 1994-1998.
The league is a 18-team summer collegiate wooden bat league with teams in Green Bay, Madison, Wisconsin Rapids, La Crosse, Eau Claire, Wausau and Grafton as well as in Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan and Canada.