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What it cost in the late ‘70s to buy Spokane’s AAA baseball team: $250,000

Tuesday's SR had a story on the impressive legal and professional career of William D. “Bill” Symmes, a longtime Spokane attorney and profoundly diehard sports fan.  Mr. Symmes died a week ago.

Among his career highlights was buying a small partial ownership in the Spokane Indians from 1979 to 1982. The owners included Spokane and Coeur d'Alene developer John Stone.

It was Stone who said the AAA Indians franchise made enough money to pay bills, but barely. It became clear to most of the owners that Spokane lacked the number of corporate headquarters needed to provide significant sponsorships and ticket sales.

The owners got into a dispute, with some urging the sale of the AAA franchise to a Las Vegas consortium, while others opposed that sale. Symmes, who was managing partner of Witherspoon Kelley law firm at the time, sided with those urging the sale.

One tidbit: when Symmes, Stone and others bought the team from the previous owners, the sales price was $250,000. “At the time that was a large amount,” Stone said.

Three years later when they sold the AAA franchise to the Las Vegas group, that marked the last time Spokane enjoyed a AAA team. From that point on the team became a short-season A league team.


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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.

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