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Joliet Slammers

The Joliet independent team that plays in Silver Cross Field has new ownership. A group headed by Al Oremus bought the assets of the JackHammers after they folded following last season, changed the team's name to the Slammers and took it from the defunct Northern League to the Frontier League. "The sale was completed in early December, but in my mind, we didn't get started until we unveiled our new logo on March 10," said President Bill Waliewski, a former (Hinsdale Central) high school, college and semi-pro baseball star who went on to a 23-year career in commercial real estate. "We wanted to pick a name that had a connection in some way, shape or form to Joliet's history. The name Slammers is a baseball term that also pays tribute to an iconic facility here in Joliet and that's the prison (which closed in 2002). The bird in the logo is wearing a striped hat. Yeah, he's menacing, but he's also a cool character." The mischievous J.L. Bird meanders about the well-kept ballpark, skirmishing with good guy mascot Spikes. "I have a business background and I have a baseball background, but I also have a background as a guy who loves the ballpark experience," Waliewski said. "Food is a very important part of the experience. We've got a double-decker chicken fried steak with gravy and Texas toast and a heaping handful of French fries and two big link sausages serving as toothpicks." At $12.50, Joliet Joe's chicken steak sandwich is by far the most expensive item on an extensive menu that rivals Kane County's for excellence. Barbecue brisket, barbecue turkey and pulled pork are $5.50; bratwurst, Polish sausages and Italian sausages are $4.50; and hot dogs are $3.75. Waliewski said a family of four can buy reserved tickets, a small soda and a small hot dog apiece for a total of $51.
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