Bernie Sanders fights for minor league baseball in Iowa 2020 caucuses

Clinton LumberKings baseball team general manager Ted Tornow in his office at NelsonCorp Field in Clinton, IA.

Jacob Pramuk | CNBC

CLINTON, Iowa — Ted Tornow’s office showcases a life in baseball. Team photos line what he jokes is the “wall of shame,” tracing the Clinton LumberKings general manger’s 37 years working in the minor leagues from Tennessee to Alabama, to Mississippi and Montana and now eastern Iowa.

He points to an image of Bo Jackson, the multi-sport superstar who took baseball’s Memphis Chicks by storm when Tornow worked for the team in 1986. He notes a photo of Ryne Sandberg and recalls how the Chicago Cubs legend “packed” Clinton’s stadium when he visited as manager of the Peoria Chiefs.

Now, a threat to the LumberKings and two other Iowa professional teams has brought Tornow into the orbit of another force: Bernie Sanders. The Vermont senator and presidential candidate, shaped at a young age by the National League’s Dodgers leaving his native Brooklyn for Los Angeles, has helped to lead resistance to a Major League Baseball proposal that could cut 42 minor league clubs. Burlington, Vt. — where Sanders was mayor in the 1980s — also could lose a team.


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