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Iowa Cubs Owner Writes Checks to Employees After Selling Team

Michael Gartner bought the Iowa Cubs in 1999. Over 20 years later, he sold the team and provided employees checks based on how long they worked for the club.
Michael Gartner Iowa Cubs Owner

Photo: Dylan Heuer/Des Moines Register

Michael Gartner, who bought the Iowa Cubs in 1999, made an extraordinary gesture during his final days in charge of the ball club.

In the wake of selling the team to Endeavor, the parent company of UFC, Gartner wrote a check to all of his current and former employees. Employees received $2,000 for every year worked at the ball club. The longest-tenured employee received a check for $70,000.

In total, Gartner gave away $600,000 to 23 full-time workers.

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Gartner made his name in the media industry. The Des Moines, Iowa native was an editor at several papers, most notably The Wall Street Journal. He then was president of NBC News from 1988-1993 and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1997.

After purchasing the Iowa Cubs in 1999, Gartner quickly became popular amongst fans and employees alike. He helped modernize Principal Park, the home of the Iowa Cubs, adding LED lights around the field and bleachers in right field.

The Iowa Cubs were founded in 1969, known then as the Iowa Oaks. The Oaks were minor-league affiliates for three different MLB teams, including the Chicago White Sox from 1973-1974 and 1976-1980.

The Oaks became the affiliate for the Chicago Cubs in 1981, changing their name to the Iowa Cubs in 1982. Since then, the Cubs have won seven PCL division titles and the 1993 Double-A Championship.

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