WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A lot of people played key roles in bringing a new baseball stadium and team to Wichita. Still, the visionary was Lou Schwechheimer, the Wichita Wind Surge managing general partner.
Schwechheimer is one of the most respected names in Minor League Baseball. As an executive, his career spanned more than 40 years before he died last July from COVID-19 complications. He was 62 years old.
“I had the unbelievable honor of working for Lou as long as anyone,” Jared Forma, Wind Surge general manager, said. “He was family, he made you part of his family, that’s the easiest way to put it.”
As the team’s majority owner, Schwechheimer brought the now Wind Surge to Wichita from New Orleans in 2019. He helped strike a deal with the City of Wichita to pour millions of dollars into building Riverfront Stadium. A huge step in his vision of rebuilding Minor League Baseball in Wichita.
“He somehow dreamt it and saw it well before anyone else,” Forma said. “There would be no stadium if there was no Lou Schwechheimer and that’s my honest opinion.”
“You would see the conviction in his words and conversations of how he wanted this place to be, how he wanted Wichita to feel. He was proud of it,” said Bob Moullette, senior manager of Wind Surge Fan Experience.
Some thought Schwechheimer was crazy to try to bring a new team to town and build a new stadium, but now his legacy leaves a diamond for everyone to enjoy.
The Wind Surge is doing everything it can to honor him. On Monday, the team unveiled a portrait of Schwechheimer, and during this baseball season, the athletes will wear a patch in tribute to him on their jerseys.
“As Lou would say, ‘Onward! One day at a time, one step in front of the other and let’s get back to work,'” Forma said.