The Single-A South Atlantic League is moving into Salisbury next season.
Within the next few weeks, officials of Maryland Baseball Limited Partnership, Inc. will announce the purchase of the Albany (Ga.) Polecats and the franchise's relocation to the Eastern Shore.
The sale of the club has been passed by the board of directors of the league and now requires only the approval of the baseball commissioner's office and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (minors).
"We can't confirm this" until the final approvals are granted, said MBLP chief executive officer Peter Kirk. "We have opened an office in Salisbury, hired a general manager and we're building a ballpark. Within the next couple of weeks we'll have an announcement."
The news was broken in Georgia by Polecats owner Richard M. Holtzman, who also has several other minor-league franchises, including Tucson in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.
Albany, which was affiliated with the Orioles through 1994, was last in the league in attendance this season.
The Montreal Expos became the Polecats' new parent club, but it is no secret that Kirk wants Salisbury in the Orioles system.
There are two possibilities for 1996:
(1) Salisbury could play in the Expos organization for another year;
(2) A trade could be arranged in the off-season involving the Orioles and Montreal, which wants to retain a lower-A club.
"Stadium construction is coming along real well," Kirk said of Salisbury. "And we have hired Bill Davidson [general manager of the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts the last six years]. Because of our expectations of how this club will be received, we felt we needed someone with extensive experience."
The team will be named the Delmarva Shorebirds, the overwhelming winner in a recently conducted fan poll.