Ferro, Johnson sign with Lake County

September 11, 2011

On the line next to occupation, Kenosha Kings shortstop Joe Ferro can finally pencil in professional baseball player.

Wisconsin State League

On the line next to occupation, Kenosha Kings shortstop Joe Ferro can finally pencil in professional baseball player.

Ferro and teammate Randy Johnson signed professional contracts with the Lake County Fielders of the independent North American Baseball League just minutes after the Kenosha Kings completed a 17-game exhibition series against the troubled Zion, Ill.-based team Monday at Fielders Stadium.

“It’s a dream come true,” Ferro said. “Everyone always asked me what I wanted to do when I was a kid and I always told them I wanted to play baseball. When you talk to a young kid and tell them anything is possible, just look what happened to me.”

The Kings could potentially lose their top pitcher and one of their top position players. Johnson, a former Tremper standout, went 7-3 with a 1.34 ERA this season. Ferro was the Kings’ everyday shortstop this summer and batted over .500 during the exhibition series against the Fielders.

Ferro enters professional baseball when most players are exiting. The 30-year old completed his collegiate career at Carthage in 2009 after spending seven years in the U.S. Navy.

“I still feel like I can play,” said Ferro, who is three years older than Brewers’ slugger Prince Fielder. “I’m getting old, but I still look young. I tell people my age and they always are a little drawn back.”

Johnson signed his second professional contract. The right-hander had a two-week stint with the Southern Illinois Miners of the independent Frontier League in 2010.

The signings give the Christian Life baseball team a pair of pro ball players on its staff. Ferro is the Eagles’ varsity head coach, while Johnson is the assistant coach.

The independent baseball season typically begins each season in late May. The Fielders’ future, however, remains unclear. The team announced on Wednesday its intent to file a lawsuit against the City of Zion for a breach of contract.

The team’s financial problems have been well-documented throughout the season, resulting in a complete roster overhaul and a long list of creditors and disgruntled employees.

Although the team struggled off the field, Ferro said it rarely affected the product on the field.

“The problem isn’t the people that work there, it’s the people above them,” Ferro said. “I hope everything works out. I’d hate to see that field and all the tax money go to waste.”

The Fielders, partially owned by actor Kevin Costner, opened the season with a 32-game road trip. The team played in the same division as Calgary (Alberta) and Edmonton (Alberta), Chico (Calif.) and Maui (Hawaii).

Story and Photo by: The Kenosha News

The Wisconsin State League is one of the premier semi-professional/amateur baseball leagues in the mid-west. In operation since 1970, the Wisconsin State League is a highly competitive league that features many of the midwest's top current and former collegiate athletes, as well as many former professional baseball players. Keep up to date on everything happening in the Wisconsin State League by following the league online on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

WisconsinStateLeague.com | #WSL