Nashville Baseball History: From Sulphur Dell to the Sounds

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ISBN 978-1-938545-83-2
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Nashville is a Big League city despite never having been home to a major league team. From the Civil War era, to star-studded exhibitions, to outstanding Negro Leagues teams, to some of the great minor league franchises of all time, few cities have as rich a baseball tradition as Nashville, Tennessee.

Nashville sports historian Bill Traughber, who has been writing about baseball for nearly two decades, traces that 130+ year history from its beginnings to today. Featuring 32 essays, detailed player profiles and stats, timelines and seasonal results, and more than 80 photos—many of them previously unpublished—Nashville Baseball History: From Sulphur Dell to the Sounds—captures all the local flavor and passion of one of the south’s great baseball cities.  Featuring…

  • An introduction by Farrell Owens, the Sounds’ first general manager and a key figure in the success and growth of Nashville baseball
  • Visits from all-time greats, including Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Robinson, Henry Aaron, Reggie Jackson, and many more
  • The Nashville Vols, the classic minor league franchise from the first half of the 20th century
  • Decades of African American baseball, featuring Nashville’s own “Turkey” Stearnes, a Hall of Famer, and Dodgers’ great “Junior” Jim Gilliam, now a local  icon
  • The Nashville Sounds, whose fortunes took off when they became a New York Yankees affiliate, with future stars like Don Mattingly, Steve Balboni, and Willie McGee taking the field
  • The Sounds’ ongoing success and popularity, which continue to grow today in their new home, First Tennessee Park
  • Michael Jordan’s foray into professional baseball, as thrilling to fans as it was brief
  • Interviews with fan favorite Skeeter Barnes, Buck Showalter, and part-owner and fan extraordinaire Richard Sterban of the Oak Ridge Boys


Forward, by Farrell Owens


Early Nashville Baseball

Sulphur Springs Ball Park

The 1885 Nashville Americans

The 1887 Nashville Blues

Nashville Plays Night Baseball in 1894

The 1895 Nashville Seraphs

The 1897 Nashville Centennials

The 1901 Nashville Club

The 1902 Nashville Team

Greatest Baseball Game Played in the South

A 1911 Lawsuit Bans Sunday Baseball

Tom Rogers’ Perfect Game in 1916

Tom Wilson and the Nashville Elite Giants

Nashville’s Top Black Players

Nashville Welcomes the Great Babe Ruth

Sulphur Dell’s First Night Game

Gilbert Family Contributed to Nashville Baseball

The 1940 Nashville Vols

All-Star Games Played in Nashville

Baseball’s Greats Play in Nashville

Vice-President Johnson Tosses First Pitch

Vols Say Good-Bye in 1963

The 1978 Nashville Sounds

Nashville Sounds Championships

The Nashville Xpress

First Tennessee Park

Nashville Sounds Notes and Highlights

Appendix I: Nashville Vols Year-by-Year Results

Appendix II: Nashville Sounds Year-by-Year Results

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