Don’t Just Build A New Stadium at Sulphur Dell

September 8th marks the fiftieth anniversary of the last game played at Sulphur Dell.  It was actually the last two games, as the Nashville Vols completed a season-ending doubleheader against Lynchburg, winning twice 6-3 and 2-1.

The seating capacity in the grandstands at Sulphur Dell was 7,000, but only 970 turned out to view the final games.

Left-handed hitter Charles Teuscher hit three home runs in both games to lead the Vols, with two of his round-trippers coming in the second game.  Larry Del Margo was the winning pitcher, his eighth win of the season.

“The last homer by Teuscher was a perfect epitaph to the famous Dell, ending it’s 103rd year as the city’s official host to baseball people from coast-to-coast.”, F. M. Williams wrote in the Tennessean.

In his “One Man’s Opinion” column in the morning’s Tennessean, Raymond Johnson quoted various fans about the demise of the team and beloved ballpark.  One of them, Charles Brasleton, said it best:

“If we expect ever again to have baseball, we must keep Sulphur Dell.”

But we did not keep it.

Known for its peculiar outfield hills and short right field fence, colorful and quirky Sulphur Dell sat silent to baseball games until finally being torn down in 1969.  The rubble of the demolished Andrew Jackson Hotel was used to fill the giant hole.

Nashville turned its back on one of the grand old ballparks in the United States.  Now we have a mayor with a vision to return Nashville to the glory of the early days.

Home plate at the new ballpark does not have to be placed in the precise location of the old ballpark.  The design of Sulphur Dell will never again be duplicated.

But we can relive our memories, love of baseball and Nashville, by bringing back the location of the ballpark to where history and tradition intended.  It is already an exciting opportunity for the rebirth of a neglected section of Nashville, but it will be even more exciting to finally see a ballpark that thousands of area baseball fans deserve.

We can never bring back old Sulphur Dell.  A new stadium for the Nashville Sounds will return some of that lost glory, but with the proposed library and archives in the plan it may also make sense to include a place for Nashville’s storied baseball history to be on display.

A museum where information may be made available to researchers, historians, and baseball fans could be a key draw.  Even here in the “Athens of the South”, a great learning center of the country, Nashville’s baseball traditions stretch from amateur teams to Negro Leagues to the majors and people want to read about it, see about it, and learn about it.

If this idea is not already on the minds of those who are planning the revitalization of the Sulphur Dell area, it should be.  If we do not hold on to some of the treasures of the past, they will be lost forever.

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