From Giants to the Reds

On this day in 1954, Nashville General Manager Larry Gilbert announced that the New York Giants affiliation would end its three-year run, and a new agreement had been signed with the Cincinnati Reds For 1955.

imageThe Giants agreement had brought exciting players to Sulphur Dell: Bob Lennon hit 64 home runs in 1954, Dusty Rhodes hit .347 for Nashville in 1952, and Jack Harshman was converted from a slugging outfielder who hit 47 home runs in 1951 to a pitcher who finished with a 23-7 record in 1953.

During those seasons Nashville experienced decent attendance numbers, too.

It changed beginning in 1955. The Nashville club had begun to show financial problems. Larry Gilbert sold his 1/2 interest in the Vols and returned to his hometown New Orleans.

It was not as if the Reds agreement had a detrimental effect. Great future Cincinnati players made their way through Nashville: catcher Johnny Edwards, pitchers Jim O’Toole, Jim Maloney, and Claude Osteen, and outfielder Buddy Gilbert.

It became an era in which today’s Nashville fans have the most vivid memories of the old ballpark and the teams that played there.  It was just that those fans did not always show up.

The Nashville Vols were on their last legs, but fans who still have memories of the ballpark usually remember the Reds years. Those fans became Cincinnati fans through the radio broadcasts, and were able to stay in reasonable contact with the players who had brought exciting baseball skills to Sulphur Dell.

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