Opening at Home for the First Time

Nashville’s first home opener took place on May 4, 1885 against Columbus. The club had been on a lengthy road trip to open the Southern League season with visits to Macon, Augusta, Birmingham, and the team who was paying a visit to Athletic Park. The local club returned with a satisfactory 7-4 record.

Nashville’s Daily American May 4 edition urged locals to come out and support the new professional team, not only for the game of that day but for the entire season.

“They deserve a large attendance and a perfect ovation at the hands of Nashville people…large audiences should attend the games to encourage the club that is trying to win the pennant for Nashville.”

The next day’s account of the game began with a sour lead.

Daily American 05-05-1885 Opening Day Nashville First Home Professional game“The opening championship game for Nashville was a disastrous one. The Columbus club defeated the Americans by a score of 3-2. The scorer’s record will show that, with a few exceptions, an excellent fielding game was played. The defeat was evidently attributable to the light hitting of the locals.”

The box score proves it. Nashville was outhit 8-5, had 5 errors (Columbus had 4) while the opponents’ first baseman Charlie Hamburg had the only extra base hit, a double. Len Sowders, first baseman for the home team, would be shut out at the plate but when the season was over would lead all hitters with a .309 average.

Losing pitcher Alex Voss struck out four on his way to 210 for the year as he would finish with a 26-14 record. It would be an auspicious start as Nashville would build up to a 62-39 record at season’s end, good enough for third place in the inaugural Southern circuit.

It was the first of many season openers in Nashville.

© Skip Nipper. All Rights Reserved.

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