This day holds a special place in the history of Nashville baseball, and includes exhibitions between the hometown Vols and various major league clubs, a regret from baseball’s iconic Babe Ruth, and a rare perfect game:
April 7, 1904
Nashville and Boston of the National League meet at Athletic Park as the major leaguers win 8-3.
April 7, 1925
The Chicago White Sox win over the Nashville Vols 12-6. It is the 16th consecutive spring training game for the major league club in as many days.
April 7, 1927
The 65th General Assembly of Tennessee adjourns early to see Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees play the St. Louis Cardinals at Sulphur Dell. A resolution had been adopted to invite Ruth to address the Senate, but he sent word that it would be impossible for him to appear because of a lack of time. The Cardinals beat the Yankees 10-8 in a rematch of the 1926 World Series clubs.
April 7, 1934
Charles Dressen’s Vols wins against the New York Yankees 5-4 in a game at Sulphur Dell. Before a crowd of 3,000, the Yankees are stymied by the pitching of Hal Stafford, who relieved in the 5th inning and allows only four hits through the last five innings, striking out five.
James P. Dawson, New York Times reporter, describes Sulphur Dell’s unique feature as “the right field here is cut out of a hill and is terraced, making it necessary for a fly-chaser to combine hill-climbing ability with speed and accuracy in fielding the ball“. Dawson also reports that Babe Ruth “almost broke one of his legs catching (Bill) Rodda’s fly on the climb in the first. The Babe slipped and stumbled but climbed on and came up with the ball“. Ruth is two for four, as is Lou Gehrig.
April 7, 1953
Mickey Mantle hits a 420-foot two-run double in the seventh inning as the New York Yankees beat the hometown Vols 9-1 before 2,693 fans. Louis Effrat, reporting in The New York Times, quotes one Yankee player as describing playing in Sulphur Dell as “It’s like playing in a telephone booth“, and quoted Casey Stengel, New York manager, recalling that in 1912 when he was playing with Montgomery in a game at Sulphur Dell, “I dragged the ball and it went over the right-field fence for a homer“.
Yankee pitching coach Jim Turner, a native of Nashville, is honored at home plate before the game by Governor Frank G. Clement who appointed Turner a Tennessee Colonel on the Governor’s staff.
April 7, 1957
The Cincinnati Reds defeat Washington 9-7 before 5,842 fans after the Nats lose a 5-0 lead. Joe Nuxhall, Hal Jeffcoat and Raul Sanchez pitch for the Reds, while Roy Sievers belts a triple and homer, driving in three runs. Herb Plews and Pete Runnels get two hits each for Washington.
April 7, 2003
Right-hander John Wasdin pitches the first perfect game in Nashville Sounds history in his first start of the season against the Albuquerque Isotopes. The 4–0 win is only the second nine-inning perfect game in PCL history.
In ten days a new era begins: April 17th is Opening Night for the Nashville Sounds at new First Tennessee Park near the site of famous Sulphur Dell!
© 2015 by Skip Nipper. All Rights Reserved.