Tag Archives: Johnny Butler

Managing the Nashville Baseball Club, 1901-1961


Jim Turner

Nashville joined seven cities as a member of the Southern Association when it was formed beginning with the 1901 season. Newt Fisher was instrumental in bringing professional baseball back to his hometown as a team organizer, owner, and manager. Fisher led his team to the first two Southern Association championships.

Here is a list of Nashville managers during the league’s existence, from 1901 through 1961:

1901 – 1904   Newt Fisher

1905 – 1906   Mike Finn

1907                  Johnny Dobbs

1908 – 1910   Bill Bernhard

1911 – 1915     Bill Schwartz

1916 – 1920    Roy Ellam

1921                   Hub Perdue

1922                   Larry Doyle

1923 – 1928   Jimmy Hamilton

1928 – 1930   Clarence Rowland

1931 – 1932    Joe Klugman

1933 – 1934    Charles Dressen

1934 – 1937     Lance Richbourg

1935                   Frank Brazill

1935                   Johnny Butler

1938                  Charles Dressen

1939 – 1948    Larry Gilbert

1949                   Rollie Hemsley

1950 – 1951    Don Osborne

1952 – 1954    Hugh Poland

1955                   Joe Schultz

1956                   Ernie White

1957 – 1959    Dick Sisler

1960                   Jim Turner

1961                    Spencer Robbins

Larry Gilbert’s Vols won four regular season championships (1940-1943-1944-1948), Newt Fisher won two (1901-1902), and Bill Bernhard (1908), Roy Ellam (1916), and Rollie Hemlsey (1949) won one each.

© 2013 by Skip Nipper. All Rights Reserved.

Leave a comment

Filed under History

A Short Season At The Nashville Helm

Frank Brazill was Nashville player-manager for the first half of the 1935 Southern Association season, playing first base in 45 games and hitting for a .288 average before being replaced by Johnny Butler as Vols manager for the remainder of the season.  Brazill had been named manager in November of 1934, but was replaced on June 10 as the team was mired in fifth place.

Although there was some disagreement with Vols player Johnny Gooch, there appeared to be no real dissension on the ball club under Brazill’s tutelage. His team was not performing to the expectations of Nashville owner Ted Murray and general manager Jimmy Hamilton.  Murray was also  a part-owner of the Minneapolis Millers and sent Brazill to the American Association club as a utility infielder, coach, and scout to finish the year.Frank-Brazil

The rest of Frank Brazill’s career had been notable. A member of the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame, Brazill had previously played in the PCL for seven years for the Portland Beavers, Seattle Indians, Los Angeles Angels, and Mission Reds.  He hit over .300 each season and during one four-year span averaged 25 home runs a season.  Mostly a scatter-armed third baseman, Brazill led the league in errors in 1926.

At the age of 24 he was named manager of Portland on July 29, 1924 to finish the season and continuing to play.  His team compiled a record of 40-45. After retiring as a player, he served as a scout for the New York Giants, and left that position in 1942 to become manager of Portland once again, finishing the season with a 67-110 record.

Joining Memphis in the Southern Association in 1929, Brazill had 24 doubles, 11 triples, 16 home runs, and hit for a .342 average. Brazill played first- and second base and also the outfield during six seasons with the Chicks. In between his stints at the helm of Portland, Brazill managed Nashville, Greenwood in the East Dixie and Cotton States Leagues, Fort Smith in the Western Association, and returned to Memphis as manager for one season in 1939.

Able to hit for power and average, he only appeared in 72 games in 1921 and 1922 for the Philadelphia Athletics, probably due to his weak fielding.  Brazill was also a fiery hot-head who often argued with umpires and fought with other players.

Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania on August 11, 1899, his first professional season was in 1918 at Cumberland, Maryland in the Blue Ridge League, four hours from his home.

Brazill passed away on November 3, 1976 in Oakland, California.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized