The Nashville Sounds could have a new home in 2015. Nashville Mayor Karl Dean’s administration has proposed a plan to build an $80 million development on the old Sulphur Dell site. Included in the project is $30 million for a new Sounds stadium.
The development would also include a parking garage and a residential development. However, the team is cautiously optimistic.
Plans in the past, including one in 2007 to build a ballpark on the river downtown, blew up. However, under new ownership and with a new mayor perhaps the plan to bring baseball back to the historic site will come through.
Sulphur Dell is the original home of baseball in Nashville. Baseball was played on the site shortly after the Civil War. A field, called Athletic Park, was built in 1870 and a grandstand added in 1885 when the Nashville Americans of the Southern League called it home.
It wasn’t until legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice referred to the park as Sulpher Spring Dell that the name began to change. Eventually it was shortened to just Sulpher Dell.
The field was known for its sloping outfield that had a steep incline all along the outfield wall.
Minor league teams played at Sulpher Dell for years through 1963. The last team to play were the Nashville Vols who played in the Atlantic League in 1963. However, due to poor attendance and financial problems the team was forced to leave.
The stadium sat vacant without a minor league team until it was torn down in 1969. And Nashville was without a team from 1964 to 1977 until the Nashville Sounds came to town.
The talks for the new ballpark are still in the early stages, but the Sounds are in dire need of an upgraded facility who play in the outdated Herschel Greer Stadium.
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.