Smith Wills Stadium, former home to pro baseball in Jackson, Miss., could be torn down to make way for new development, as the city seeks an alternative use for the ballpark.
Most recently a new Costco was proposed for the site. In recent years Jackson officials had pitched a new arena for the site, but that effort failed when it was clear there was a lack of city funding for the project. There’s also some dispute as to ownership of the site: state officials say that if the ballpark is town down for a new use, the property reverts back to the state.
Smith Wills Stadium was home to the Jackson Mets (Class AA; Texas League, 1975-1990), Jackson Generals (Class AA; Texas League, 1991-1999), Jackson DiamondKats (independent; Texas-Louisiana League, 2000) and the Jackson Senators (independent; Central Baseball League, 2002 to 2005). After pro baseball departed, it was home to college and summer-collegiate programs, including the current home of the Belhaven University Blazers. Most notably Smith Wills Stadium hosted the marriage of Jackson Mets outfielder Mookie Wilson to Rosa Gilbert in 1978 a la Bull Durham, with teammates marking the occasion by holding their bats overhead while the happy couple walked from the infield to the dugout.
Image courtesy Bellhaven University.