No preservationists have stepped forward to demand its survival, and with a spiffy new ballpark on the way, we’re guessing there won’t be too many tears shed tonight during the last Nashville Sounds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) game at Greer Stadium.
Greer Stadium opened in 1978 as the home of the Sounds, and along the way hosted Class AA Southern League baseball as well. (Mark McCarter tells of those days in his book, Never a Bad Game: Fifty Years of the Southern League.) It was never regarded as a great ballpark, and over the years its shortcomings were increasingly apparent. It took over a decade and two sets of owners to get a new ballpark but it did get done, and fittingly the new First Tennessee Park will be located at the old Sulphur Dell ballpark site. Great story, great meeting of the new with the old.
Still, Greer Stadium succeeded on one level: it was the gathering place for many in the city’s leading industry, country music. There were country stars among Sounds owners (Jerry Reed, the Oak Ridge Boys), and you never knew who would show up in the ballpark’s grandstand. It’s no surprise the ballpark’s signature item was a giant scoreboard shaped like a guitar — a feature that will carry over into the new ballpark.
There probably will be a few sad souls tonight at Greer Stadium — Joe Biddle among them, counting his memories of the people who made Greer Stadium memorable, like the legendary Larry Schmittou — and we’re guessing the old place will receive a respectful goodbye.
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