Sulphur Dell

From BR Bullpen

Sulphur Dell in Nashville, TN, was the home of Nashville affiliated baseball from its inception until 1963. After that, the Nashville Volunteers of the South Atlantic League folded.

It also hosted Negro League baseball from no later than the 1920s and into at least the 1950s.

Built in the 19th Century and originally known as Athletic Park, Sulphur Dell was located close to the Cumberland River. Its name came from the nearby sulphur spring, and it earned the nickname "The Dump" because a nearby city dump's smells often permeated the park. Professional ball at The Dell dates to 1885 - justifying its "Baseball's Most Historic Park" sign. The playpen was renamed by famed sportswriter Grantland Rice in 1908. Various teams called "Volunteers" or "Vols" played there in the Southern Association for most of the 20th century. "The Greatest Game Ever Played in Dixie" - 1-0 over the New Orleans Pelicans before some 10,700 fans - gave them the 1908 league crown.

Its most unique characteristic was its distinct, hilly outfield. Right field was considerably sloped with a 10-foot-wide shelf 224 feet from home plate, creating a reference to right fielders as "mountain goats". If the right fielder stood at the base of the fence he was standing 22 1/2' above the playing surface.

In 1969, Nashville demolished what was then the oldest stadium that had ever housed a pro baseball club. After the sport's nearly four-decade detour to Greer Stadium, 1978-2014, the city built First Tennessee Park (now First Horizon Park) on the same then-blighted site in 2015. A marker off right field shows Sulphur Dell's home plate location and attitude.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Bill Traughber: Nashville Baseball History: From Sulphur Dell to the Sounds, Summer Game Books, South Orange, NJ, 2017. ISBN 978-1-938545-83-2

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