Founded in 1978
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||Pacific Coast League (1998-present)|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Texas Rangers (2019-present)|
|Minor league titles|
|Nickname||Nashville Sounds (1978-present)|
|Colors||Navy, red, white|
|Ballpark||First Horizon Park (2015-present)|
|Herschel Greer Stadium (1978-2014)|
|MFP Baseball / Nashville Sounds Baseball Club|
|General Manager||Adam Nuse|
|Media||MiLB.TV and WNRQ-HD2 97.5 FM|
The Nashville Sounds are a Minor League Baseball team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. They are located in Nashville, Tennessee, and are named for the city's association with the music industry. The team plays its home games at First Horizon Park, which opened in 2015 and is located on the site of the historic Sulphur Dell ballpark. The Sounds previously played at Herschel Greer Stadium from its opening in 1978 until the end of the 2014 season.
Established as an expansion team of the Double-A Southern League in 1978, the Sounds were replaced by a Triple-A American Association team in 1985. The Triple-A Sounds carried on the history of the Double-A team that preceded it. Nashville later joined the PCL in 1998. The team has served as a farm club for eight major league franchises. A total of 29 managers have led the club and its over 1,300 players. Through the 2019 season, the team has played in 6,004 regular season games and compiled a win-loss record of 3,083-2,921.
The Sounds have reached the postseason on 14 occasions. They have won ten division titles, two conference titles, and three league championships. Most recently, they won the PCL championship in 2005 as the Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. Previous league titles won by the team are the Southern League championship in 1979 as the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, and again in 1982 as the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees. The team has an overall postseason record of 42-41.
Nashville led all of Minor League Baseball in attendance in their inaugural season and continued to draw the Southern League's largest crowds in each of their seven years as members of the league. The 1980 Sounds were recognized as one of the 100 greatest minor league teams of all time. Of the three nine-inning perfect games in the history of the PCL, two have been pitched by members of the Sounds. In 2016, Forbes listed the Sounds as the 19th-most valuable Minor League Baseball team with a value of US$30.5 million. The Sounds are the oldest active professional sports franchise in Nashville.
Nashville has hosted Minor League Baseball teams since the late 19th century. The city's professional baseball history dates back to 1884 with the formation of the Nashville Americans, who were charter members of the original Southern League from 1885 to 1886 and played their home games at Athletic Park, later renamed Sulphur Dell. This ballpark was the home of Nashville's minor league teams through 1963. In 1887, Nashville's Southern League team was called the Nashville Blues. The Nashville Tigers competed for the city in the same league from 1893 to 1894. In 1895, the Nashville Seraphs won the city's first professional championship in the Southern League. The Nashville Centennials played in the Central League in 1897 but relocated to Henderson, Kentucky, during the season before the league's collapse.
The city's longest-operating baseball team, first known as only the Nashville Baseball Club and later renamed the Nashville Vols (short for Volunteers), was formed in 1901 as a charter member of the Southern Association. They remained in the league through 1961, winning eight pennants, nine playoff championships, and four Dixie Series titles. The league disbanded after the 1961 season, and no team was fielded in 1962, but the Vols played one final season in the South Atlantic League in 1963. Sulphur Dell was demolished in 1969, and the city went without a professional baseball team for 14 years until 1978.
Larry Schmittou, head coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores baseball team from 1968 to 1978, was instrumental in bringing professional baseball back to Nashville. Along with help from country musician Conway Twitty, Schmittou put together a group of investors including other country artists Cal Smith and Jerry Reed, as well as other Nashvillians, to finance a stadium and a minor league team. The Metro Parks Board agreed to lease to Schmittou the site of Nashville's former softball fields on the grounds of Fort Negley, an American Civil War fortification approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) south of downtown, on which to build. The ballpark was originally estimated to cost between $300,000 and $500,000, but ended up costing $1.5 million. The facility was to be named Herschel Greer Stadium in posthumous honor of Herschel Lynn Greer, a prominent Nashville businessman and the first president of the Nashville Vols. Schmittou and general manager Farrell Owens landed the Cincinnati Reds as a major league affiliate after meeting with Sheldon "Chief" Bender, Cincinnati's farm director, at the 1976 Winter Meetings. The new team was then granted membership in the Southern League, a class Double-A league.
The team was called the Sounds in reference to the "Nashville sound," a subgenre of American country music that traces its roots to the area in the late-1950s. The team's wordmark and color scheme were lifted from the defunct Memphis Sounds of the American Basketball Association, who used them from 1974 to 1975. The color blue was added to Memphis' red and white palette. Nashville's original logo, which was used from 1978 into 1998, reflected the city's association with country music. It depicted a mustachioed baseball player, nicknamed "Slugger", swinging at a baseball with a guitar, a staple of country music, in place of a bat. Further illustrating the city's musical ties was the typeface, with letters that resembled musical notes and treble clefs, used to display the team name.
With a team in place and a stadium under construction, the Nashville Sounds were set to begin play in 1978 as an expansion team of the Southern League. As the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, the Sounds played their first game on April 15, 1978, against the Memphis Chicks at Memphis' Tim McCarver Stadium, which they lost, 4-2. They recorded their first win the next evening, defeating Memphis, 3-0. Their home opener was scheduled to take place on April 25, but was rained out and rescheduled for the next night. On April 26, the Sounds played their first home game, a 12-4 victory, against the Savannah Braves before a sellout crowd of 8,156 fans at Greer Stadium. Fourth-place finishes in both halves of the Southern League's split-season kept Nashville out of the playoffs.
The Sounds had more success at the turnstiles than on the field as they led all of Minor League Baseball in attendance by drawing 380,000 fans to Greer Stadium in their inaugural season. Nashville went on to lead the Southern League in attendance in each of their seven seasons as members of the league. Schmittou's business philosophy revolved around earning profits not from ticket sales, but from the sale of souvenirs and concessions. This philosophy also involved promoting family-friendly entertainment rather than baseball games. Through the mid 1980s, the Sounds offered nightly promotions and treated fans to a carnival-like atmosphere between innings. The franchise was recognized for its promotion efforts when it won the Larry MacPhail Award for outstanding minor league promotions in 1978, 1980, and 1981.
Manager George Scherger led the 1979 Sounds to a 48-27 second half record and the second half Western Division title, qualifying them for the postseason championship playoffs. After defeating first half winners Memphis, three games to one, to win the Western Division championship, they advanced to the league championship series against the Columbus Astros. Nashville won their first Southern League championship by defeating the Astros, three games to one.
Originally, the Reds allowed Nashville to use a designated hitter (DH) in their lineups. However, this allowance was later revoked, as the Reds were a part of the National League, which did not use a DH. Cincinnati did not budge on their decision to prohibit the DH, so the Sounds looked for a new affiliate after 1979. After two seasons at Double-A for the Reds, Nashville had a 147-138 win-loss record.
Schmittou had been encouraged by the New York Yankees organization to establish the Sounds as a Triple-A team, but he refused to go back on his previous agreement to partner with the Reds at Double-A. After the split with Cincinnati, the Sounds made their first affiliation switch in 1980, becoming the Double-A affiliate of the Yankees. This partnership was the most successful period in Sounds franchise history. They experienced five winning seasons in a row and won five consecutive second half Western Division titles, propelling them to the postseason each year.
Under manager Stump Merrill, the 1980 Sounds finished the season with a franchise-best 97-46 record. They won the second half of the season, qualifying them for the Western Division championship series, but lost to the Memphis Chicks, three games to one. The team set a league attendance record that year when a total of 575,676 fans visited Greer Stadium. The 1980 club was ranked as the sixty-ninth greatest minor league baseball team of all-time by baseball historians in 2001. The Sounds returned to the Western Division finals in 1981 by virtue of winning the second half, but fell again in the finals to the Orlando Twins, 3-1.
The 1982 Sounds, managed by Johnny Oates, finished with a 77-67 record and won the second half of the season, 45-29, setting them up to play the Knoxville Blue Jays in the division playoffs. After defeating the Blue Jays, 3-1, the Sounds advanced to the league championship series against the Jacksonville Suns. They defeated the Suns, 3-1, winning the franchise's second Southern League championship.
The Sounds qualified for the Western Division championship series in each of the next two seasons, but fell to the Birmingham Barons, 3-2, in 1983, and to Knoxville, 3-1, in 1984. One highlight of the 1984 season was Jim Deshaies pitching the club's first no-hitter against the Columbus Astros in the second game of a seven-inning doubleheader on May 4.Otis Nixon set the franchise career record in stolen bases (133) during the 1981 and 1982 seasons. Nashville accumulated a 417-306 record during their five-year affiliation with the Yankees. Their seven-year Southern League record stood at 564-444.
Sounds President Larry Schmittou noticed a decline in attendance and a decrease in local media coverage in 1983 and 1984. In an effort to boost interest in the team, Schmittou tried to purchase a Triple-A franchise late in the 1983 season, but each of the two teams he considered chose to continue in their markets for 1984. His desire to land a Triple-A team was part of a larger plan to put Nashville in a position to contend for a Major League Baseball franchise in the future.
Schmittou arrived at terms in July 1984 to purchase the Triple-A Evansville Triplets of the American Association for a reported sum of $780,000, with plans to move the franchise from Evansville, Indiana, to Nashville for the 1985 season. The Southern League wanted Schmittou to surrender his franchise to the league, but he had plans to relocate the team instead. He wanted to send Nashville's existing Southern League franchise to Evansville to continue as the Triplets at Double-A. However, a combination of the league's disapproval of the move and the City of Evansville being unwilling to upgrade their Bosse Field resulted in a move to Huntsville, Alabama, where the team became the Huntsville Stars. The Triple-A Sounds carried on the history of the Double-A team that preceded it. The Triplets' legacy was retired, and the Stars were established as an entirely new franchise.
The Sounds entered the Triple-A playing level in 1985 as an affiliate of the Detroit Tigers playing in the American Association. Their first Triple-A game was a 3-1 win against the Buffalo Bisons at Greer Stadium on April 11. Nashville completed their initial season with the Tigers at just one game over .500, but experienced a losing season in 1986, their first since the inaugural 1978 campaign. The Sounds ended their affiliation with Detroit after two years of poor attendance and a lackluster 1986 season. Over two years with the Tigers, they had a 139-144 record. Their all-time record stood at 703-588 after nine years of play.
The Sounds rejoined the Cincinnati Reds farm system in 1987, this time as their Triple-A affiliate, in a bid to increase attendance. Nashville experienced its most successful season with the Reds at Triple-A and as members of the American Association in 1990 when they compiled an 86-61 record under manager Pete Mackanin. Ending the regular season in a tie with the Buffalo Bisons, the Sounds won the Eastern Division championship in a one-game playoff. They advanced to their first American Association championship series, but ultimately lost to the Omaha Royals, three games to two. That year, Nashville set its all-time attendance record when a total of 605,122 fans came out to Greer Stadium.
Apart from the 1990 season, the Sounds finished too far back to qualify for the postseason in the other five years of affiliation with the Reds. Their final record after six years with the Reds at Triple-A was 429-433. Through 15 total years of competition, their all-time record stood at 1,132-1,021.
Several franchise records were set while serving as the Triple-A Reds. Skeeter Barnes, who had previously played with Nashville in 1979, set the career records for games played (514), at bats (1,848), and hits (517) during his second stint from 1988 to 1990. Pitcher Hugh Kemp started a career-record 73 games from 1987 to 1989.
Greer Stadium, once one of the best stadiums in Triple-A baseball in terms of player and fan amenities, began to be outshined by newer ballparks being built in the late 1980s. The Reds let their player development contract with the Sounds expire so they could place their Triple-A affiliate closer and in a city which was planning to build a new stadium.
At the recommendation of the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball and with few options available, the Sounds signed an affiliation agreement with the Chicago White Sox, who wanted to move their Triple-A farm club closer to home than their previous location in Vancouver. The major league then team presented a list of complaints about the relatively poor condition of Greer Stadium. Unable to convince mayor Phil Bredesen or the Metro Council to pay for a new stadium, and deciding against moving the team elsewhere in the Nashville area, Schmittou elected to make significant improvements to Greer. One of those was the addition of its signature guitar-shaped scoreboard, which was installed in 1993.
Greer Stadium was shared between the Sounds and the Southern League's Nashville Xpress, previously known as the Charlotte Knights, during the 1993 and 1994 seasons. This came about when Charlotte acquired a Triple-A expansion franchise in 1993, leaving the city's Double-A team without a home. Schmittou offered Greer as a temporary home ballpark for the team. To accommodate an additional club, the Xpress' home games were scheduled during the Sounds' road trips.
The Sounds reached the American Association playoffs in each of their first two years with the White Sox. The 1993 team, led by manager Rick Renick, clinched the Eastern Division title with an 81-62 record. In the league championship series, the Sounds lost to the Iowa Cubs, four games to three. The 1994 Sounds qualified for their second consecutive postseason with an 83-61 record under Renick. In the first round, Nashville swept the New Orleans Zephyrs in three straight games to advance to the league finals, but were defeated by the Indianapolis Indians, 3-1. The team failed to reach the postseason again during their remaining three years with Chicago. The five-year White Sox affiliation ended after the 1997 season with the Sounds having a 383-335 record with four winning seasons over that period. Their final American Association record stood at 951-912 after 13 years in the league, and their all-time 20-year record was 1,515-1,356.
The 1996 season marked the last that Schmittou was the team's president and part majority owner. With the city poised to welcome the Tennessee Titans National Football League franchise, Schmittou felt that revenue would be drawn away from the team. So, he and another investor sold their controlling financial interests in the Sounds to Chicago-based businessmen Al Gordon, Mike Murtaugh, and Mike Woleben.
The American Association, of which the Sounds had been members since 1985, disbanded after the 1997 season. Its teams were absorbed by the two remaining Triple-A leagues--the International League and Pacific Coast League (PCL). Nashville joined the PCL, making it the eastern-most team in the league. Also, for the first time since the team's foundation in 1978, the Sounds began to adopt a new color scheme, logos, and uniforms over the course of the 1998 and 1999 seasons. The original red, white, and blue colors were replaced by red, black, white, and silver. The new team logo, replacing the original "Slugger", consisted of a black, red, and white eighth note with a baseball at the top set against a circle of the same colors, plus silver, bearing the team name in white around the sides.
The Sounds entered the Pacific Coast League as the top farm club of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who sought to escape the chilly climate and lengthy travel associated with their previous affiliate in Calgary. The team regularly finished third or fourth in their four-team division, leaving them out of the playoffs. One of their three winning seasons occurred in 2003 when Trent Jewett managed the Sounds to an 81-62 record, clinching the American Conference Eastern Division title, giving them their first postseason berth in the PCL and first postseason appearance since 1994. Nashville met the Albuquerque Isotopes in the conference championship series, defeating the Isotopes, three games to one, but then lost the best-of-five league championship series in three straight games to the Sacramento River Cats. Also in 2003, right-hander John Wasdin pitched the first perfect game in Sounds history in his first start of the season against Albuquerque on April 7. The 4-0 Sounds win was only the second nine-inning perfect game in PCL history.
Several franchise records were set during the affiliation with Pittsburgh. Chad Hermansen, who played for the Sounds from 1998 to 2002, holds the career records for runs (303), home runs (92), and runs batted in (286).Tike Redman hit a career-record 30 triples during his time with the team (2000-2003 and 2009). Closer Mark Corey set the record for saves (46) during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. Seeking to place their Triple-A club at a newer, more desirable stadium and to escape the high travel costs associated with playing in the PCL, the Pirates ended their affiliation with the Sounds after the 2004 campaign. Over seven years are a Pirates affiliate, Nashville had a 490-504 record. Through 27 years of competition, the Sounds' all-time record stood at 2,005-1,860.
The Sounds became the Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2005. One factor in the Brewers' choice to partner with Nashville was the hope that the Sounds would soon get a new stadium to replace the then-27-year-old Greer. The team also debuted a new oval-shaped logo with a baseball player silhouetted against a yellow background hitting a ball toward the Nashville skyline with the city's name written above within a red border and the team nickname written in red and black script below. The affiliation started well as manager Frank Kremblas led the club to win the 2005 American Conference Northern Division title with a 75-69 record. The team went on to win the conference title against the Oklahoma RedHawks, three games to two, before sweeping the Tacoma Rainiers in three straight games to win the 2005 Pacific Coast League championship. This was Nashville's first league title since moving to Triple-A in 1985 and their first since the 1982 Southern League pennant.
On May 5-6, 2006, the Sounds participated in a 24-inning game against the New Orleans Zephyrs which was played over the course of two days and lasted a total of eight hours and seven minutes. This game matched the longest game, in terms of innings played, in PCL history. The Sounds finished the season with a 76-68 record under Kremblas, tied with the Iowa Cubs for first place, but won the division title and advanced to the postseason via tiebreaker by means of having won the regular season series versus Iowa. In the conference championship series, Nashville lost to the Round Rock Express, 3-2.
On June 25, 2007, Manny Parra pitched the club's second perfect game, only the third nine-inning perfect game in PCL history, against Round Rock. Kremblas led the team to capture the division title for the third year in a row and finish the season with a league-best 89-55 record. Ultimately, they were defeated by New Orleans, 3-1, in the conference series. The Sounds failed to win the division and qualify for the postseason during the next seven years of their Brewers affiliation despite narrow second-place finishes in 2009 and 2014. The 2013 team set the record low win-loss record with their 57-87 campaign.
The team had planned to leave Greer Stadium in the mid 2000s for a new ballpark to be called First Tennessee Field, but the project was abandoned when a financing plan could not be reached. After the 2008 season and this failure to secure a new ballpark, Al Gordon's Amerisports Companies LLC sold the Sounds to MFP Baseball, a New York-based group of investors consisting of Masahiro Honzawa, Steve Posner, and Frank Ward. Keeping the team in Nashville was one of the PCL's top criteria for approval of the sale. MFP made significant renovations to Greer while it continued to explore building a new downtown ballpark.
Prior to the 2014 season, the Sounds, Metro Nashville, and the State of Tennessee finalized a plan to build such a ballpark in time for the 2015 season. On August 27, 2014, the Sounds hosted the final game at Greer Stadium, an 8-5 loss to the Sacramento River Cats. The attendance at the game was a standing-room-only crowd of 11,067, the first sellout since 2010, and the largest crowd since 2007.
The Sounds severed ties with the Brewers after the 2014 season citing poor on-field performance from recent Brewers Triple-A teams. Over the 10-year affiliation with Milwaukee, the longest in Nashville's history, the Sounds put together a 723-713 record. Overall, the Sounds' 37-year record stood at 2,728-2,573.
Nashville affiliated with the Oakland Athletics in 2015 due in part to the organization's commitment to fielding competitive teams at the Triple-A level, an area in which co-owner Frank Ward felt Milwaukee lacked. The Sounds also adopted a new set of logos and uniforms before the season. Originally, they planned to embrace a new color scheme that included Broadway Burnt Orange, Sunburst Tan, Neon Orange, and Cash Black. However, the team returned to the previous red and black color scheme, with the addition of platinum silver as an accent color, following mixed feedback from fans. The new logos incorporated elements that reflected Nashville's "Music City" moniker, such as guitars, picks, and sound holes, as well as neon signs such as those in the city's Broadway entertainment district.
The start of the 2015 season marked the first time that the Sounds played at the new downtown First Horizon Park, then known as First Tennessee Park, which is located at the former site of the historic Sulphur Dell ballpark. They defeated the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, 3-2 in 10 innings, with a walk-off RBI double in the inaugural home opener in front of an announced paid attendance of 10,459.
In Nashville's second season as an A's affiliate, they reached the postseason for the first time since 2007 with a league-best 83-59 record and the 2016 American Conference Southern Division title, but were unable to advance past the conference series against the Oklahoma City Dodgers, a series they lost, three games to two.Joey Wendle hit a franchise career-record 102 doubles from 2015 to 2017. The Sounds finished the 2018 season in second place with a 72-68 record. Nashville declined to renew their contract with the Athletics, which was due to expire at the end of the season, choosing instead to seek a new major league affiliate. Through four seasons of competition as the top farm club of the A's, the Sounds had a 289-276 record, their best record among all affiliations.
Nashville became the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers in 2019 in a player development contract that runs through 2022. The Sounds sought out the Rangers after identifying them as one of the most popular MLB teams among local baseball fans and for their geographical proximity. Also for 2019, just four years after their previous rebranding, the team debuted new colors, logos, and uniforms which pull together elements from their original visual identity, the Nashville Vols who preceded them, and the musical imagery present through their franchise history. The new colors, navy blue, red, and white, are modernized versions of the team's first colors. The primary logo is a pair of concentric red rings with the team name in navy between the two divided horizontally at its center by twin red and blue stripes; a navy "N" resembling the F-hole of a guitar or violin is in the inner ring, which is styled like a baseball. The Sounds also began participation in Copa de la Diversión ("Fun Cup"), an initiative by Minor League Baseball to connect teams with their local Hispanic communities, in which they adopt a culturally-relevant on-field persona for certain games. For Copa games, the Sounds play as the Vihuelas de Nashville. The vihuela, a high-pitched Mexican guitar popular with Mariachi groups, was chosen so as to reflect the city's musical ties.
The Sounds hosted the Rangers at First Tennessee Park for an exhibition game on March 24, 2019. Managed by former Sound Chris Woodward, the Texas squad included players Delino DeShields Jr., Nomar Mazara, Hunter Pence, Ronald Guzmán, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Logan Forsythe, Shawn Kelley, and José Leclerc. In a close game, the Sounds defeated the Rangers, 4-3. Nashville first baseman Preston Beck scored the winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning with a two-run homer. The game was attended by a ballpark-record 11,824 fans. Nashville ended the season in third place with a 66-72 record under manager and former Sounds third baseman Jason Wood. Veteran sidearm pitcher Tim Dillard, previously with the Sounds from 2007 to 2014, returned to the club in 2019. In his second stretch, he set the franchise career records for games pitched (242) and strikeouts (437) while adding to his existing marks for wins (48) and innings pitched (710). The 2020 Sounds will be managed by Darwin Barney.
|Season||Regular season||Postseason||MLB affiliate|
|Record||Win %||League||Division||GB||Record||Win %||Result|
|2016||83-59||.585||1st||1st||--||2-3||.400||Won American Conference Southern Division title|
Lost American Conference title vs. Oklahoma City Dodgers, 3-2
|Totals||355-348||.505||--||--||--||2-3||.400||1 Division title||--|
Nashville's chief rivals have been those based in Memphis, Tennessee. Located approximately 200 miles (320 km) to the southwest and connected to Nashville by Interstate 40, Memphis has fielded several teams which have competed in the same leagues as Nashville's teams since the late 19th century. The Sounds entered the rivalry when they and the Memphis Chicks joined the Southern League in 1978 as members of its Western Division. For three consecutive seasons, from 1979 to 1981, the teams met in the Western Division finals to vie for a spot in the league championship series.
The intrastate rivalry was interrupted when Nashville moved to the American Association in 1985, but was renewed when the Sounds and Memphis Redbirds joined the Pacific Coast League in 1998. The teams have been division rivals ever since. In 2009, Memphis clinched the division title, finishing the season just two games ahead of Nashville. Similarly, Nashville finished the 2014 season two-and-a-half games behind Memphis. In 2016, the Sounds clinched the division title with a win in Memphis. Roles were reversed in 2017 and 2018 as the Redbirds won the division by defeating Nashville at First Tennessee Park.
As of the completion of the 2019 series, Memphis leads the all-time series against Nashville with a record of 927-902. This record encompasses all 94 years of competition in the original Southern League, Southern Association, Southern League, and Pacific Coast League. Nashville, however, leads the 22-year PCL series with a record of 186-163.
The Sounds originally played at Herschel Greer Stadium from 1978 through 2014. The ballpark, which was demolished in 2019, was located on the grounds of Fort Negley, an American Civil War fortification approximately two miles (3.2 km) south of downtown Nashville. The venue experienced numerous expansions and contractions after its completion in 1978, reaching a capacity of 18,000 spectators at its peak, but seated 10,300 during its final 2014 season. The largest attendance occurred on August 18, 1982, when 22,315 people saw the Sounds take on the Columbus Astros, many of them standing in roped-off areas in the outfield. Greer's best-known feature, installed in 1993, was the giant 115.6 foot (35.2 m) guitar-shaped scoreboard behind the left field wall.
Following the construction of newer, relatively luxurious minor league ballparks in the 1990s, Greer Stadium had fallen below the standards set for Triple-A stadiums by professional baseball. At the time, team president Larry Schmittou tried to convince the city to approve a new ballpark, but was unsuccessful. Throughout the 2000s, the team continued in its attempts to gather approval and financing for a new ballpark to replace Greer. At one point, First Tennessee Field was planned for construction on the west bank of the Cumberland River in downtown. Disagreements over who would pay for the ballpark repeatedly pushed back opening day at the stadium, and eventually resulted in the cancellation of the project altogether. In the meantime, numerous upgrades and repairs, including over $2.5 million worth of improvements from 2008 to 2009, were made in order to preserve its functionality until a new stadium could be built. A deal for such a new ballpark was achieved in late 2013. The Sounds played their final game at Greer on August 27, 2014.
The Sounds' current home ballpark is First Horizon Park, which opened on April 17, 2015. The facility was known as First Tennessee Park through 2019. It is located in downtown Nashville at the location of the former Sulphur Dell ballpark. The $91 million stadium has a fixed seating capacity of 8,500 people, but can accommodate up to 10,000 with additional grass berm seating. The ballpark's attendance record was set on March 24, 2019, when 11,824 people watched the Sounds play against the Texas Rangers in a Spring Training exhibition game. The stadium features wide concourses with direct views of the playing field. Its design, which incorporates the use of musical and baseball imagery, is meant to connect the park with the city's baseball and musical heritage. This is accomplished through the use of directional signage displaying information on Nashville's former teams and players and the grandstand's light stanchions reminiscent of those found at Sulphur Dell.
One of First Horizon Park's most recognizable features, like Greer Stadium before it, is a 142 by 55 foot (43 by 17 m) guitar-shaped scoreboard beyond the right-center field wall. Unlike Greer's guitar, which was only able to display basic in-game information such as the line score, count, and brief player statistics, the new, larger version is also capable of displaying colorful graphics, animations, player photographs, videos, the batting order, fielding positions, and expanded statistics. Other distinguishing features at the ballpark include The Band Box, an outdoor restaurant and bar which serves variations on traditional ballpark foods, and The Country Club at The Band Box, a 9-hole miniature golf course which exhibits art from different local and regional artists.
In 2016, the Sounds added the Country Legends Race, similar to major league mascot races, such as the Sausage Race and Presidents Race, to the between-innings entertainment at the park. In the middle of the fifth inning, people in oversized foam caricature costumes depicting country musicians Johnny Cash, George Jones, Reba McEntire, and Dolly Parton race around the warning track from center field, through the visiting bullpen, and to the home plate side of the first base dugout.
The Sounds have utilized three distinct color schemes, five primary logos, and numerous uniforms since beginning play in 1978. Their original red, white, and blue identity reflected Nashville's country music culture, while the switch to red, black, and white in the late 1990s sought to modernize the team. A 2015 rebrand reincorporated elements of the city's musical and baseball heritage which had been largely absent in previous years. The team reworked its identity in 2019, further integrating the city's baseball and musical heritage with the Sounds of the present.
As of the 2019 season, home jerseys are white with "NASH" boldly arched across the chest in navy blue with the player's number in red under the name on the left side. The sleeves have thin navy and red bands at the openings with six thin red stripes, reminiscent of guitar strings, running from the openings up the shoulders before terminating near the collar. The left side bears a navy "NASH" pick logo set against the strings. The player's name is displayed on the back in navy with the number in red below. The home pants are white with a pair of navy and red stripes running down the outsides and are worn with navy belts. The home cap is all navy with a red "N" icon, styled like a guitar or violin's F-hole, outlined in white.
Road grays have lines of red piping around the neck and along the row of buttons going up the chest with a red and white "N" icon on the left side and the player's number in the same colors on the right. Each sleeve has a thin red band at the opening with a secondary logo displaying the Sounds script wordmark in navy set against a red baseball on the left sleeve. The player's number is displayed on the back in red with a white border. Gray pants, worn with navy belts, have the same navy/red stripes as the home pants. The road cap has a red bill but is otherwise identical to the home cap.
A navy blue alternate has "Nashville" written across the chest in an F-hole-styled red font with a white outline. The sleeve markings are similar to those of home jerseys, only the thin lines at the openings are red and white, and the guitar strings behind the "NASH" pick are white. The player's number is displayed on the back in red with a white border. These are worn with either white or gray pants paired with a navy belt. The alternate cap is navy with a white front panel, red bill, and a red "N" icon outlined in navy.
A red alternate jersey is a v-neck pullover with "Sounds" on the chest in navy bordered by white in a script which fuses the team's F-hole lettering with their original 1978 wordmark. The player's number is below the team name in navy outlined in white. The sleeves bear similar markings to the home and blue alternate of navy and white bands at the openings and white strings behind the "NASH" pick logo. A larger navy stripe and smaller white stripe go around the neck opening. The player's number is displayed on the back in navy with a white border. Pants are worn with a navy belt. The cap is all navy except for a white front panel bearing three navy stars arranged like the state's flag on a white home plate outlined in red.
A third set of alternate uniforms honoring the 1978 Sounds are worn for Thursday home games in conjunction with Throwback Thursday promotions. The jerseys, similar to those worn by early Sounds teams, are white pullover v-necks with bands of red, white, and blue around the neck, with larger bands at the sleeve openings. "Sounds" is written across the chest in red-on-blue music note-like script, with the player's number below on the left in blue block characters with red borders. The right sleeve bears the round "Slugger" patch. High white pants are worn with blue belts and blue stirrups. The cap is blue with a red brim, displaying an "N" styled like an eighth note in white bordered by red.
From 1978 to 1986, the team wore pullover v-neck jerseys made of white fabric, for home games, gray, for road games, and red, blue and power blue, for use as alternates. These had red, white, and blue tri-color bands around the neck, with larger bands at the sleeve openings (the blue jerseys had one white band and two red bands). "Sounds" was written across the chest in red-on-blue music note-like script (the power blue jerseys had red-on-white script). Numbers were sewn on the back. Some jerseys during this period bore a Slugger patch on the right sleeve. The team's pants were white and also had small tri-color stripes down the legs and larger stripes around the waistband. Similar gray pants were worn for road games. Beginning in 1984, numbers were also located on the front of jerseys below the team name on the player's left in blue block characters with a red outline. The team cap was blue with a red brim bearing an white "N" styled like a music note bordered by red; this was the official team cap from 1978 through the mid-1990s. These first uniforms were modeled after those worn at the time by the Texas Rangers.
From 1987 to 1998, the team wore white button-up jerseys, for home games, and gray, for road games. The home jersey design remained largely similar to its predecessor. "Sounds" was still written across the chest in blue and red music note script; though, the font was changed briefly from 1987 to 1988. Numbers remained on the front in blue-on-red block characters. The player's number, as well as name in some years, was present on the back in red and blue. Road grays had "Nashville" on the chest but were missing the tri-color bands at both the neck and sleeves. During this time, the team also added a blue mesh v-neck jersey with the red and white guitar swinger logo on the left chest. The wide tri-color stripes were dropped from the pants and were replaced by a blue belt. The Sounds continued to wear the original red-billed blue cap with all uniforms until approximately 1993 when a new cap was introduced. This all-blue cap interposed the "N" with the "Slugger" logo. The two caps were worn interchangeably through 1998.
Over the course of the 1998 and 1999 seasons, the team switched to a red and black color scheme. In the latter, uniforms consisted of black-pinstriped jerseys with black sleeves bearing a new music note logo on the left sleeve. White home jerseys had "Sounds" across the chest in red with a white-on-black border using the same font used by the Anaheim Angels at the time. Road grays read "Nashville" on the chest in the same style. Both had the player's number sewn on the back in block characters of the same colors. An alternate solid red jersey with black and gray trim around the sleeve openings and a music note logo on the left chest was also worn. Another alternate, made of black material, had red and white trim at the sleeve openings and a similar music note logo on the left chest. All four were paired with pinstriped pants. Caps were black with the circular music note logo.
From 2003 to 2005, the Sounds switched to solid jerseys and pants. The fronts had "Sounds" was written across the chest in red script surrounded by black with the player's number on the front below the team name in red-on-black block characters. Lines of red and black piping were present around sleeve openings, around the neck, and along the row of buttons going up the chest. The left sleeve bore the music note logo. Pants had the same piping going down the legs on the outside and were paired with black belts. The road uniform set, though made of gray material, was otherwise identical. A sleeveless red alternate jersey with black piping and similar white-on-black markings was worn in this period. They also continued use of the previous generation's black alternate.
From 2006 to 2012, the team's jerseys were similar, but lacked sleeves and the player's number on the front. These vest-like jerseys were worn over black T-shirts of varying sleeve lengths. The player's name was written on the back in black block characters; numbers were also displayed in large red-on-black characters. The matching road jerseys initially bared "Sounds" across the chest, but were later changed to "Nashville"; these usually lacked the player's name on the back. A Milwaukee Brewers logo was added to the front left shoulder in 2007. A red mesh jersey with yellow, white, and black markings was worn from 2006 to 2007. A new red alternate was introduced in 2010. These were similar to the primary home and road mesh jerseys the team would adopt in 2013, but were red with black underarm sections and piping. "Sounds" was displayed across the chest in white-on-black script. A Brewers logo was located on the left, front chest, and the back numbers were white-on-black. The official home and road caps worn from 2003 to 2014 were black with a red and white music note logo.
From 2013 to 2014, jerseys were made of mesh material with black sections at the armpits and a single line of black piping going down the sleeves and across the shoulders to the neck. A Brewers logo was sewn on the left sleeve. "Sounds" was written across the chest of home jerseys in the same red/black script used since 2003. The player's name was displayed on the back in black block characters; numbers were also shown in large red-on-black digits. Road jerseys were the same, but with "Nashville" across the chest, red underarm sections and piping, and no name on the back. The team continued to wear the previous red alternate of the same style. All were paired with the black cap bearing the red/white music note logo.
From 2015 to 2018, home whites had single lines of red piping around the sleeve openings and up the front going around the neck. "Sounds" was displayed on the chest in red letters which resembled the sound holes on a guitar with a silver-on-black border. A new swinging guitar logo was located on the left sleeve, while a green Oakland Athletics elephant logo was on the right. The player's last name was sewn on the back in black block characters, and his number displayed below in red sound-hole lettering with a silver border and black drop shadow. White pants with a single line of red piping going up the sides were worn with black belts. The home cap was solid black with the primary "N" guitar pick logo. Gray road uniforms were identical with only a few exceptions: they had "Nashville" on the chest, pants lacked pinstripes, and the cap bore an "S" guitar pick logo. An alternate black jersey with "Music City" on the front, no name on the reverse, and "Nashville" embroidered in red letters under the Athletics sleeve logo were usually paired with a cap with an "MC" guitar pick logo. A second set of alternates, introduced in 2016, were screen-printed red jerseys with black and white bands at the neck opening and bands of silver, black, and white around the sleeve openings. A guitar's fret and headstock extend upward from these bands on each sleeve. "Nashville" was printed across the chest in white sound-hole lettering bordered by silver and black. The player's number was located below the city's name and on the back in silver characters with a white border and black drop shadow. This jersey was often paired with a solid red cap bearing a spinning black vinyl record with white stars from the flag of Tennessee on the center red label set against a white and black silhouette of the state.
During the opening season of 1978, Sounds games were broadcast on radio by Monte Hale. Bob Jamison, the team's longest-tenured announcer, called games from 1979 through 1990. He was followed by Steve Carroll (1991-1995), Steve Selby (1996-1999),Chuck Valenches (2000-2009), and Stu Paul (2010-2011). Jeff Hem has been the team's lead broadcaster since 2012.
All Sounds home and road games are broadcast on WNRQ-HD2 97.5 FM. Live audio broadcasts are also available online through the team's website and the MiLB First Pitch, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn radio apps. Games can be viewed through the MiLB.TV subscription feature of the official website of Minor League Baseball, with audio provided by a radio simulcast.
The Nashville Sounds' mascot is an anthropomorphic rooster named Booster. He is bright red with yellow legs, beak, comb, and palms and red, orange, and yellow tail feathers resembling flames. He wears the same style jerseys as the team with the number zero on the back. He made his debut on April 17, 2015, at the Sounds' first game at First Tennessee Park. His name refers to "boosting" or building enthusiasm for the team, while his appearance is a play on Nashville hot chicken.
The first Sounds mascot was introduced during the team's inaugural 1978 season. Homer Horsehide resembled their major league affiliate's mascot--Mr. Red of the Cincinnati Reds. The character was human in appearance, with the exception of an oversized anthropomorphized baseball in place of a human head. The mustachioed mascot donned a uniform identical to that of Sounds players. Homer continued as the team mascot through at least 1982. From 1995 to mid 1996, a lime-green dinosaur named Champ, borrowed from the Vermont Expos, was the team's mascot.
An anthropomorphic cougar named Ozzie was the team's mascot from 1997 to 2014. The original Ozzie came from the Class A Kane County Cougars, which were owned by the same group that owned the Sounds and had an extra mascot costume. The surplus cougar outfit was sent to Nashville, and, after building a fan following during Ozzie's first season, team management decided to make him the permanent mascot. The original Ozzie costume was brown, but a new yellow costume was introduced in 1998. He wore the same style of uniform as the team, but with no hat. Ozzie was retired when the Sounds left Greer Stadium in 2014, although he continued to make appearances during the 2014 to 2015 offseason.
Fourteen players have won league awards in recognition for their performance with the Sounds. Three players have won league Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards. Steve Balboni (1980) and Brian Dayett (1982) won the Southern League MVP Award, and Magglio Ordóñez (1997) won the American Association MVP Award. Ten players have won Pitcher of the Year honors. Bruce Berenyi (1978), Geoff Combe (1979), Andy McGaffigan (1980), Jamie Werly (1981), and Stefan Wever (1982) were selected for the Southern League Most Outstanding Pitcher Award.Chris Hammond (1990) and Scott Ruffcorn (1994) won the American Association Most Valuable Pitcher Award.R.A. Dickey (2007), Johnny Hellweg (2013), and Jimmy Nelson (2014) were selected for the PCL Pitcher of the Year Award. The American Association Rookie of the Year Award was won by Jeff Abbott (1996) and Magglio Ordóñez (1997). Ordóñez is the only Sounds player to win multiple league awards.
Four managers have been selected as their league's Manager of the Year. Stump Merrill (1980) won the Southern League Manager of the Year Award,Rick Renick (1993 and 1996) won the American Association Manager of the Year Award, and Frank Kremblas (2007) and Steve Scarsone (2016) won the PCL Manager of the Year Award.
Seventy-six players have been selected for midseason All-Star teams. Of those players, Jamie Werly (1980 and 1981), Joey Vierra (1992 and 1995), Drew Denson (1993 and 1994), Scott Ruffcorn (1994 and 1996), and Vinny Rottino (2007 and 2008) are the only players to have been selected twice as Sounds. Four players have been chosen as the MVP of midseason All-Star games: Duane Walker (1979),Ray Durham (1994), Magglio Ordóñez (1997), and Renato Núñez (2017). Of the 51 players who have been named to postseason All-Star teams, only Duane Walker (1979 in two positions) and Jeff Abbott (1996 and 1997) have been selected twice.
Nashville has honored two of its players by retiring their uniform numbers. This ensures that the number will be associated with one player of particular importance to the team. Nashville displays its retired numbers on the upper deck concourse at First Horizon Park.
|Skeeter Barnes||Don Mattingly||Jackie Robinson|
|OF / 3B / 1B
|1B / OF
Retired August 12, 1999
on April 15, 1997
Four former members of the Sounds have been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Closer Trevor Hoffman, who was inducted in 2018, played the majority of the 1992 season with Nashville while working his way up through the Cincinnati Reds organization. Hoffman appeared in 42 games, working out of the bullpen on 37 occasions, and achieved a record with a 4.27 earned run average (ERA) and 63 strikeouts over innings of work. He later made two major league rehabilitation appearances while with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2009. Two other Hall of Fame players appeared in games for Nashville solely on rehab assignments. Shortstop Barry Larkin, who was inducted in 2012, appeared in two games in 1989. Outfielder Tim Raines, who played three games with Nashville in 1993, was inducted in 2017.Hoyt Wilhelm, the Sounds' pitching coach from 1982 to 1984, was inducted in 1985. Under his three years' guidance, the team's pitching staff amassed a 239-198 record with a 3.73 ERA and 2,357 strikeouts.
Over the course of 42 seasons, the Nashville Sounds have been led by 29 managers. Three managers have guided the team to win their league's championship. George Scherger (1979) and Johnny Oates (1982) led the team to win the Southern League championship. Frank Kremblas (2005) led them to win the Pacific Coast League championship. Trent Jewett is the longest-tenured manager in team history, having managed the team for 625 games from 1998 to 2000 and 2003 to 2004. The manager with the highest winning percentage over a full season or more is Stump Merrill, who led the Sounds to a .622 winning percentage from 1980 to 1981.
|Games||Wins||Losses||Win %||Appearances||Wins||Losses||Win %|