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Tennessee Smokies
Founded in 2000
Knoxville, Tennessee
TennesseeSmokies.PNG
Team Logo
TennesseeSmokiesCap.png
Cap Insignia
Class-level
  • Double-A
Minor league affiliations
Major league affiliations
Name
  • Tennessee Smokies
Ballpark
Minor league titles
League titles
Division titles 2004
Owner(s)/Operated by: SPBC, LLC
Manager: Bill Dancy
General Manager: Brian Cox

The Tennessee Smokies are a Minor League Baseball team based in the Knoxville, Tennessee metropolitan area. The team, which plays in the Southern League, is the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball as of the 2009 season. Smokies Park, the team's ballpark, is located near Sevierville, Tennessee in the town of Kodak, opened in 2000, and seats 6,412 fans.

The team's nickname, "Smokies", refers to the Great Smoky Mountains mountain range which permeates the region; mountains in the chain are often clouded in a hazy mist that often appears as smoke rising from the forest.

Prior to 2005, the Smokies were the Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals and before that the Toronto Blue Jays. However, when the Cardinals purchased the El Paso Diablos, which had been the Arizona Diamondbacks' AA affiliate, the Diamondbacks retained the Smokies as their new AA affiliate. On September 21, 2006, the Chicago Cubs reached a two-year player development contract with the Smokies through the 2008 season. The contract was renewed for the 2009 season.

Some notable major league baseball players that have played for the Smokies are Roy Halladay, Carlos Delgado, Shawn Green, and Felipe López.

The team was based in Knoxville, Tennessee and called the Knoxville Smokies for many years before moving and changing its name in 2000.

Contents

History

Knoxville's first organized baseball franchise, the Appalachians, played in the original South Atlantic League (Class C) in 1909. The club dropped out of the "Sally League" that season, but - after Knoxville fielded teams in the Class D Southeastern and Appalachian leagues - returned to the South Atlantic loop, now Class B, as the Smokies from 1925-29. On July 22, 1931, the Mobile Bears franchise of the A1 Southern Association moved to Knoxville and played as the Smokies through July 5, 1944 when the club returned to Mobile. The transfer marked the end of Knoxville's membership in the Southern Association.

In 1946, the Smokies joined the Class B Tri-State League and played in it until the loop folded in 1955. But in July 1956, when the Montgomery Rebels of the Class A South Atlantic League needed a new home, they transferred to Knoxville. The Smokies' manager that season: eventual Hall of Famer Earl Weaver.

The Smokies continued in the Sally League through 1963, when it was reclassified Class AA, and were charter members of the Sally's successor, the Southern League, in 1964. Apart from a four-year (1968-71) hiatus, they have continued in the Southern loop ever since.

Knoxville returned in 1972 as the Knoxville White Sox or Knox Sox, the Chicago White Sox's AA club. They transferred their affiliation to the Toronto Blue Jays in 1980, a link that lasted until 1999. From 1980 though 1992, the team was officially known as the Knoxville Blue Jays, or locally referred to as simply the K-Jays. The Smokies moniker was reintroduced beginning in the 1993 season.

From 1955 to 1999, Knoxville baseball teams played in Bill Meyer Stadium, formerly known as Knoxville Municipal Stadium. The stadium was named for Knoxville native son and former Pittsburgh Pirates manager Billy Meyer.

Smokies Park experienced its largest crowd ever of 7,655 on July 3, 2009 against the Huntsville Stars. The Smokies won an intense game 5-3 which included Hall of Fame manager Ryne Sandberg being ejected. The previous attendance record was May 24, 2008 when John Smoltz, then of the Atlanta Braves, made a rehab appearance with their Double-A affiliate Mississippi Braves. News of his appearance drew a crowd of 7,381 to the ballparkas the Smokies won 3-2.[1]

In December 2008 Ryne Sandberg, Baseball Hall Of Fame former Chicago Cubs All-Star second baseman, was named the manager for the 2009 season. Sandberg led the Smokies to a second half Southern League North Division crown and a 3-1 divisional playoff series win over the Huntsville Stars. The Smokies would eventually fall 3-games-to-1 to the Jacksonville Suns for the 2009 Southern League Championship.

Media

The current voice of the Smokies is Mick Gilsippe. The postgame show is hosted by east Tennessee media personality Roger Hoover.

Notable alumni

Year-by-year record

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
2000 71-69 4th Rocket Wheeler
2001 80-60 2nd Rocket Wheeler
2002 69-71 6th Rocket Wheeler
2003 72-67 4th Mark DeJohn Lost in 1st round
2004 69-71 6th Mark DeJohn Co-Champs*
2005 64-76 7th Tony Perezchica
2006 70-69 5th Bill Plummer
2007 73-65 2nd Pat Listach Lost in Semi-Finals
2008 62-77 5th Buddy Bailey

* Due to Hurricane Ivan the finals series was cancelled. Tennessee and Mobile were declared co-champions.

Current roster

Tennessee Smokies roster
Players Coaches/Other
Pitchers
Catchers

Infielders

  •  6 Nate Samson
  • 32 Blake Lalli
  • 37 Russ Canzler
  • 15 Jonathan Mota
  •  9 Marquez Smith
  •  3 Tony Thomas

Outfielders

  • 33 Brandon Guyer
  • -- Matthew Spencer
  • 25 Ty Wright
Manager

Coaches

† Disabled list
* On Chicago Cubs 40-man roster
∞ Reserve list
§ Suspended list
‡ Restricted list
# Rehab assignment
Roster updated December 17, 2009
Transactions

References

  1. ^ Tennessee Smokies

External links

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