Old Sulphur Dell, I knew it well.
There was this most distinctive smell
of livestock and cinder and cigarette smoke,
hot dogs and hamburgers, popcorn and cokes.
It always seemed to be a magical place,
the excitement was evident in everyone's face.
People came from far and near
to support the Vols year after year.
The trip to Nashville was quite an event,
but each mile driven was worth every cent.
in 1969 it came to a sad and teary end,
and Nashville had lost a very dear friend.
-Pete Mason, Nashville, TN
"I remember...my wife's dad worked shifts at DuPont and had to work the 4-12
shift seven days out of every 28. When he was working 4-12, she would listen to
Larry Munson on the radio and write a detailed description of the game. She of
course went to bed before her Dad arrived home sometime after midnight. He
always looked forward to these notes and he would go to bed knowing all about
the night's game. When he was not working at night they would listen to the
I am a fortunate man. My wife loves sports and we have watched many ball games
together over the many years."
"I remember...many things about going to the Dell, some of which include: the
smell of the hot dogs, the free passes in packs of Elm Hill hot dogs (if you
didn’t get to the game early on those nights you got to sit in a roped off area
in left field—which I got to do once and a man spilled his beer on the back of
my shirt), the Knot-Hole Nights when the junior knot hole players got in free,
watching Jim O’Toole and Jim Maloney mow down opposing batters, getting to play
there in 1964 when I was 15 years old for the Crieve Hall All Stars verses the
Hillsboro All Stars (it rained all day and I was so worried that we would not
get to play—thank goodness we got to play—it was only a 5 inning game and we
lost—I got our team’s only hit, a soft line drive to center field, and I got to
pitch 2 innings and play third base the rest of the time)."
And mainly going to the park with my dad, Irvin Wilson, who had a life-long love
affair with baseball.
-Jim Wilson, Goodlettsville, TN
"I remember...watching those great teams from the late '40s and early '50s when
I was in junior high and high school (Bailey and East).
I remember players like second baseman Buster Boguskie; shortstop Hal Quick;
catchers Smokey Burgess, Carl Sawatski, Rube Walker, and Roy Easterwood;
rightfielder Charley Workman; centerfielders Charley Gilbert and Carmen Mauro;
leftfielders Elwood "Footsie" Grantham and Johnny Krukman; pitchers Pete
Mallory, Ben Wade, Hal Jeffcoat and Bobo Holloman (but for the life of me I
can't remember who played 1st and 3rd during those times).
I remember Rube Walker putting one on the roof of the Atlantic Ice Co. building.
I remember leaving the All-Star game in '48 or '49 (I think) when the Vols were
down several runs, and later hearing them come back to win as I listened to the
I remember the PA system always playing "Three Blind Mice" as the umpires
entered the field to start the game.
I remember "Footsie" Grantham, who was for some reason unknown to me, playing
second base, getting spiked by Memphis Chick Mickey Cochran, which essentially
ended Grantham's career (Grantham's knee was so badly injured he had to carried
off the field.)
I remember my dad telling me about playing at the Dell a couple of times when he
pitched for Hume-Fogg in 1928 and 1929 (they were state champs in '28).
I look back very fondly on the many pleasant times at the Dell, and consider
myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience them!"
-Don Duke, Cadiz, KY
"I remember...my Grandmother (Bertha Holt) and uncles (Bill & Richard Holt) were
regular attendees of the games at Sulphur Dell. My Grandmother won the bed I
sleep in at a game in the 1950s from Davis Cabinet Co. It's a Lillian Russell
4-poster bed and my Mother (Margaret Bruckert) bought the dresser, night stand
and chest to go with it. We have added the newer pieces over the years and our
home is full of Davis Cabinet Co. furniture now. It all started with my
Grandmother winning the bed at a game at Sulphur Dell!"
-Linda Hulsey, Nashville, TN
"I remember...riding the Cedar Street-Joe Johnson bus from Union Street downtown
to the ball park with my father. We had to leave before night games ended to
catch the last bus back downtown.
Once shortstop Bobby Durnbaugh turned on an inside pitch and hit a woman sitting
behind third base...Bob Lennon had an exaggerated swing to hit pop flies over
the right field wall...George Schmees played the right field dump like no one
else...a 12-year-old Knothole-leaguer named Ronnie Baines took part in a
throwing contest from right field to home plate and with his golden arm, he
threw the ball over the pressbox and out of the park...and visitors being thrown
out at first base after hitting what they thought were singles off of the right
-Glenn H. Griffin, Pelham, AL
"I remember...my father, Hugh Poland, managed the Vols 1951-1953 and I had the
great pleasure of being bat boy for the home games. There are far, far, too many
memories of the "Dell" to put them all here but I do want to relate one story.
Dizzy Dean was announcing the minor league "game of the week" from the press
box. My dad had known Dizzy from when they were in spring training together in
the '30s. As the game progressed, the Vols were at bat and the batter hit a
"darter" right down the third base line where my dad was in the coaches box. The
ball hit the bag and then went foul. The plate umpire missed the call and said
it was a "foul ball". My dad came unglued and gave the ump such a verbal
chastising, he was sent to the showers. Dizzy sent for my dad to come to the
press box after he had dressed. While in the press box between innings, Dizzy
asked my dad on the air what the home plate ump would think if he saw my dad in
the press box with "Ole DIz". My dad said, "I don't think we have to worry about
that because the ump can't see that far". About ten minutes later the league
president sent a teletype to the press box telling my dad to get off the air and
-Bill Poland, Clarksville, TN
"I remember...I was the last play-by-play broadcaster in the Dell in 1963, when
I was a freshman at Vanderbilt. My radio gig lasted only a few weeks before the
sponsor canceled and the games were taken off the air. That was the Vols' only
year in the Sally League, the last year they played at the Dell.
Some nights it seemed like there were more players than fans in the park."
-Warren Corbett, Bethesda, MD
"I remember...seeing the final games played at Sulphur Dell, a doubleheader
sweep by the Vols over Lynchburg. In fact, I still have the scorecard from that
day although it is not in the best of shape. Charlie Teuscher hit 3 home runs
that day, including 2 in the nightcap and the game-winner in the 8th inning of
the 2-1 victory, the last game played by the Vols at the park. I believe there
were about 700-800 people there that day for the final games.
I have really enjoyed reading the comments on the website for Sulphur Dell
-Tim Weatherly, Nashville, TN
"I remember...prior to his move to Georgia, Larry Munson was the voice of the
Nashville Vols. My Dad and my older brother-in-law used to take me to games
there in the 50s and 60s.
My brother-in-law (John DuVal) was the PA announcer at Sulphur Dell for a while
and, as a young boy of about 10 years of age, I got to sit up in the press box
with him a few times. I always took a baseball glove with me. One night I had my
big chance as parts of the front of the booth were open. A foul ball was hit in
my area and I reached out and had the ball in my glove; and then I booted it,
dropped it. I remember the ball spinning and spinning in my glove and rolling
foward and then down the screen, back to the field. I was SO disappointed, but
that did not last long. Larry and his assistant invited me to sit with them in
the broadcast booth and he shared over the radio how some freckled-face kid had
dropped a foul ball that had been hit up to the booth. My Dad was listening to
the game on the radio and heard Larry's comments.
I was then given all the potato chips that I cared to eat. The chips company
(don't remember which brand) was a Nashville Vols sponsor. Also, soft drinks, in
a big metal tub, filled with ice, were free for those working in the press box.
So, all in all, the good memories of that night far outweigh my error of letting
the foul ball get away.
So that is my Munson claim to fame, that I got to sit in the radio booth with
Larry, long before he became a famous Dawg. According to my Dad, Larry was taken
off the air for a short time for using an "unacceptable" word to describe the
speed of a baseball player running the bases. The story went that Larry did not
realize he was back on the air. Something to the effect, "Did you see that SOB
run the bases?"
-George Deuel, Marietta, GA
"I remember...there was a ladder in the upper stands that led to the roof. My
friends and I were always tempted to scale that ladder in order to retrieve the
foul balls that collected up there. We were always stopped before we were half
way up the ladder by some attendant.there was a ladder in the upper stands that
led to the roof. My friends and I were always tempted to scale that ladder in
order to retrieve the foul balls that collected up there. We were always stopped
before we were half way up the ladder by some attendant.
I remember the perpetual smell of the nearby snuff factory. It was just a part
of the overall sensual experience along with the crackling cinders just outside
the stadium on the third base side. It was kind of a dreary looking place from
the outside, but when I entered the park, the sight of that green, green grass
would always take my breath away.
I was there at the last game played at the Dell. There is a picture that pops up
occasionally showing three boys high in the stands on the first base side. They
were my buddies and me, one of whom was Steve Jones (we called him Yogi). I
believe I paid something like ten dollars for a season ticket that last year."
-Bill King, Kingston Springs, TN
"I remember...my dad took me there from the time I was barely able to talk. I
remember our having many good times, and that time together gave us a bond that
I will not ever forget. Daddy used to say to folks that I was "his boy." I loved
sports, especially baseball, so much that if I could have pursued my career of
choice, I would have become a sports announcer.
I have the metal frames of some of the seats from Sulphur Dell at my house, and
just yesterday I told some fifth grade students about Sulphur Dell and my love
of baseball and sports in general.
Thanks again, Skip, for evoking two very pleasant memories for me: my time
teaching you and my time at Sulphur Dell with my dad."
-Jane Woodruff McIntyre, Nashville, TN
"I remember...I was stunned while on the Sulpher Dell site to go into history
and find that on September 7, 1925 my father (J. A. G. Sloan, Nashville Vols
president) was on the way to a game in Chattanooga, and wrecked in Tullahoma.
His niece was Evelyn Burnette and she was killed. This was 3 years before I was
born, but I am amazed that I didn't know about it.
Also, I believe my father sold his interest in the Vols in about 1931 to Fay
Murray. I remember meeting Mr. Murray, but I wonder now if there was kinship as
my father's grandmother was a Murray. I remember the secretary, Mr. Lillard; he
and my father would discuss the game after it was over. I had fun listening to
them in the latter 30's."
-Jim Sloan, Columbia, TN
"I remember...the wonderful times I had as a young boy going to Sulphur Dell
ballgames and trying to get a ball off the icehouse that was knocked over the
right field screen during practice, usually by Mickey Rocco. I never did!
One event in particular will always be one to remember. In 1940, one of the
attractions was to get all the kids out to the pitcher's mound after the game
and throw a ball in the air for them to scramble after. I got the ball one time
and umpire Paul Blanchard took me into the dugout and all the players signed it.
I can remember almost every player on that team.
As a kid will do, I played pitch with it and damaged some of the names; however,
most are still legible today. About two years ago I had seen on television that
police labs could cause these autographs to become more legible, so I decided to
call a friend at the TBI; hopefully he could have their laboratory fix it. It
seems that it can only be accomplished on television!"
-Jimmy Howell, Nashville, TN
"I remember...growing up just a few blocks from Sulphur Dell. Both of my parents
worked at the old Werthen Bag Co. on 8th Avenue. My dad was a great fan of the
Vols, so we made most of the games!"
-Louie Kerr, Nashville, TN
"I remember...going to many games at the 'Dell' when I was a child. As a
teenager, I went to many Shrine Circuses which were held there. My father was a
Shriner and the circus acts were spectacular there. Since it was outside, there
were acrobats doing wonderful acts on poles that were 50- to 60-feet high and
swaying from one side to another."
The indoor circus couldn't hold a candle to the ones held at Sulphur Dell. I
wonder how many people my age remember those days---I'm 74!"
-Joyce M. Faye, Nashville, TN
"I remember...working at DuPont and riding the bus over to watch the Gilberts,
Boguskie, Maloney, Sawatski, and many others. I remember watching this great
third baseman with the Atlanta Crackers; I remarked to my cousin that I thought
he will be a great one and it all came true.
It was the great Eddie Matthews!"
-Harry Ferguson, Hermitage, TN
"I remember...John Mullane, a police officer in Nashville who years ago worked
at Sulphur Dell and you would always see John out there, as he was a very
statuesque officer and a very kind, understanding, loyal fan!"
-Russell Breechen, Nashville, TN
"I remember...the 'Dell' in the early 50's with an overflow crowd in right
field, watching Little Bo at second base and a great pitcher and athlete named
Jack Harshman on the mound. If Harshman was not on the mound a lot of times he
would be playing first base. He was such a great power hitter that when he was
in the lineup he would bat cleanup. He was called up to the majors but never
made it big there.
Another memory was a relief pitcher named Pete Modica that had the nickname 'The
Fireman'. The Tennessean did a article on him and had him dressed up in a
I retired from Tennessee State Government and parked many times in the lot where
the Dell was located. Often I would just stop and look around where the old ice
house was and the big gas tank and be sad that the Dell was now just a memory.
To read about the accomplishments of these great men was such a joy but it makes
me sad to think they are probably all gone!"
-Ishmael Wood, Lebanon, TN
"I remember...going to see the Vols one night in 1953 and I'll never forget it.
They played 2 games that night and won both. The right-fielder hit a home run.
We came back in 1956 and later I left one night when the Vols were behind and
Larry Munson was the broadcaster and they came back and won in the 9th!"
-W. C. Chilton, McMinnvile, TN
"I remember...the most memorable time I had at Sulphur Dell was probably 1958. A
few of my friends and myself went to hear Bo Diddley. I wonder if there was ever
as much fun and noise in that old park as there was that night!"
-Dillard Adams, Gallatin, TN
"I remember...the delightful carbonated drink, Pepsol, from the middle thirties.
My father used to take me to Sulphur Dell to the ball games and they sold Pepsol
there. It was a red-colored drink, carbonated and had a delightful pepsin flavor
(similar to cinnamon).
My father told me it was especially good for you as pepsin was a substance that
soothed the stomach. It was sold in groceries even up into the fifties, until it
disappeared. There was a story about it in the Tennessean a year or two ago. Too
bad; it was a great drink and had tremendous potential. Locally brewed and
bottled and just faded away.
It certainly had more to offer than some of the so-called refreshing drinks
offered today. Remember...my own theory: "Everything good gets discontinued"!"
-M. F. Schwartz, Jr., Hendersonville, TN
"I remember...that it was a great day for me when my Dad would take me to a
Sunday afternoon doubleheader at Sulphur Dell. We would always sit on the 3rd
base side because he claimed that was the best view. I still do that whenever I
go to a game. I was always excited about baseball and he knew what a treat that
was for me. He liked it too, being a former player in the Memphis sandlots.
I always took my Don Mueller glove purchased at Walter Nipper’s Nashville
Sporting Goods in hopes of that elusive foul ball. Can you still hear that Thonk!
on the roof as the foul balls came down?
I also remember watching the games on TV; the camera angle was behind home plate
and didn’t move much, but it was still like being there for me. Of course, there
was Larry Munson when the Vols went on the road; who knew he was “creating” the
game from the Third National Bank Building. When he said it was “a hot , muggy,
night in Mobile”, I thought he was there. When he would describe the long foul
ball hit by the likes of Jim Gentile, Emil Panko, Bob Montag, and Jesse Levan, I
just knew he was there, particularly with the 'peanuts' and 'popcorn' yells in
the background! Do you remember some other Vols like Eric Roden, George “
Shotgun” Shuba, Larry Dipipo, Larry Taylor, and Phil Shartzer?
I also went to the Knot Hole Nights decked out in my Elliston Place Pharmacy
uniform and had great times there. The real treat came later as noted by Marlin
Keel: I actually got to play there along with other Gilbert League players like
Marlin, Sam O’Neal, Jim & Mike Mondelli, Billy Lynch, Butch McGrath, Billy Dale,
Wayne Rankhorn, Jim Armistead, Pete Brown, Jim Minnick, and the consummate
coach, George Archie. It was easy to overlook that a rodeo had been there
earlier in the week and all was not yet cleaned up – it was still great! I
enjoyed reading the notes from Bob Teitlebaum and remember him, Jimmy Davy, and
George Leonard providing the excellent coverage of the Vols and sandlot baseball
Sulphur Dell was at the center of all Nashville baseball back then and I’m glad
I had the chance to see it firsthand!"
-Joe Benedict, Knoxville, TN
"I remember...how quirky the place was. That 'smell'; and I would have sworn
that some of that signage in right was tin, because it made a very loud "bam"
when someone hit a liner off of it. And those terraces: I remember Chico Alvarez
in left one night, catching a drive while flat on his back on that bank. My
memory of the 'Dell' is mainly about the Jay Hook-Jim O'Toole-Jim Maloney-Johnny
Edwards era, all of whom had fair-to-good major league careers.
I remember going there on "Safety Patrol Night" and being struck by the heckling
of Stan Palys of Birmingham and Sammy ?, the third baseman for Mobile. The Dell,
John R. on WLAC, and Fred Russell in the Banner are some of my best memories of
growing up in Nashville!"
-Tony Bosworth, Nashville, TN
"I remember...Rod Kanehl, who went from the Vols in '61 to the Mets in '62. We
were playing another Southern Association team and the catcher went out to the
mound to talk with the pitcher and Rod was on third base. When the catcher got
to the mound, Rod ran for home and scored. The catcher had failed to call time
-Fred Sadler, Goodlettsville, TN
"I remember...I was a fan of the Vols from June 1936 on (the first game I ever
saw was when First Baseman Jimmy Wasdell got his jaw broken by a pitched ball in
1936). We went to many a game on Saturday, riding the bus to the ball park and
getting in free because it was children's day, buying a Pepsol and scorecard. I
still have cinders in my knee from the time I slipped and fell in the "parking
lot". The first time I saw another ballpark (Memphis), I wondered why it had a
level right field!"
-Annette Levy Ratkin, Nashville, TN
"I remember...going to North High (I was born and raised in Nashville),
graduated in 1949. Not only did I play baseball for North High and with CMI for
Tom Page, I also played professionally for Natchez and Morristown.
To add to your historical facts, I operated the scoreboard at Sulphur Dell Park
for two years, around 1945 and 1946; Jimmy Gidcomb, my teammate at North High,
was the batboy!"
-Paul H. Boyte, Sacramento, CA
"I remember...the great times in the Dell! My Dad told me he went every time he
could afford it and I guess it terminated his attendance in 1930 when I was born
in the midst of the 'no-frills' depression. I'm 75 now but except for quite a
few player names I can vividly remember the good times and incidents at Sulphur
At about fifteen years of age my buddy James Benson and I worked Saturdays 7:00
AM to 9:00 PM in my father's store, Dunaway's Grocery in Murfreesboro, to earn
five dollars each. On some Sundays, we took our loot, bought round trip tickets
on Greyhound and headed for Nashville. First stop after the bus station was the
juice bar close to Church Street for fresh orange or pineapple juice, crushed
before our eyes, then on to the double-header. We remained for both games and
worked in a couple of hot dogs and popcorn with cokes.
Our favorite players over time were John Mihalic, Buster Boguskie, Les Fleming,
Tookie and Charlie Gilbert (along with their father/manager Larry Gilbert) and
Carl Sawatski; high on the list was Hal Jeffcoat. Speaking of Hal, in the
snapshot of him the website includes, I feel sure I am the the slim guy to the
left of the fellow in bib overalls in that picture. I recall some special
occasion where fans were allowed on the playing field between games and a good
many of us headed for the "Dump".
After the second game it was always in the script to stop at the Krystal for
hamburgers and cokes, then squeeze on the bus with the hoards of soldiers
heading back to Smyrna Army Air Base. What better day could a kid want?
One more thing which occurred, because so many athletes had been drafted into
the military, the Vols signed a one-armed outfielder. He could bat one-handed
fairly well, and was good in the outfield. He could field the ball on the run,
secure glove and ball under his opposite arm pit, shell the ball out of the
glove and make the play in one smooth motion. I'm not sure, but I think his name
-Bill Dunaway, Huntsville, AL
"I remember...my dad spoke fondly, as so many Nashvillians do, of Sulphur Dell!"
-Lynn Vincent, Nashville, TN
"I remember...when my Dad played with the Vols in Nashville, I was in the 4th
grade in 1932. We usually went to school in West Baden Springs, Indiana and then
traveled down to Nashville for the summer. We did this every year up through
We enjoyed going to the home games. Mother would take us out of school early so
we could get to the game a little before batting practice ended. We were allowed
to have one ten-cent concession per game. Usually we chose popcorn. We would bet
that this would be a ball, a strike, a hit, a grounder, a fly ball, a home run,
etc. We passed the popcorn back and forth during the game. I remember the
concession man who sold hot dogs walking through the stands singing, "Red hots,
red hots, they're already ready and they're all red hot, with a pickle in the
middle and an onion on top, red hots, red hots." We got one of those to eat
about once per week. I have such fond memories of Sulphur Dell and the baseball
During one season there was a man who was 10 1/2' tall. He sat over on the right
side of home plate about half way between there and the visitor's dugout. Even
sitting down he towered over everyone. My brother Byron Franklin Speece, who
passed away January 14, 2002, and I would watch him to see if he cheered for us
or the visitors. He cheered for the Vols. I read a number of years later that he
died at about the age of thirty.
Some of the players I remember were Hank Leiber and Phil Wintraub who went up to
the major leagues from Nashville. Hank Leiber was so young and good looking. I,
of course, thought he was wonderful. I heard that a number of years later he was
hit in the head while at bat. It caused major problems for him. The baseball
league set up an apartment for him in the Los Angeles area with a valet to care
for him for the rest of his life. I don't know if that is true or not but hope
it was so. That was before batting helmets were invented.
Others were Lance Richbourg, the manager, Bill Rodda, shortstop, Ray Starr,
James Brillheart, and others I forget today but will remember tomorrow.
There was one ball game we played with the New Orleans team. They had a catcher
named Charles P. George. He slid into second base on a hit and spiked the second
baseman. Later in the game one of our players slid into home and spiked him at
the plate. Nothing was done by the umpires for this. Seemed fair to them, I
I remember Junie McBride warming up my Dad. I know that I caught for him before
he went to spring training. By the time he left I had a red hand because the
catcher's mitt was well worn and had a deep hole in the middle where the ball
lodged. I maybe do know Junie but it has been a long, long time since I was in
Please write to me or have Junie write to me. Maybe we can dredge up some
forgotten memories! I have written to Walter Johnson's grandson Henry Thomas
about the Washington Nationals and their starting again in Washington, D.C. I
hope to hear something about that!"
-Irene Speece Thoren, Roanoke, VA
"I remember...the night that I believe it was Tookie Gilbert that hit it over
the fence almost dead center field. It hit a bus in the street and came back in
the park and he only got a triple!"
-Richard Ramsey, Winter Haven, FL (and Nashville native)
"I remember...stories about my Grandfather, Bill Rodda, who played for the
Nashville Vols between 1932 through 1939. He was recognized for playing over a
thousand games. I have articles & photo's from his scrapbook. I have collected
items from his Pacific Coast League days when he played for the San Francisco
Missions between 1926 thru 1931!"
-Ken Knudson, Antioch, CA
"I remember...being a member of the Knot Hole Gang, I got in at a reduced price.
Each time I went they punched my card. After a certain number of punches, you
then got in free at the next game."
They always had a give-away program to entice more patrons. They would draw a
winning ticket and then the winner got to go out to the pitchers mound where
they would roll a wheel barrow full of change along with a shovel, and a grass
sack (a toe sack back then). The lucky person could shovel as much money into
the bag as they could. Without ever testing the weight of the bag, if they could
carry it off the field it was theirs to keep.
I never saw it cost the team one cent; everyone always put more money in the bag
than they could lift!"
-Jerry Dugan, Livingston, TN
"I remember...the spirit of Sulphur Dell, even in its dying days. The crowds
were sparse, the old stadium needed a good facelift, but the magic of the game
and the exciting feeling of another game, another pitch, and the crack of the
bat never lost its allure.
For a few fans, a sportswriter named George Leonard (my Dad), and an 8-year-old
kid, every game was exciting. I learned about scoring a game, how to run a
scoreboard, and how to catch a foul ball at the Dell. For me, the stadium has
many fond memories. I have a great photo of my Dad in the press box, hammering
out another story on an old "Royal" typewriter, as he views the field below. My
Dad was in his element at the Park, and so was I!"
-Ernie Leonard, Nashville, TN
"I remember...my grandfather, Bryon Speece (Lord Byron, as he was referred to),
saying that he played for the Vols from 1932-1938. You have a team photo showing
him in 1937. He was the winningest pitcher for the Southern League in 1936 at 22
and 9. Mom has written some memoirs and I believe that one of the player perks
for performance was free Dr. Pepper and other consumables!"
-Paul Thoren, California
"I remember...as a young boy riding the bus to Sulphur Dell with my Dad who
loved baseball better that anything. One of the greatest thrills I had was going
to the pressbox with Mr. Johnson of the Nashville Banner, and looking out at my
dad sitting on the third base side. I can still hear my Dad screaming at the
umpires when a call went against the "Vols"; he always called them "Blind Toms".
I also can remember when they used to slide the doors back after the seventh
inning stretch and people would come running in to catch the final innings. My
Dad passed away in 1963 and had he lived, he would have been heartbroken to see
the "Old Ball Park" closed."
-Jim Cain, Nashville, TN
"I remember...moving to Nashville in 1950 from Mobile where I worked for the
Bears as a sidelines kid, clubhouse boy and all around utility kid. When the
Bears came to town, they let me work as visiting batboy. After the series, Vols
trainer Willie White gave me a job shagging foul balls on the sidelines in the
bullpen, even providing me with a uniform. Working for the team the remainder of
the season and as ball boy in the early part of 1951 was one of the highlights
of my childhood. Larry Munson was my hero and inspired me to become a
broadcaster, a craft that has served me very well. On my final day, I sat in
earshot of Larry Gilbert when he offered Al (Red) Worthington his first
professional contract. I have a less-pleasant memory of being given a big chaw
of tobacco by one of the bullpen pitchers. It was a long ride home on the bus
that night for a 14 year old who didn't know you weren't supposed to swallow the
-John Camp, Big Canoe, Georgia
"I remember...going to the games in 1958 and 1959. My brother worked there as a
manager in the commisary; his name was Alex Sparks. I enjoyed watching the Vols
play. I remember Chico Alvarez and Charlie Nangerjo when they played there. I
always sat at the 3rd base side and left of the dugout. I really enjoy reading
about other fans' memories!"
-June (Sparks) Saunders, Whitney, Texas
"I remember...George Schmees, Eric Rodin, Buster Boguskie, Hugh Poland, and
Larry Munson. I went to the Dell often, and played there for West High!"
-Larry Neuhoff, San Diego, CA
"I remember...Bama Ray hitting a ball that penetrated the right field screen to
go through for a home run, ruled by the home plate umpire! I remember the
special catcher's mitt made for Birmingham catcher Gus Triandos to catch knuckle
ball pitcher Bobo Newsom; it was an amusing looking-mitt about the size of an
old wash tub! I remember Jim Piersall climbing the screen behind home plate in a
fit of anger! I remember Buster Boguskie, my all time favorite Vol, refereeing
our old grammar school basketball games and becoming good friends with him; he
was my favorite Vol as well as one of my favorite people! I remember, as an old
Knot Hole member, Ted Williams and the Red Sox coming to the Dell for an
exhibition game; he did not play but pinch-hit in the latter innings and hit a
line drive off the right field screen, stopping at first base and shaking and
dropping his head in amazement! After the game, some of us kids followed him
from the dugout to the Greyhound bus waiting outside the right-field fence and
begged him for an autograph; he never even acknowleged us, just looked straight
ahead all the way to the bus, no smile, no nothing......after that, as a kid, he
was no longer my hero!"
-Jerry Parkhurst, Nashville, TN
"I remember...as a little girl my father, Buster Boguskie, playing at the Dell.
I remember, Willie White, the trainer, carrying me around the park and telling
everyone I was his "God-child". I remember the smell of hot dogs and popcorn,
the railroad tracks out front, playing with the turn-style when you first came
in and waiting in the car after the game for my dad. I wish I could go back to
that time and be able to go through the park just one more time. Wouldn't it be
great if it were still standing! Thanks for keeping the memories alive!!"
-Gail Boguskie Wilson, Goodlettsville, TN
"I remember...as a very little girl sitting right outside the door of the press
box on that screened walkway high above the seats, looking down at the people,
waiting for my father, Fred Russell, to come out when the games were over. Thank
you for preserving the memory of Sulphur Dell!"
-Carolyn Russell, Nashville, TN
"I remember...the details on that great comeback game that Fred Sadler
remembers, when the Vols rallied in the bottom of the ninth from a 7-0 deficit,
scoring 8 runs without making a single out. That's the one that I left early and
have regretted all my life! Thanks again, Fred. There was nothing like time at
Sulphur Dell when I was a kid. Fantastic memories!"
-Lee Keith, Greensboro, NC
"I remember...sitting on the 'dump' on the Vols' opening day, 1948. There were
4,000 others like me covering the whole dump and part of the left field area
next to the stands because there were over 12,000 people there. The Tennessean
ran a full width picture the next day showing the crowd all the way around the
outfield. I don't remember who we were playing that day, but we won. Charlie
Gilbert hit 2 homers and Charlie Workman hit 1. Gilbert later had one of the
greatest starts of any player with 7 homers in the first 4 games, 2-2-1-2. He
and Workman had a Mantle/Maris kind of a season until he faded at the last.
Workman ended up with 52 homers and led the league. Gilbert had 42. Elwood 'Footsie'
Grantham had 33. 'Footsie', the colorful left fielder, also set a league record
for strikeouts with over 220. I'll always remember seeing several of those first
game homers going over our heads and the screen as we sat out on the 'dump'.
There was no place like Sulphur Dell!"
-Lou Vodopya, Nashville, TN
"I remember...Chico Alvarez most vividly as a guy who didn't like to play
doubleheaders. One day in the second game, he was the lead off hitter, and he
took a third strike. He looked back at the ump, stared at him, and then dropped
his bat, rather ceremoniously, on home plate. Of course, he was tossed. But, he
didn't have to play two that day! He was a character!"
-Lee Keith, Greensboro, NC
"I was inducted into the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame. No big deal there,
but the reason I am writing is that in giving a speech about my experiences in
baseball, I described Sulphur Dell as we all remember it. The audience gasped at
the dimensions and the story of how Jack Harshman went from 47 homers one year
to a 23-game winner two years later in Sulphur Dell. After the talk, Bob
Humphreys, whom I've known for a long time, came up and said he remembered
Sulphur Dell for a right-handed hitter "chinking" one over the screen to beat
him. Bob Boone was the main speaker, but he had never heard of Sulphur Dell.
I'll bet his daddy has!"
-Bob Teitlebaum, Salem, VA
"My story is about the speaker at the University of Tennessee Baseball Banquet
on February 3, 2004, Buck O'Neil. He is 92 years old and was a member of the
Kansas City Monarchs playing first base. He told various stories about Satchel
Paige, Jackie Robinson and others and mentioned a few places he played. During
his presentation I decided to try to catch up with him after the banquet and ask
him about playing in the Dell.
When he finished and after the applause was over he offered to answer questions
from the audience and I was the first to stand with my hand up. I asked him if
he ever had the opportunity to play at Nashville in Sulphur Dell. He said, "yes,
I remember that screen and flat spot in right field very well." We had about 500
people present and when I said the words Sulphur Dell some guy on the other side
of the room yelled 'yeah' and people applauded.
Just wanted to pass this on to you because I appreciate what you are doing for
the history of that ball park. If you ever need a baseball speaker , Buck o"Neil
is worth looking up. That is, if you haven't heard him already!"
-Billy Beal, Oak Ridge, TN
"I remember...Larry Munson broadcasting the game between the Vols and the
Lookouts when the score was 0-0 in the ninth inning, Gil Cohn was at bat, and
there was a 3-2 count. I also think that both pitchers were throwing no-hitters,
but the next pitch to Gil was a down-the-middle fastball, and he hit that ball
out of the park for a homerun! Larry announced that the (curse word!) had just
hit a homerun! The Lookouts had won, 1-0!"
-David Crick, Cleveland, TN
"I remember...once in the very early 30's I held the lucky number score card. I
won a steak dinner and a great baseball board game. My dad must have eaten the
steak, but at age 10 I had many happy hours playing that game back home in
Springfield with my neighborhood friends. Today I am 81 years old but I would
still like to play that baseball game and go see the Vols play the Memphis
Chicks, the Chattanooga Lookouts, the Knoxville Smokies, the New Orleans
Pelicans, the Little Rock Pebbles, the Birmingham Barons, or the Atlanta
I also remember my dad was amused and in agreement when a sportswriter wrote
that Lance Richbourg played the right field dump like a 'mountain goat'!"
-Robert Chilton, Bryan, Texas
"I remember...the times when George Leonard, Jr. and I walked the catwalk to the
press box when his father George Leonard, Sr. was a sports writer for the
Nashville Tennessean. We would try and catch the foul balls that were hit up
there. Then we would go down on the field after the game and get the broken bats
and a few balls. I also remember all the Knot Hole League long distance throwing
contest that I participated in. Last but not least, I remember the great games
that I was fortunate enough to see."
-Frank Frankenbach, Cocoa Beach, FL
"I remember...as a boy of about 9 in 1960 or so seeing the Vols against a
Detroit Tiger team, I believe. The pitcher for the Tigers farm team was on
rehab, I think named Frank Lary? He hit a homerun through the Gates Tire over
Left Center wall to win $100. All of this is fuzzy; I just wonder if anybody
could refresh that story? I am 52 now and can still smell that ballpark!"
-Larry Grissim, Lebanon, TN
"Because of my contribution to Sulphur Dell memories on the "I remember..."
page, I received an email on Nov. 16, from Walter Englert in Santa Clara,
California, wanting to know if I was the person who used to sit on the third
base side of Sulphur Dell along with his mother and brother, and my mother,
sister, and me, the Harry Englert family and the Marshall Darden family. After
over 50 years, what a surprise to hear from this old friend who used to live on
Chesterfield off West End Avenue, and he and his brother, Harry, attended West
End High School. The Englerts had an aunt that lived in the 1300 block of 6th
Avenue North where we lived at 6th and Taylor, and I believe the old Englert
home place is still standing in North Nashville. So, your website reaches across
the country to so many, like me and the Englerts, that have fond memories of old
-Paul Darden, Nashville, TN
"I read with interest, Paul's letter telling of his e-mail from my brother,
Walter Englert, in California. I'm Walter's oldest brother Richard. Paul
probably didn't remember me because I joined the Marine Corps while my brothers
Harry and Walter continued to go to Sulphur Dell with our Mother. Harry is the
Mayor Pro Tem of Grand Prairie, Texas. I am retired and live in Carthage,
Tennessee. Our 6th Avenue relatives were Oscar and Emma Pease; my Aunt Emma was
dad's sister. Mom and my brothers and I went to the ball park as often as we
could, many fond memories! I wish I knew what happened to my ball with Dusty
Rhodes' signature on it!
Anyway, I just wanted to expand on the Darden letter, and say hello to Paul
-Richard Englert, Carthage, TN
"I remember...it's hard for me to explain all I remember about Sulphur Dell in
one letter. I was the roof boy, scoreboard operator for balls, strikes and outs,
gathered scores of other games from out of town to put on the scoreboard and
give to the broadcasters, and the office boy during the middle 1950s.
I was a sportswriter at The Tennessean twice in the 1960s, but I moved to
Roanoke, VA in 1970 where I was a sports writer for 30 years. I have often
written about Sulphur Dell, never forgetting that 262-foot right field fence. I
also have a copy of the Southern Association Record Book 1901-57, a copy of the
guide put out by Fred Russell and George Leonard for the 50th Anniversary of the
the Vols, as well as copies of the Sabbatini Sketch books on the Vols for 1949
I'm retired from daily newspaper writing. I do some free lance writing and
review books for two papers that deal with sports. I am starting my fourth
season as official scorer for the Salem Avalanche in the Carolina League. Over
the years, I've talked with several scouts who are former players that performed
in the Dell. I have talked of the Dell when I give some guest lectures in
History of Sports in America, but these students of modern day parks can hardly
appreciate the Dell!
-Bob Teitlebaum, Salem, VA
"I remember...alas I was born in 1963 the last year that Nashville had a team. I
have heard stories all through the years from my relatives of what a great place
the Dell was for a game. With your site, I am able to now get a better
understanding of how special the stadium and times were and what I missed!
-Jeffrey Green, Nashville, TN
"I remember...my parents took me to Sulphur Dell each year in the mid- to late-
50’s and maybe a few times in the early 60’s. The names that come to mind are
Tommy Brown at third base, Bobby Durnbuagh at shortstop, Larry Taylor at second
base, Haven Schmitch, and of course, the rightfielder who roamed the "Dump" and
his name was George Schmees. I always enjoyed going to the Dell and listening to
Dick Shively and later Larry Munson do the play by play on the radio.
-Teddy Ray, Fayetteville, TN
"I remember...as a boy going with my dad "Dub Allen" who many know loved the
game of baseball. I always knew when we were getting close to the stadium by the
strong smell of those livestock barns (y'all know the smell!). I remember
walking down those side streets and alleys after we had parked the car. While
walking and stepping over railroad tracks I would see that large white gas tank;
as a kid that tank really looked big! Once we walked into the stadium, we always
sat out in the right field section sort of behind first base.
I remember smelling the cigar and pipe smoke that always smelled sort of good to
me, and the hard, old wooden seats where you almost always would get a splinter
(especially as a kid that was up and down all through the game like most kids).
A couple of times I had to sit behind a large pole and watch the game. The old
tire sign that hung out in right center that read "$50.00 if you hit a home run"
through always was exciting. My dad seemed to know everybody and it would take
us an hour to walk back to the car due to all the chit-chat with friends.
The last day I was with my dad before he passed away in the summer of 2000 we
drove to the site of Sulphur Dell. What made me want to pull into the parking
lot was when he saw the old Atlantic Ice house that stood behind right field. He
had just told me that he once got a ball out of the gutter there when he was a
kid. I could tell he was excited to see the old site of Sulphur Dell, so I
pulled into the State parking lot and stopped about where I figured the
pitcher's mound was. He said he had many great memories as a child himself as a
part-time batboy and as a spectator. I told him I can sit here and look around
and see the old field. I could sort of see the old infield in my mind, the
noise, and I even seemed to begin smelling that old cigar and pipe smell.
We were quiet when we pulled out of the lot and were both smiling with those
wonderful memories that we had just shared together for the last time.
-Mike Allen, Nashville (Donelson), TN
"I remember...so many fond memories of Sulphur Dell. I can vividly remember
walking up the concourse to the stands in early April each year and standing in
awe at the beauty of the green, well-manicured field, the imposing fences, and
the anticipation of the beginning of another year of Nashville Vols baseball. In
the 1950's a child 12 or under could get a general admission season pass for $3.
That was the only birthday present I wanted every year for many years. After
many Little League games, my parents would leave me at the Dell to watch the
Vols game and come back to get me later.
In the 1950's the Vols would hold clinics for sandlot players on a Saturday
morning. You could go to the position on the field and receive instruction from
the Vol player. I always wanted to go to right field to meet George Schmees, my
favorite player on the Vols. George could play the 'dump' like none other. I was
so excited one night, when during a Vols game on TV, George Schmees came in to
pitch late in the game. In fact, I was nicknamed 'George' by one of my Little
Stan Paylis (sp) played for the Birmingham Barons. I remember that he was
especially disliked by the Nashville fans and he seemed to revel in that
I spent many a summer night in front of the radio listening to Dick Shively and
then Larry Munson call the games for the Vols at home and on the road. It was a
real treat to enjoy the simplistic pleasures and excitement that those radio
broadcasts brought to my life. I remember to this day hearing Munson say: 'Sit
back, relax, have an Coke and a smoke and enjoy the ball game'.
As a youth, I had the privilege of playing in several 'All-Star' games held and
Sulphur Dell. Just being on the same field where so many of my heroes had played
baseball was a real treat.
Everything about Sulphur Dell was special. It was a treat to come early to a
game and watch the teams take infield. One day, I edged over near the third base
dugout and asked one of the coaches if he had an old baseball he did not want,
and he gave me one! I always thought is was a shameful desecration when events,
other than baseball, were held at Sulphur Dell. It was meant as a haven for the
playing of baseball and nothing else.
To this day, I have several old Sulphur Dell score cards. I am most thankful
that I grew up in Nashville and had the privilege to enjoy the beauty and
history of Sulphur Dell!
-Marlin Keel, Nashville, TN
"I remember...going to many games with my grandfather. I was fascinated by the
tire sign on the right field wall; I don't remember anyone ever hitting one
through the tire sign, but I always wished it would happen! I remember seeing
Chuck Connors playing before his "Rifleman" fame, and I also remember my
grandfather buying me a $5.00 under-16 season ticket during the last struggling
years (and riding the bus to use it every chance I got) and seeing the $5.00
stock certificate that my grandfather bought. Man, I wish I could find it now! I
remember laying in bed with my transistor radio tuned in to listen to Larry
Munson broadcast the away games on hot summer nights. I remember "Knot-Hole
Night" and getting in free with your Knot-Hole uniform when I was 8. Vols were
big time baseball to us youngsters who loved the sport. We loved our team and
our players and studied every word Mr. Russell (who also loved the Vols) wrote
about "last night's game".
-Ronny Douglas, Nashville, TN
"I remember...my Dad used to take me to Sulphur Dell when I finally got old
enough (10, maybe?) and drop me off while he went to work at his business,
Hermitage Mills, down on 16th near Jo Johnson Street. Daddy would listen to the
night game on his radio at work, and when the game got near the end, he'd close
up shop at work and come pick me up at the park; we'd ride home and talk about
the game. One night, we were down 7-zip going into the bottom of the ninth; I
left and went outside to wait for Dad to pick me up. Well, the Vols scored 8 in
a row without making an out and I was outside the stadium and missed it all.
When Dad picked me up, he said something like, "well, son, you just saw maybe
the greatest rally ever at Sulphur Dell", and I had to confess that I'd left
early. I never left the Dell early again!
I was at the last game in the Dell, and I remember being in the stands with my
buddy Perry Conley when the right fielder came to bat. He was number 9 and his
first name was George (can you tell me what his last name was?). Was it Sisler?
It's been drivin' me nuts for months now!). My buddy Perry said "this guy is a
real clutch hitter; he might just knock it out of the park." On the very next
pitch, ol' George hit one over the right field wall and we won the game. That
was some good way to end up in Sulphur Dell. I loved that park and spent many,
many happy evenings there. I even learned that I was horribly near-sighted while
at a game and asking another buddy "what time is it" over and over, and he
finally said "look at the scoreboard in center field; there's a clock on it", to
which I replied "what scoreboard?"! My buddy Jimmy Trammell loaned me his
glasses and I discovered what I'd been missing for about 11 years. I got glasses
the next week, and it really changed things...man, was it ever great to be a kid
-Lee Keith, Greensboro, NC
"I remember...Nick Nickels, a Nashville Police Department Traffic Officer who
moonlighted for many years as a security officer at Sulphur Dell. I lived across
the street from them at the corner of Eleventh and Coffee in North Nashville.
Occasionally on game night at the Dell, Mr. Nick, dressed in his long blue
police coat and white hat, would take me by the hand and we would walk to the
ballpark. We would stop at all the produce and butcher shops along the way and
everyone seemed to know and love him. I was thrilled when I got to go.
Once there he got me some peanuts and seated me behind the dugout while he went
about his work. Once he bought me a small wooden souvenir Nashville Vols bat and
a game ball that was signed by the team; sadly I have neither today. On the way
home he would pick up a stalk of bananas from one of the produce houses to give
to the kids in the neighborhood. He was my Hero. No question about it.
-Charles Sigler, Nashville, TN
"I remember...belonging to the Knot Hole Gang, where you had a card that was
punched until there was enough for a free game. Naturally, my favorite player
was Buster Boguskie. I also looked forward to all the ballgame foods. They are
great memories for a little old lady, who used to be a little young girl!
-Wilma J. Easterday Compton, Nashville, TN
"I remember...as a small boy growing up in North Nashville my brother Mike
(Ikey) and I would go down to the ball field and look through the cracks in the
fence on the 5th Avenue side of the ballpark to watch the games. My brothers
worked the scoreboard for a good number of years; their names were Wayne, Chris,
and Jerry Russell.
When they closed the ball park my brother Mike and I got the last American Flag
that was left at the park. I sure wish they would build a new one right back in
the same place; they were great years!
-George Russell, Nashville, TN
"I remember...going to my first pro baseball game at Sulphur Dell with my dad
probably around 1957 or 1958. The smell of the hot dogs and the noise from the
crowd-what fun! The best part of that day is the memory of the time spent with
my dad---I wish he was here and we could go again today!
-Charles Ford, Mount Juliet, TN
"I remember...old Buster Boguskie's 6-hit game so well that I was always
disappointed afterwards when he didn't get 6 hits!
-Don Block, Nashville, TN
"I remember...the high school-age all star games and players from Cocoa-cola and
Pond River Coal: Sid Ford hitting a home run over the left field wall and Bob
Dudley Smith catching a fly at the right-center post where the screen stopped.
He threw the ball to home on a fly to get the runner tagging up at third. My
brother-in-law was in the grain business with Hugh Poland who was at one time a
manager of the Vols. Their business was in Guthrie, Kentucky. I attended many,
many ball games at that park!
-Billy Beal, Oak Ridge, TN
"I remember...Tamato, the grounds crew man with the great personality and wit
who everyone would joke and cut up with; especially when the rain would start he
would be dragging and rolling the tarps out. I also remember Emanual, the night
watchman, who lived in the Fifth Avenue main ticket booth at night, weekends and
during the off seasons, who had a defined Cuban accent!
-Larry, Roy, and Jerry Barber, Nashville, TN
"I remember...the Dell as I went there as a child. My Dad ushered in the box
seats and took me to all of the games, then I worked the gate between the
bleachers and the left field stands while going to school. The next couple of
years I worked the scoreboard out in left center field and even worked for the
Gilberts in the office. I would get the lineups for each game and take to Herman
Gizzard and Larry Munson for the PA and radio, and took care of the Western
Union Ticker and passed the scores to the scoreboard. I would answer the phone
and run any other errands that the Gilberts needed me to take care of. I still
have my first Social Security Card that had The Nashville Baseball Club/5th
Avenue North typed on it!"
-Russell Brecheen, Nashville, TN
"I remember...many things as I grew up listening to Larry Munson broadcast
games, and attending many games. The grandfather of one of my best friends
growing up worked for Universal Tire and we always sat in their box seats right
behind the 3rd base dugout. You could climb on top of the dugout and get
autographs. I also remember when Lyndon Johnson came in the early 1960's and I
got to shake his hand as he came down the aisle leading to the 3rd base dugout.
I remember the breakfasts at the Noel Hotel on Saturday mornings. I believe that
Jim Turner was the manager and these breakfasts leading up to the season made me
feel a real part of the Vols network. Also, I can remember when I was playing
either in Sr. Knot Hole ball or the Gilbert League, we played some of our games
at Sulphur Dell. I can remember the excitement when I first stepped on the field
as a player!"
-Jim Barr, Nashville, TN
"I remember...when I was a little girl my dad and mom took me and my three older
brothers to all the Vols games. I would get bored and go to sleep and then I got
old enough to enjoy them! We even followed the team on the road sometimes to
Chattanooga, Birmingham, and Memphis. Buster Boguski was my favorite player;
when I got older I had a crush on him! My dad used to laugh at Hal Quick as he
was an outfielder and if he knew he probalby wouldn't come up to bat that
inning, he would just sit down out in the field! Thanks for the memories of
being raised in Nashville!"
-Mary June Allen Clayton, Providence, KY
"I remember...apart from seeing the Vols play as a kid with my Dad in the late
30's and early 40's, and recalling the Gilberts, one can never give enough
credit to Larry Munson of WKDA who had to do the recreation of away games via
teletype, mixing in "crowd noise" along with the "clink" hits of the batted
-Paul Tanksley, Dallas, OR
"I remember...attending several (or many) games as a boy, but I was certainly
too young to recall any details now. Except for the right field incline!"
-Stevie Moore, Bloomfied, NJ
"I remember...some of that "Sulphur Dell Smell" just might be the nearby stock
yards. Naah! It WAS the hot dogs and popcorn! I believe the right field was
called the "dump". I remember getting off of a bus at Church and running to the
games, not having time to wait for a transfer. Many times I just didn't have the
money to go, and instead would listen to the best announcer in the business,
Larry Munson. He did our West High basketball and football games as well. I was
listening one Sunday and he made a slip about how he made a living and my mother
wrote WKDA a letter asking them to forgive him! I also remember when, according
to Munson, Grantham hit one so hard "that ball will land on the square in
Springfield as flat as a pancake".
Mr. Freddie Russell's mother and my mother, Virginia Odom of Wartrace, Tennessee
were good friends and I had some good conversations with Mr. Russell. I also
remember having to leave the games early and catching ole' #3 on the NC&StL to
get home. I later moved back to the city in which I was born, Nashville. By the
way, I'm glad we didn't smell the sulphur well. Wasn't it great to be raised in
-Wade Odom, Cookeville, TN
"I remember...once when my grandfather, Spencer 'Jack' Waddell took me and my
brother, Skip, to a game, and took us down to meet Smokey Burgess. He looked so
big to me! I recall eating hotdogs at the game...they never tasted like that at
home! I remember the big steel poles that held up the roof. I would always
volunteer to sit in the seat that was behind them and let others watch the
-Jimmy Nipper, Johnson City, TN
"I remember...going to the games at the old ball park was one of the most
pleasant experiences of my youth. One incident I remember was when my mother
went to a game with me and the old Mobile (Alabama) Bears came into town wearing
an experimental uniform consisting of a short-sleeve shirt and knee-length
shorts! I'll never forget, for it practically caused my mother to fall down
laughing, referring to "those old hairy-legged men". Names I remember are, of
course Buster Boguskie, a favorite of mine, Jack Harshman, Johnny Liptak, Carl
Sawatski, the Gilbert brothers, Charlie and Tookie, Eddie Matthews from the old
Atlanta team, Walt Dropo from the Birmingham Barons, Charlie Maxwell, who carved
out a decent career in the majors as a pinch hitter and oh, yeah, an 'icon' of
the old right field shelf, "Babe" Barna.
My father worked at a beer warehouse located directly behind the center field
fence. One night, a Vols player named Bob Boren hit one of the longest home runs
to dead centerfield ever hit, narrowly missing the warehouse. It was truly an
enjoyable experience going to old Sulphur Dell. That is where I really learned
math as I kept track of batting averages and pitching stats of the players. Time
'dims the memory' but this is how I remember a few events."
-Carl Cantrell, San Antonio, TX
"I remember...that my dad took me to the park one afternoon to see some of the
Yankees play. They were going to play on their way back to NY. We waited several
hours for them to show up but their train was delayed. This should have been
sometimes in the late 50's. I can remember how disappointed I was that I did't
get to see them. I did get to see the Vols play several times. I got to play at
Sulphur Dell one time when I played for a team coached by Roy Pardue. I think it
was a Babe Ruth all-star game. I can remember walking out to right field on the
big hill and looking back at home plate. Thanks for the fond memories!"
-Bobby Ankenbauer, Nashville, TN
"I remember...playing right field in Sulphur Dell in a Babe Ruth League all-star
game, two homers Harmon Killebrew hit over the left-field wall for Chattanooga,
my favorite player Tommy 'Buckshot' Brown (the whistling third sacker), and my
relationship with Mr. Russell. I even saved a tape off my voice mail of a call
to my home from Mr. Russell in his closing days, something I'll cherish
-Tom Squires, Nashville, TN
"I remember...attending ball games in "The Dell" in the late 30's and early
40's. In addition to the other players already mentioned, I remember Johnny
Mihalic, Woody Johnson, Wee Willie Duke, Bill Rodda, Tookie and Charley Gilbert,
Ray Blaemire, Wally Rospond, Skeeter McDaniel and the list could go on and on!"
-Joe Martin, Marble, NC
"I remember...my first memory of Sulphur Dell was an exhibition by "The Clown
Prince of Baseball", Max Patkin. He would portray a first baseman and would wear
his hat sideways on his head. He wore a uniform that was at least six sizes too
big, with a nose that had to be four inches long and a body made of rubber. To
have seen him in person was one of the great treats of life for a young baseball
fan. In my teenage years I dated Dick Sisler's daughter, Sheri, and was
fortunate enough to visit Mr. Sisler at his home on many occasions. Larry Munson
was a good family friend and nicknamed my father's Ford dealership "the last of
the little dealers" which stuck with it for the next twenty years. Larry Munson
also would give my father the broken bats from the games and I would nail or
tape them back together and use them at Julia Green Grammar School sandlot games
-Ted Chapman, Nashville, TN
"I remember...while visiting Nashville as a member of the University of Hawaii
basketball team (we played Tennessee State) in mid-January of 1963, I ventured
down to Sulphur Dell to see if I could get inside and have a look. I was raised
on minor league baseball in Los Angeles and made it sort of a hobby to see as
many minor league ballparks and take photos if possible. To my delight on that
chilly winter day Sulphur Dell was indeed open so I got to see the unique park I
had heard about. Not only do I remember the short fence in right field and the
railroad tracks behind it (I seem to recall an announcer in a game from there,
broadcast on a major league national network. There were no games that day so
they carried a minor league game from the Dell describing a home run to right
that landed on an eastbound train as saying, "That ball may make it all the way
to Chattanooga!"). That day in 1963 as I was looking around the Dell I ran into
a man in a suit who said he was a reporter and was covering the opening of
season ticket sales for the Vols. He asked me a few questions and the next day
in his ticket sales story he tacked a few sentences on about "this young man
wearing a University of Hawaii blazer who was checking out Sulphur Dell." When I
read your story on the death of Fred Russell I wondered if it could have been
him. I wish I could find my copy of that article!"
-Jim Davis, Merced, CA
"I remember...so many of the things I have just enjoyed reading; my parents had
season tickets for the "Vols" about six rows behind home plate for many years. I
have some old newspaper clippings, programs (my Dad always kept score) and the
bat that Bob Borkowski used in the Shaughnessy Playoffs one year. As you may
have guessed, our family had Bob out for supper on several occasions as was the
custom for fans to do for players in those days and we became good friends. The
bat still has green paint on it from where the players would rub the grip on the
wooden stadium seats to roughen it up before using in a game. Bob used a
Louisville Slugger, Rolle Helmsley signature style. I remember sitting many
times in the outfield just below the fence on Sunday afternoons when there were
overflow crowds. Boy, has reading this site brought back many memories. The
longest ball I ever hit as a player for West High School was off of a good
friend who was pitching for Hillsboro High one night in Sulphur Dell and was
caught by the left fielder as he was falling at the base of the steep slope in
left center field. I'll never forgive him! Just kidding, we later became good
friends and shared many laughs over that play!"
-Buddy Yokley, Brentwood, TN
"I remember...as a boy visiting Sulphur Dell and getting there early and being
at the corner of the stands in right field and getting the players autographs. I
can also remember after the last out was made in a game and all kids would empty
the stands and go to the outfield and a Vols player would throw the ball in the
air for the kids to fight over. I went to Sulphur Dell from 1947 to 1955 and I
remember the manager as Mr. Gilbert sitting in the dugout in a suit and tie and
hat. The first player I got an autograph from was from Peter Elko, third baseman
for the Nashville Vols. I also remember the many baseball players roaming the
dump in right field and then most of all the Memphis Chicks came to town with a
one arm ball player named Pete Gray and I was able to see him play. I was also
in attendance when Footsie Grantham hit the longest ball every hit out of
Sulphur Dell and it cleared the street behind left field. I have many fond
memories of Sulphur Dell but the most was being able to play in an all-star game
with the Gilbert League All-Stars and playing for Youth Incorporated!"
-Robert D. Bullington, Sr., Nashville, TN
"I remember...I once had a dream of chronicling the history of the team and the
park, right down to the box scores, but I didn't figure anybody would care to
read it. Maybe it's not such a pipe dream after all. My initial interest came
from my parents, who went to many games over the years. My mother took the 2
pictures I sent you when she was a teenager, and she told me she had a crush on
Rube Walker when he played here. My dad remembers seeing home run balls hitting
the ice house across from Sulphur Dell and also hitting trolley cars on Jackson
Street. He also said that in order to get home, he had to walk through the "red
light district" located between the park and downtown to catch a bus to West
End. My secondary interest is that I'm a rabid Cubs fan, and some of the Vols'
best players during the late '40's and early '50's made it to Wrigley Field.
Some of the field lights from the 'Dell are really in use today at Hailey Park
on Regent Drive."
-Mike Cunningham, Nashville, TN
"I remember...Tookie Gilbert, Charlie Gilbert, Carl Sawatski, Babe Barna, Bo
Boguskie, Hal Quick, Pete Modica, Pete Mallory, Roy Pardue (who I played against
when at East High School) and others. Seeing Barna and Sawatski hit them off the
ice house was a great thrill. One of my thrills in my career while playing in
Nashville's Larry Gilbert League was playing for Coca Cola against the All Stars
in Sulphur Dell! The memories are great!"
-Richard Ramsey, Nashville, TN
"I remember...going to a game with my brothers, Mike and Pete Mason, and a
couple of kids from the neighborhood, the Collier brothers. It was a cold and
rainy night, we had a blanket to keep us warm. A photographer from the
Tennessean took our picture and it was on the front page of the sports section.
What a thrill!"
-Scotty Mason, Columbus, OH
"I remember...in April of 1961 my two brothers, two of their friends and myself
where at a night game at the Dell. It was a very cold night early in the season
and we had an old army blanket pulled up around us. A photographer for the
newspaper came by and took our picture as we were five of the 400 fans who
braved the cold that night!"
-Pete Mason, Columbus, OH
"I remember...my Dad, Marshall Darden, manned the gate between the bleachers and
the grandstands for years and I took up box seat tickets. During one game Dad
and I were seated together in the box seats on the third base side and a foul
ball came into the seats and Dad stood up to catch the ball and it went through
his hands and knocked me out as I stood close by. I have in a scrapbook a
scorecard from a Dixie Series game in which the Vols played at Sulphur Dell. One
of my delights as a boy was to have a quarter to get a hot dog and Pepsol drink
that was bottled on 5th Avenue near Jefferson St. Great memories of the 1945
North High baseball team-graduated at North in 1949-precious memories of the
-Paul Darden, Nashville, TN
"I remember...it was great fun for our Little League teams to have the
opportunity to come to Nashville and Sulphur Dell once a year to watch the Vols.
Believe me, no one wanted to miss that trip to the "big city". The "smell of The
Dell" was our introduction to professional baseball and it is forever in my
memory. My fondest memory was shortstop Chico Alvarez hitting a 10th inning home
run to win the game. I'm not sure of the year, probably 1957 or 1958. Obviously,
we were hoping for a few more extra innings. Larry Munson was on the radio night
after night bringing us all the games. Thank you for rekindling these great
-Dick Ellis, Ackworth, GA
"I remember...a game that my father took me to see at Sulphur Dell; it's my
fondest memory. I remember the hill in right field and the difficulties it
presented to right fielders. Being from a rural area in southern middle
Tennessee and going to Nashville and Sulphur Dell to see a "big league" baseball
game was more than a treat for me. I shall never forget the experience and also
listening to the call of the games from Larry Munson on the radio."
-Johnny M. Jackson, Pulaski, TN
"I remember...my grandfather, Skeeter Marlin, taking me to several games at "The
Dell", one of which I was lucky enough to catch a foul ball. I remember the hill
in right field as being very unique!"
-Steve Vaughan, Nashville, TN
"I remember...my dad, Eldon Lindsey, pitched in our beloved 'Dell' in or around
'38 to '41, then was traded to Knoxville and pitched against the Vols at least
once. I do know he pitched a shutout in 'The Dell' and this was most unusual; I
think another one was not pitched for about 10 years. He was also a good hitter
and hit a home run while pitching for the Vols. I was born in 1940 and my birth
certificate says, "Father's Occupation, Baseball Player"! I loved Sulphur Dell
and still have the vivid memory of the tantalizing smell of the hotdogs
-Jim Lindsey, Columbia, TN
"I remember...in the late 1930' s and early 40's I worked and lived in Columbia,
Tennessee and attended some baseball games at Sulphur Dell. Almost every time I
went to a game I complained and wondered why they didn't cut down the hump in
right field. One spring morning in the mid-40's I picked up the newspaper and
there on the front page was a picture of 'The Dell'. My first thought was "they
are finally going to fix the problem"; however on a closer look at the picture
the "nuts" had built a fence behind the baselines, complete with a sty. I lost
my cool, disgusted and angry until someone said, "look at the date, it is April
one". APRIL FOOL!"
-Donald Nelson, Hendersonville, TN
"I remember...one of my last trips to the Dell to see Jim O'toole and Jay Hooks
pitch. One of the greatest things about minor league ball back then was watching
players move up through the ranks; O'toole eventually was called up to the Reds
and Hooks pitched for the Mets late in his career. The Vols had an outfielder
whose last name was Gilbert. I used to love to watch him chase fly balls up that
I saw my first 'big league' game at the Dell: the Reds with Dick Sisler, came to
play the Milwaukee Braves with Eddie Matthews, Warren Spahn, and others. I was
My dad used to take me to watch the Vols play the Memphis Chicks, Chattanooga
Lookouts, (and was the Atlanta team the "Crackers"?). One night the game went
very late, and we had to leave before it was over. As we walked down the
sidewalk outside the right field fence, I heard the crack of the bat as the
game-winning home run was hit. Then the ball hit in the middle of the street
RIGHT NEXT TO WHERE WE WERE WALKING! My dad took off after it and brought me
back the game winner!!
You just don't see 'em like that anymore: Sulphur Dells And Dads... "
-Bruce Whitaker, Austin, TX
"I remember..."Elm Hill Night" (free tickets were in hot dog packages and the
crowd would line the outfield), a spring game between the Braves and Reds
(1958?), and my favorite players Tommy "Buckshot" Brown, George Schmees, John
Edwards and Cliff Cook. I saw many of Bob Lemon's 64 HRs hit in 1954; he later
ended up with the NY Giants and couldn't hit a lick!"
-Larry Whitlock, MD, Memphis, TN
"I remember...being an eight-year-old when my Uncle Bill took me to my first
Nashville Vols game at Sulphur Dell. Jimmy Wasdell was batting, and I heard a
crack, which we thought was a broken bat, but a pitched ball had broken his jaw.
I went to every game I could, and instead of movie stars, I plastered my bedroom
walls with pictures of Wasdell, Whitey Platt, Charlie Gilbert, and other "cute"
ball players. When my friend Helen and I were old enough, we used to spend each
Saturday morning at the Paramount Theater; then to the Krystal for a
fifteen-cent hamburger, 'milkshake' (chocolate milk put in the milkshake
blender) and doughnut lunch. Then we would ride the bus to Sulphur Dell and got
in free, since it was Children's Day. We bought a scorecard and a sweet, pink
Pepsol to drink. I still have cinders in my right knee from a fall in the
Sulphur Dell parking lot. Once I went to Memphis to visit a cousin, and was
shocked when I saw the Chicks' stadium: why did they have such a FLAT outfield?
When we went to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, I was shocked to see
the small amount of minor league memorabilia they had, so I sent them my
biography of "Steamboat" Johnson (whose booming calls reverberated off the ice
house) along with my autographed baseballs and collection of clippings from the
Southern Association. Oh, those wonderful smells; going to the ball game was a
multi-sensory experience at Sulphur Dell!"
-Annette Rose Levy Ratkin, Nashville, TN
"I remember...as a kid that lived 2 blocks from 'The Dell', my brothers and I
never missed a home game. We would get there early and shag batting practice
balls as they cleared the short right field fence; if you were lucky enough to
get one in the scuffle there was always officer Kimbrough ready to gather the
batting practice balls and give you a worthless ticket to the game (worthless
because we could always see the game atop the Atlantic Ice house, a box car, or
on Jackson Street at Wheby's Produce building. We would miss out on the sale of
the practice ball after it was cleaned up and sold as the homerun ball after the
Fifth Avenue gates were opened in the bottom of the seventh to some lucky kid
whose father could afford a dollar! Later on, at the age of eleven years old and
my brother Roy at age fourteen, we were hired by Whitey Larken to run the score
board. One time my brother Roy and I fell asleep while working the score board
during a double header! I can go on and on with these stories about my times at
-Larry, Roy, and Jerry Barber, Nashville, TN
"I remember...as a kid during the late forties spending many days and nights at
'The Dell'; I have many memories of the Vols and other teams; after the game was
over running the base paths and sliding into home plate, fighting for the game
ball that Hal Jeffcoat threw to center field, the antiquated scoreboard in right
field, giving Joe Slomoko (a player for Mobile) MY autograph, and I remember
Rube Walker smoking at the end of the right field stands before batting
practice. I was in the overflow crowd in right field when 'Little Bo' got his
six hits (Vols 20, Chattanooga 5)!"
-James Shacklett, Nashville, TN
"I remember...getting up and taking a train to Nashville from Tullahoma at 4 AM
to go see a doubleheader, and seeing the Nashville Vols or a major league team
in the early 1950's. I was just a kid then, but I loved baseball and old Sulphur
Dell! I would go to a theater for a show after the games, then catch a train at
9 PM back to Tullahoma; my dad worked for the railroad and received free passes
to ride the train!"
-Carl Keeton, Jr., Tullahoma, Nashville, TN
"I remember...growing up in south Louisiana I never visited Sulphur Dell, but I
listened to many radio broadcasts of Southern Association games between the
Nashville Vols and the New Orleans Pelicans. My most vivid recollections are
comments about the short porch in right field, especially if Carl Sawatski was
coming to bat in late innings with the game on the line!"
-Troy L. Duplessis, Jr., Adams, TN
"I remember...one game versus the Memphis Chicks in 1959. It was the bottom of
the ninth and the organist was playing the Memphis 'blues' because the Chicks
were defeating the Vols 7-0. The leadoff man in the bottom of the ninth was
Bobby Durnbaugh, who hit a single. Buddy Gilbert then hit a double. Left-handed
hitter Haven Schmitt hit a homer over the leftfield fence and the Vols' radio
announcer Larry Munson said it could be something if the game had been close,
but it was not enough.
However, after five more hits up steps ex-Chicks catcher Eddie Irons who hits a
line drive to center. The Memphis centerfielder tried to make a shoe-string
catch and missed; the ball kept rolling to deep center for a triple to drive in
the final run. Final score: Vols 8, Memphis 7. Nine straight hits; one of the
greatest comebacks ever in Vols history! Larry Munson went wild as did the few
fans left at the game! Great times at 'The Dell'!"
-Fred Sadler, Nashville, TN
"I remember...the tire in the outfield that read '$50.00' if you hit it, and the
hard wooden bleacher-like seats!"
-Mike Allen, Donelson, TN
"I remember...watching my grandfather 'Foots' Goodrich playing baseball there."
-Allison Barnhardt, Nashville, TN
"I remember...seeing Rod Kanehl stealing home to win the game for the Vols!"
-Bob Lawson, Nashville, TN
"I remember...sitting behind a post!"
-D. B Nelson, Hendersonville, TN