Info on Southern League teams

Southern Baseball League

Birmingham Barons:

– The Logan family purchased the Birmingham Barons from the Elmore Sports Group after the conclusion of the 2005 season.
– In March of 2010, the Barons announced that they would extend their affiliation with the Chicago White Sox through the 2014 season. The Barons boast the longest relationship with the major league team, with the 2010 season being the 25th year of the Baron’s player development contract with the White Sox.
– There have been 111 seasons of baseball in Birmingham and this year will be the 126th year of the Barons franchise. In this time the team has garnered 13 league titles.
– A colorful bit of the Barons’ history occurred in 1994, when basketball legend Michael Jordan went from the court to the clay and joined the minor league team as an outfielder.
– In 1995, Elmore Sports Group purchased the franchise and the Rickwood classic was initiated. This annual “Turn Back the Clock” game was played in historic Rickwood stadium and has a different theme each year to highlight a chapter of Birmingham baseball history.
– The Barons have had three different homes in the Birmingham area of the 110 seasons of baseball. By 1986, the team and it’s fans were outgrowing historic Rickwood Stadium and therefore moved to Regions Park in 1988. Located in Hoover, a Birmingham suburb, the park formerly known as Hoover Metropolitan Stadium increased seating by almost 1,000.
– The Regions Park Project cost about $14.5 million and the 70 acre complex hosts many impressive features including 2 luxury stadium suites, a large banquet area overlooking the 3rd base line, two picnic areas (left and right field), state-of-the-art video scoreboard, catering facilities for Grand Slam Catering, and two full-sized, double-decker press boxes (for baseball and football). Regions Park is owned by the City of Hoover, with the Birmingham Barons serving as the facility managers and primary tenants. However, the complex also host many different events including high school and collegiate sporting events, concerts, circuses, and festivals. The stadium holds 10,800 seats (3,202 box seats and 7,598 general admission) and serves to enhance the experience of fans and visitors. However, the complex also hosts many different events including high school and collegiate sporting events, concerts, circuses, and festivals.

Carolina Mudcats:

– The Mudcats are currently affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds, having previously been with the Florida Marlins, Colorado Rockies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros, and the Chicago White Sox.
– The franchise began in 1959 as a Chicago White Sox’ Southern Association/Southern League affiliate and was known as the Charleston White Sox. This team changed location, names and affliations many times over the years before most recently settling in Zebulon, North Carolina. However, Quint and Rischy Studer of Pensacola, FL recently purchased the franchise and the team will be relocating for the 2012 season. The Mudcats will not be taking their name with them, as the Kinston Indians of the Class A Carolina League will be moving to Zebulon and keeping the name in North Carolina.
– The Mudcats have three minor league titles to their credit and also won the Bob Freitas Award in 1996 for excellence in minor league baseball.
– Over 20 players have been selected to move on to the major leagues in the team’s 50-year history.
– The teams’ current stadium is the Five County Stadium in Zebulon, North Carolina. This complex has seating for 6,500 guests and can accommodate up to an additional 2,000 in standing room only areas in the event of a sell-out crowd. The park has nine luxury suites available and a special Family Section that is alcohol-free as well as a picnic pavilion, party deck, and cabana available for large groups. The facility also hosts a large picnic area that can be rented out for private events, with catering and other services available. On site is a reservation only restaurant named Cattails that features a dinner, desert, and catering menu.
– For the 2012 season, the franchise will be relocating to Pensacola, FL and will play in the Community Maritime Park as the Pelicans.

Chattanooga Lookouts

– The Lookout franchise began in 1885, with the team being named after the nearby Lookout Mountain.
– This franchise has been affiliated with seven different major league teams, with the most recent being the Los Angeles Dodgers.
– 14 Lookouts have moved on to the major leagues and three of these men have become inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
– Frank Burke, Daniel Burke, and Charles Eshbach own and operate the franchise and Carlos Subero is the manager of the team.
– In August of 1988, the Lookouts along with the city and county governments in the Chattanooga area, sign a ten-year lease extension that provides two million dollars to renovate historic Engel Stadium. Joe Engel, who would be a long time President of the franchise, built this stadium in 1930. It held 12,000 seats and boasted one of the deepest center fields in the country. The stadium is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
– Formerly known as the Bellsouth Park until 2007, the Lookouts current home is the 6,362 seated AT&T Field. The vast majority is of seating situated on the first base side. This grass surface field cost $10.2 million to construct and the general contractor on the project was EMJ Corp. Frank Burke is the owner and operator of the facility. There is a large group picnic pavilion, the Big River Beer Garden, and Baseline BBQ for fans enjoyment.

Huntsville Stars

– The Stars franchise began in 1985 with an affiliation with the Oakland A’s that lasted until 1999 when a relationship was developed with the Milwaukee Brewers.
– Named for the presence of NASA in the area and it’s employment of many local people, the Stars are located in Huntsville, AL, and owned currently by Miles Prentice / Huntsville Stars, LLC.
– With 11 Minor League titles under their belt, the Stars franchise is a relatively young, but very successful team.
– Unlike many other minor league teams, the Huntsville Stars have been very stable in their location, with owners turning down offers of new stadiums in favor of keeping the team in Huntsville.
– Home of the Huntsville Stars since their beginning, Joe W. Davis Stadium is in fact a multi-purpose facility which seats 10,200 fans with 15 skyboxes. The stadium is named for former Huntsville mayor Joe Davis, who was instrumental in the construction of the complex. It is commonly known as “The Joe” by fans and is now one of the oldest venues in use in the Southern League. Renovations are ongoing in the facility and include the installation of LED video scoreboard. Although the team is the primary tenant of the stadium, it has also been used for monster truck rallies, high school football games, and concerts. The stadium is owned by the City of Huntsville.

Jackson Generals

– Formerly the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, the Generals were established in 1998.
– Their major league affiliations have included the Chicago Cubs and currently the Seattle Mariners.
– In their short 12 years as a team, they have earned three minor league titles.
– This team plays in Pringles Park, a municipally owned facility that seats 6,000 guests. The complex holds high school and collegiate baseball games during the tenant’s off-season.

Jacksonville Suns

– Jacksonville’s baseball tradition has been around since 1904, but the current Jacksonville Suns came to be in 1970. Sine then, the franchise has had nine different major league affiliations. Currently they are partnered with the Florida Marlins, a relationship considered beneficial because of the proximity of both teams.
– Baseball legend Hank Aaron was a Jacksonville Brave in 1953. The suns have been home to many other successful players as well.
– Sam W. Wolfson Baseball Park Durkee Field was the home of the Suns for forty years until it was demolished in 2002. Now the team plays in Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, a sprawling complex that was a part of the Better Jacksonville Plan. The $34 million dollar park was built in 2003 and welcomed it’s one-millionth fan in its fourth season of operation. The facility can hold up to 11,000 visitors in many different types of seating: 6,000 stadium chairs, 12 luxury skyboxes, and four skydecks. Other features of the complex include a playground, a souvenir shop, first aid facility, an ample number of restrooms and concession areas, first-class in-seat concession services behind home plate, wide concourse and seating aisles and a state-of-the-art video scoreboard in left center field. The plan was paid for by taxes and is owned by the City of Jacksonville. The primary tenant is the Suns, with the ACC Championship also being played there in 2005-2008.

Mississippi Braves

– This current name and location of the Braves has been a franchise since 1966, with the name changing every few years to reflect the location of the team. Since it began, however, the team has only been affiliated with the Atlanta Braves.
– Prior to their move to Pearl, Mississippi, the Braves spent 21 years in Greenville, South Carolina as the Greenville Braves. However, due to deteriorating facilities, the franchise relocated.
– The Brave received some media attention in June of 2007 for the tantrum of manager Phillip Wellman over some unpopular calls during a game against the Chattanooga Lookouts.
– The Trustmark Park is now home to the Braves and can hold about 7,500 fans. 5,500 of these fans can be seated in the chair-backed reserved seating section with the additional 2,000 seated in the general admission grass derms. This facility has a 360-degree concourse around the field, nine concession stands, a full service restaurant (Farm Bureau Grill) with seating for 200 patrons, a picnic pavilion, 22 luxury suites, two merchandise shops, and a kids play area. Trustmark Park is owned by Bloomfield Equities, LLC, but is operated by the City of Pearl. The complex also hosts collegiate games.

Mobile BayBears

– This current franchise began in 1976, with major league affiliations beginning in 1993. Since 1993, there have been four different major league teams associated with the BayBears, the most current being the Arizona Diamondbacks.
– The BayBears have four minor league titles.
– The franchise returned to Mobile in 1997 with the construction of Hank Aaron Stadium, named after the all-time home-run king of baseball, Hank Aaaron, who was a Mobile native. The complex can seat 6,000 and has 22 luxury suites with one additional V.I.P. suite. What makes Hank Aaron Stadium unique is that the luxury suites are field level, so the general admission crowd views the game from 22 feet about the field. There is also an arcade at field level and a playground that features a waterslide on the left side of the field.

Montgomery Biscuits

– This franchise originated in Orlando in 1973, remaining in that city until 2004, when it relocated and renamed due to sub par game attendance. The franchise has produced 19 major league players and holds 4 minor league titles. The team has had four different major league affiliations and currently has a partnership with the Tampa Bay Rays.
– The nickname and mascot were chosen from a “Name the Team” contest due to the many possibilities of puns and marketing ploys, such as the new tradition of biscuits being shot into the crowd from an air canon and naming the souvenir shop the Biscuit Basket.
– Riverwalk Stadium is the home of the Biscuits and can accommodate 7,000 fans. The complex is actually built into an old train station, with six of the 20 luxury suites being built into the train terminal. There are two picnic areas, one of which can hold up to 4,000 guests. These areas are generally reserved throughout the entire season. There is also a children’s playground on the third base line.

Tennessee Smokies

– The history of the Tennessee Smokies dates back to the year 1896 is full of many hiatuses and changing of hands. The current franchise came to be in 2000 in affiliation with the Toronto Blue Jays and saw two more affiliations before the current one with the Chicago Cubs.
– The team has won two minor league titles and has many notable alumni.
– Smokies Park was a $19.4 million dollar project spans 25 acres and was completed in 2000. The facility can fit 6,000 fans and has 18 luxury suites. It is jointly owned by Sevier County and the City of Sevierville, with the city owning two-thirds of the stadium, and the county the other third. It holds a welcome center for the Smokey Mountains and a playground, and can also house concert events. There is also a full service restaurant called the Double Play Café.