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Knoxville Blue Jays

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Knoxville Blue Jays

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 2011 season. Smokies Park, the team's ballpark, is located in the suburb of Kodak, and seats up to 8,000 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' Double-A affiliate, the Diamondbacks retained the Smokies as their new Double-A affiliate. On September 21, 2006, the Chicago Cubs, who had previously had a Double-A affiliation with division rival West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, reached a two-year player development contract with the Smokies through the 2008 season. The contract was renewed before the 2011 season and will run through the 2014 season.

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

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 were reclassified as Class AA with the rest of the Sally League in 1963, 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. For the first 13 of those years, the team was officially known as the Knoxville Blue Jays, or locally referred to as simply the K-Jays. The historic 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 ballpark as 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 Gillispie. The pre and postgame shows are hosted by Michael Wottreng and Jay Lifford.

On April 1, 2013 a press release went out stating that the Tennessee Smokies had changed their moniker to the "Tennessee Browns." This release has, of course, been retracted. The Smokies have not changed their name, logo or uniforms for the upcoming season. The organization was enjoying the spirit of April 1 being "April Fools Day."[2]

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
2009 71–69 2nd Ryne Sandberg Lost in Finals
2010 86–53 1st Bill Dancy Lost in Finals
2011 83-57 1st Brian Harper Lost in Finals
2012 72-68 3rd Buddy Bailey

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

Current roster

Players Coaches/Other

Pitchers

  • 27 Frank Batista
  • 34 Dallas Beeler
  • 22 Alberto Cabrera *
  • 25 Marcus Hatley
  • 28 Kyle Hendricks
  • 17 Eric Jokisch
  • 35 Trey McNutt *
  • 30 A. J. Morris
  • 11 Dae-Eun Rhee
  • 12 Kevin Rhoderick
  • 19 Zac Rosscup
  • 33 Brian Schlitter
  • 32 Tony Zych

Catchers

  • 18 Jair Fernandez
  • 29 Rafael Lopez

Infielders

  •  7 Arismendy Alcantara
  • 40 Justin Bour
  •  9 Anthony Giansanti
  • 15 Jonathan Mota
  •  5 Elliot Soto
  •  2 Ronald Torreyes
  • 16 Christian Villanueva *

Outfielders

  • 21 Johermyn Chavez
  •  3 Jae-Hoon Ha
  • 24 Rubi Silva
  •  4 Matt Szczur *

Manager

Coaches


7-day disabled list
* On Chicago Cubs 40-man roster
∞ Reserve list
§ Suspended list
‡ Restricted list
# Rehab assignment
Roster updated April 13, 2013
Transactions
More MiLB rosters
Chicago Cubs minor league players

References

External links

  • Tennessee Smokies official site
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