Owner: Steven Butler
Theme Song: “Jackson” by Johnny Cash and June Carter
Stadium: Cash Carter Downs
This stadium originally started as a horse-racing track, built in 1937 by local promoter Cassian “Cash” Carter. A flamboyant showman, Carter intended for his track to become a fixture in American sports, comparable to Churchill Downs. “They’ll have to add another jewel to the Triple Crown for my baby,” Carter once said. He also hoped to inaugurate the Downs with a heavyweight title fight by then-champion James J. Braddock, but Braddock lost his crown to Joe Louis before that could happen. While Carter’s grandiose visions never came to pass, Cash Carter Downs became a popular and successful regional track, holding the famed Magnolia Stakes every April for more than 40 years.
Although Carter made his living in horse racing and boxing promotion, his first love was baseball. “Like every red-blooded American boy, I dreamed of being a big-league ballplayer,” Carter said. “I always dreamed of hearing the announcer at Sportsman’s Park say my name. ‘Batting first for the Cardinals, No. 1, center field, Carter.’” In Carter’s will (he died in 1961), he directed that if Cash Carter Downs were ever to be closed as a racetrack, the land should be used for a baseball stadium.
Due to the decline in horse racing’s popularity, Cash Carter Downs declined over time. The Magnolia Stakes ended in 1983, and the track closed for good in 1991. The property lay vacant for over a decade, until a group of investors purchased the property and, true to Carter’s wishes, built a baseball stadium on the spot. Some of the outbuildings from the racetrack were incorporated into the design (rumors that the stables were converted into the visitor’s clubhouse are unfounded). The design incorporated Carter’s aesthetic preferences as well. He disliked the home run, so the Downs has some of the deepest fences in baseball history. (“Any baboon can swing for the fences,” Carter once said. “It takes real skill to scrap and score runs the old-fashioned way.”) Carter was also a great admirer of Wrigley Field, so the Downs has ivy growing on the outfield walls. There are also some climbing pegs, so (at least in theory) an outfielder could climb the 15-foot fence and steal a homer.
In short, the ballpark is exactly what Cash Carter would have wanted. And if the rumors are true, he’s part of the park as well; it’s said that Carter’s family scattered some of his ashes in center field.
(click to enlarge)
Total Payroll: $33,600,000
Available Cap Space: $1,400,000
Manager: Lou Hayes
|46||Dwayne McLemore||RP (R)||$100,000||1|