Owner: Jeremiah Mills
Stadium: Rocky Top Park
Rocky Top Park is the oldest stadium in the league, having originally been built as a WPA project in 1935. Then known as Richards Field, the park was built near the L&N railroad depot and the Knoxville Iron Works. The park hosted minor-league games (including the Knoxville Giants of the Negro Southern League) as well as intramural contests between teams of foundry workers.
As downtown Knoxville declined in the ‘60s and ‘70s, so too did the usage and condition of Richards Field. It was originally slated for demolition as part of the 1982 World’s Fair project, before a group of preservationists banded together to save it. Despite this, the park remained in poor condition and sporadically used.
Then in 1991, Richards Field was purchased by J. Lambert Anderson. A Knoxville native and University of Tennessee grad, Anderson had grown up watching minor-league games there, as well as seeing his foundry-worker father play first base for one of the company teams. He committed his own money (as well as some revitalization funds from the city) to restoring and expanding the field, which he named Rocky Top Park in honor of his beloved alma mater. As a tribute to the park’s history as working man’s entertainment, Anderson has insisted that any tenant of the park offer $1 grandstand tickets on Sunday afternoon games.
These days, in addition to hosting the Smokies, Rocky Top Park is also the site of some University of Tennessee baseball games. Outside the park is a series of statues commemorating the park’s history, including “Steel Arm” Dickey, who pitched for the Knoxville Giants; the Richards brothers, who founded the iron works; and right in the middle, in his first baseman’s crouch, is John Anderson in his Knoxville Iron Works uniform.
(click to enlarge)
Total Payroll: $32,350,000
Available Cap Space: $2,650,000
Manager: Snuff Wallace
|30||Yamil Garizabalo||SP (R)||$400,000||3|
|32||Rich Massif||RP (R)||$500,000||2|