Looking Back: Greer Hosts MLB Exhibition Games

By Bill Traughber / Nashville Baseball Historian / Nashville Sounds | April 28, 2014 9:30 AM

Since Herschel Greer Stadium opened in 1978, exhibition games with major league clubs have been played in the Sounds' home. Several of those players would be future Hall of Famers. These are those most of those games:

April 16, 1981 - The game between the New York Yankees and Sounds drew an overflowing, standing room-only crowd of 17,318 fans. Gene Michael was the Yanks' skipper as Stump Merrill led Nashville.

Starting for the Sounds was pitcher Dan Led Duke, while the Yanks countered with left-hander John Pacella. One other interesting note, Reggie Jackson was the Yankees big gun while teammate Dave Winfield was in his first season in Yankee pinstripes after playing eight seasons in San Diego. Jackson and Winfield are in the Baseball Hall of Fame

Jackson led the latest version of Yankees to a 10-1 victory over the Sounds. He drove in four runs with a double and single in five plate appearances. Though he didn't hit a home run, the fans were entertained when Jackson drove a couple of foul baseballs out of the park. Batting left-handed, Jackson dropped his bat and glared as the balls quickly left the stadium.

The Yankees collected 12 hits in the rout while Pacella earned the victory with five innings of work. Led Duke took the loss after pitching just three innings while giving up seven hits and three runs. Other prominent Yankees to appear in the game were Willie Randolph, Graig Nettles, Bucky Dent, Lou Piniella, Bobby Murcer and future Sounds manager Johnny Oates.

Maybe the most popular Yankee that day was Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, a coach. Berra delighted the fans by taking time before and after the game to sign autographs. Other familiar names on the team, but didn't see action were, future Hall of Famer Goose Gossage, Ron Guidry, Tommy John and Bob Watson.

April 3, 1983 - Former Nashville Sounds' player Willie McGee was a member of the defending world champions St. Louis Cardinals when his club took on the Toronto Blue Jays. Disappointed were the 13, 742 fans that jammed Greer Stadium as McGee was on the bench nursing a sore shoulder. Managing the Cards was Whitey Herzog and leading the Jays was Bobby Cox.

The Blue Jays defeated St. Louis, 7-6. Toronto overcame a 5-2 deficit in the sixth inning with five-run rally. Former Sound and Cardinals shortstop Rafael Santana aided the Jays rally with an error on a ground ball and a throwing miscue. Santana substituted regular future Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith who was 1-for-2 in the game. Cardinals. Outfielder George Hendrick hit the only home run in the game with a two-run shot. Jim Acker recorded the win for the Blue Jays while Doug Bair took the loss.

Appearing in the game for Toronto were Damaso Garcia, Alfredo Griffin, Jay Iorg, Cliff Johnson, Lloyd Moseby, Rance Mulliniks. Hosken Powell, Willie Upshaw and Ernie Whitt. Other Cardinals in the game were David Green, Keith Hernandez, Darrell Porter, Mike Ramsey and Lonnie Smith.

April 28, 1983 - The Yankees were back at Greer for another contest with their Double-A affiliate Sounds. Another large turnout of 13, 641 fans dropped by to see once again baseball's most historic club. This time Billy Martin was New York's manager as Doug Holmquist led Nashville. The major league team seemed unbeatable as they took a 4-0 lead into the Sounds half of the ninth.

The Yankees scored two runs in the fourth on a single by Ken Griffey, Sr., a double by Rick Cerone, a sacrifice fly by former Sound Andre Robertson, and a single by Barry Evans. In the fifth, the Yankees added two more runs on singles by former Sound Don Mattingly and Oscar Gamble, a sacrifice fly by Roy Smalley and two more singles by Griffey and Robertson. The Yankees collected 13 hits on the day.

Doyle Alexander started the game for New York (four innings) and was relived by future Hall of Famer Goose Gossage in the fifth, Jay Howell the sixth and seventh. Rudy May retired the side in order in the eighth. The Sounds used six pitchers in the game, Mark Shifflett (four innings), Mike Browning (fifth inning), Bob Raftice (sixth), Ed Olwine (seventh), Rob Teegarden (eighth) and Jesus Hernaiz (ninth).

In the Sounds ninth, with one out May walked a batter, then hit a batter. Following another out, May walked another batter and hit the next batter to force in the Sounds' first run (4-1). Derwin McNealey's fourth hit of the day, a two-run single to center cut the deficit to 4-3. Catcher Frank Kneuer stroked a pitch down the left-filed line to score the tying and winning runs for the improbable 5-4 Sounds comeback.

April 4, 1987 - Manager Pete Rose brought his Reds to Nashville for a two-game, two-day exhibition against the Montreal Expos (managed by Buck Rodgers). In front of 12,087 fans, the game ended in the 11th inning tied 8-8. Both teams recorded 23 hits that included home runs by Montreal's Andres Galarraga, Tim Wallach and Cincinnati's Tracy Jones. Eleven pitchers performed in the game.

The Expos had trailed since a five-run fourth inning for the Reds, but scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning off John Franco for an 8-7 lead. Jones solo shot in the last of the ninth sent the game into extra innings. Jones had three hits for Cincinnati while teammates Terry Francona and Paul O'Neall had two each. Mario Soto started the game on the mound for the Reds while Neal Heaton started for Montreal. Also playing for the Reds were Dave Parker, Kurt Stillwell and Buddy Bell.

April 5, 1987 - The next day in game two, 11,218 fans turned up to watch Cincinnati defeat the Expos, 5-3. Reds' Kal Daniels clubbed a leadoff home run in the third inning off Montreal starter Kevin Price for the first score of the game. He was followed by back-to-back triples by future Hall of Famer Barry Larkin and Eric Davis for a 2-0 lead.

The Reds collected two more runs in the sixth with a Buddy Bell single, a wild pitch moved Bell to second base and reached third base on a sacrifice. Dave Concepcion singled home Bell and Concepcion scored on a double by Lloyd McClendon. The Expos scored all its runs in the seventh frame. An error by Concepcion at second base allowed Jeff Reed to score after reaching base on a walk. Tom Romano scored on a Nelson Norman single and an Alonzo Powell sacrifice fly scored Casey Candaele who had singled.

Cincinnati tallied their fifth run in the seventh when Paul O'Neill walked and later in the inning scored on a wild pitch. Reds' starter Ted Power worked seven innings, walking three, gave up five hits and recorded one strikeout. Kevin Price started the game on the mound for the Expos.

April 2, 1988 - The first of three consecutive exhibition games (April 1) at Greer was rained out between Cincinnati and the Chicago White Sox. But on this day, the second scheduled game was played between the White Sox and Cleveland before 10, 271 fans. The Indians took the game 8-6 after blasting three home runs. Future Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk was the White Sox catcher. Doc Edwards was the Cleveland manager while Jim Fregosi led the White Sox.

In the Cleveland second inning, Corey Snyder reached base on an error, Mel Hall singled, and Andy Allanson followed securing first base on an infield hit. Then Jay Bell slammed a 327-foot shot over the left-field fence for a grand slam and 4-0 Indians' lead. Chicago's Steve Lyons singled home Lance Johnson the third for their first run. Joe Carter smashed a home run in Blue Jays' third inning.

In the fifth, the White Sox scored two more runs with Harold Baines' two-out single to bring home Dan Pasqua and Fred Manrique. Cleveland answered with a Pat Tabler walk, Carter reaching base on an error and Snyder socked a three-run home run. The Indians used seven pitchers while Chicago took five to the mound. Indians' Rich Yett started and worked three innings for the victory and Dave LaPoint took the loss for Chicago.

April 3, 1988 - Cleveland remained in Nashville another day to play the Pittsburgh Pirates. Before 7,628 fans, Cleveland won their second exhibition game in Nashville, 3-2. The Pirates (managed by Jim Leyland) opened the scoring in the first inning off Indians' starter Scott Bailes (winning pitcher) when Barry Bonds doubled, Darnell Coles walked, and Bobby Bonilla slammed a two-run double.

The Indians got one back in their first inning when Julio Franco singled and two outs later, Mel Hall singled off Bob Walk (losing pitcher) up the middle to plate Franco. In the fifth inning, Willie Upshaw clubbed a two-out double for the Indians. Joe Carter stepped to the plate and took a pitch out of Greer for the eventual game-winner.

April 23, 1990 - Before an enthusiastic crowd of 14, 012 the Cincinnati Reds (managed by Lou Piniella) defeated their Triple-A Nashville club, 3-0. The Big Red Machine collected eight hits off five Sounds' pitchers in the shutout. Danny Jackson took the victory scattering three hits in six innings.

The Reds opened the scoring in the first inning when Luis Quinones reached base on an error, went to second on a walk to Eric Davis and came home when Sounds' first baseman Reggie Jefferson booted a grounder by Paul O'Neill. Davis and O'Neill began the third with back-to-back singles. Davis went to third on a fielder's choice and scored on a Hal Morris groundout.

The Reds third run was recorded in the sixth when Paul Noce doubled and scored on Herm Winningham's single. The 1990 Reds won the World Series sweeping Oakland.

April 6, 1991 - There were 17, 109 fans at Greer to watch the Cincinnati Reds win in a 10-inning game, 4-3 over the Cleveland Indians. The Indians scored first in the second inning when Sandy Alomar, Jr., singled to right off Red's starter Norm Charlton. Brook Jacoby walked while Carlos Baerga grounded out to shortstop. Felix Fermin struck out as Mike Huff followed with a base hit to left field scoring Alomar and Jaboby advancing to third.

Cleveland (managed by John McNamara) scored its second run in the inning on a delayed steal when future Hall of Famer Barry Larkin cut off a throw to second base and threw wildly to home scoring Jaboby. In the third inning the Indians added to their lead when Chris Jones reached on an error by Reds' third baseman Chris Sabo. Albert Belle walked and an Alomar single scored Jones for a 3-0 lead.

Cincinnati (managed by Lou Piniella) produced two runs in the fifth as Jeff Reed and Mariano Duncan opened with back-to-back singles. A fielder's choice at first base advanced the runners up a base. Billy Hatcher hit a ground ball to third base catching Reed in a rundown for an out. Duncan and Hatcher stood on third and second. Larkin followed with a base hit to score the pair to cut the Indians lead to 3-2.

In the eighth inning Paul O'Neill's RBI single knotted the game at 3-3. In the last of the 10th inning with a runner on third base, Herm Winningham, a Reds reserve outfielder, hit a ball past the Cleveland leftfielder for the winning run (4-3). Entering the late innings in relief for Cincinnati was Rob Dibble and Randy Myers. Dibble, Myers and Charlton were the famed "Nasty Boys."

March 28, 1996 - Greer Stadium was host to the Nashville Baseball Classic that included eight major league teams playing five games in four days. On the first day the Chicago White Sox (managed by Terry Bevington) defeated Texas (managed by Johnny Oates), 4-3. Key players for Chicago included: Future Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, Robin Ventura, Ozzie Guillen, and Harold Baines. Key players for the Rangers included: Will Clark, Ivan Rodriguez, Kevin Elster, Mark McLemore and Damon Buford.

In the second game, Cleveland (managed by Mike Hargrove) won over St. Louis (managed by future Hall of Famer Tony La Russa), 9-3. Key players for Cleveland included: Kenny Lofton, Albert Belle, future Hall of Famer Eddie Murray, Carlos Baerga and Jim Thome. Key players for the Cardinals included: Future Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, Willie McGee, Gary Gaetti, Pat Borders and John Mabry.

March 29, 1996 - In another Classic doubleheader, the White Sox defeated Montreal (managed by Felipe Alou), 9-5 and the Detroit Tigers (managed by Buddy Bell) won over the Reds (managed by Ray Knight), 7-4. Key players for Detroit included: Travis Fryman, Cecil Fielder, and Alan Trammell. Key players for the Reds included: Barry Larkin, Chris Sabo, Hal Morris and Vince Coleman.

March 31, 1996 - The last game of the Classic had Kansas City (managed by Bob Boone) winning over Montreal, 3-1. Key players for Kansas City included: Johnny Damon, Keith Lockhart, Jeff Montgomery and Jose Offerman. Key players for the Expos included: Moises Alou, Mark Grudzieianek, Rondell White and David Segui.

If you have any comments or suggestions, contact Bill Traughber via email.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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