The Tennessee Smokies are a Minor League Baseball team based in the Knoxville, Tennessee, metropolitan area. The team, which plays in the Southern League, are the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. Smokies Stadium, the team's ballpark, is located in the suburb of Kodak, and seats up to 8,000 fans. The team was based in Knoxville and called the Knoxville Smokies for many years before moving to Kodak and changing its name prior to the 2000 season. The team's nickname refers to the Great Smoky Mountains mountain range which permeates the region; mountains in the chain are often clouded in a hazy mist that may appear as smoke rising from the forest.
Founded in 1897
|Minor league affiliations|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Chicago Cubs (2007–present)|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles (3)|
|Division titles (4)|
|Nickname||Tennessee Smokies (2000–present)|
|Colors||Royal blue, red, white|
|Mascot||Diamond and Slugger (2001-present)|
Smokie Joe (1996-1999)
|Ballpark||Smokies Stadium (2000–present)|
|SPBC, LLC, Randy Boyd|
|General Manager||Tim Volk|
|Media||MiLB.TV and WETR|
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 to 1929. 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 was Earl Weaver who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.
The Smokies were reclassified as Double-A 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 (1968–1971) 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 Double-A 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 1954 to 1999, Knoxville baseball teams played in Bill Meyer Stadium, formerly known as Knoxville Municipal Stadium, on Don Ridley Field. The stadium was named for Knoxville native son and former Pittsburgh Pirates manager Billy Meyer.
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.
In December 2008, Hall of Famer and former Chicago Cubs All-Star second baseman Ryne Sandberg was named 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.
In June 2013, the then-Smokies' ownership group, led by Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, sold the team to Randy Boyd, a local Knoxville businessman. Though a devoted baseball fan, Boyd is not involved in the day-to-day management of the team, delegating those responsibilities to CEO Doug Kirchhofer and General Manager Brian Cox. In 2016, speculation began that Boyd was wanting to move the Smokies back to Knoxville after he had purchased several parcels in downtown Knoxville. Boyd said he has envisioned a baseball stadium on that site, but has no plans to bring the baseball team back to Knoxville until 2025, when the current stadium contract expires, at the earliest.
On July 11, 2014, The Chicago Cubs and Tennessee Smokies announced an extension to their Player Development Contract (PDC) for the maximum possible term of four years. The agreement means the Smokies will be the Cubs' Double-A affiliate through the 2018 season.
On October 22, 2014 the Smokies revealed new logos, colors, and uniforms that reflected their ongoing relationship with the Chicago Cubs organization.
Smokies Stadium experienced its largest crowd ever of 7,958 on May 13, 2017, against the Montgomery Biscuits. The Smokies lost the game 3–1, which was also Star Wars Night. The previous attendance record was the 7,866 on July 24, 2015, against the Chattanooga Lookouts. The Smokies won the game 8–4, which was also Toy Story Night and Daddy-Daughter Date Night.
All Tennessee Smokies games are shown live on MiLB.TV. The current voice of the Smokies is Mick Gillispie. The secondary broadcaster is Spencer Siegel. The pre and postgame shows are hosted by Matthew Peterson and Andy Brock. All games are also broadcast on Talk Radio 92.3 and AM 760 WETR in Knoxville. Bear Trax is a weekly television show hosted by Mick Gillispie and Charlie Walter about the Smokies and airs at 11pm ET on WTNZ Fox43.
|2003||72–67||4th||Mark DeJohn||Lost in 1st round|
|2007||73–65||2nd||Pat Listach||Lost in Semi-Finals|
|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|
|2013||76-62||T-1st||Buddy Bailey||Lost in Semi-Finals|
Tennessee Smokies roster
7-day injured list
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Sports teams based in Tennessee
(NCAA Division I)