Dave Stewart was known as “Smoke” in his playing career that netted him multiple All-Star appearances and three World Series titles. Now Stewart wants to bring some of that smoke to the Nashville area by leading a group to bring a MLB franchise to Tennessee. If he is successful, he will have the first majority minority-owned team in major league history.
The Music City Baseball committee officially named Stewart to lead iits diverse ownership initiative to try to bring major league baseball to Nashville in the sport’s next expansion round in the next three to five years according to reports. This is a goal long in the making for the MLBbro icon Stewart who tried to gain ownership status with the Oakland A’s and Miami Marlins with no success.
It’s a goal for MLB as well due to the fact there hasn’t been expansion in close to 25 years when Arizona and Tampa Bay were awarded franchises back in 1998. But before Nashville gets their franchise, there’s some house cleaning that commissioner Rob Manfred and baseball executives have to deal with. Oakland and Tampa Bay are coming to the end of the stadium commitments and maybe looking for new homes.
Stewart shared his feelings on the ongoing process with ESPN back in April.
“I spoke to the commissioner a couple of weeks ago and the same thing still remains,” Stewart told ESPN. “ There are two teams that don’t have homes: the Oakland A’s and the Tampa Rays, so those are his priorities to make sure those places have homes to play in. But once they do, expansion becomes next on the agenda”.
MLBbro.com can’t express in this article the historical ramifications if Stewart’s group can accomplish this feat. Many other high profile names that tried to acclaim ownership status included Hall of Famers and MLBbro icons, the late Hank Aaron and Joe Morgan along with Reggie Jackson tried and failed.
The only other minority owners in baseball to date have been NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson who owns a two percent stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers and Derek Jeter, who had a four percent stake in the Miami Marlins. He left the organization this past offseason.
It should be no surprise that this legend is pioneering a move like this. After retiring from the game as one of the most intimidating pitchers of his era, he became one of the first Black assistant managers ever with the Toronto Blue Jays and took the next step as general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Stewart expects his group to raise $2 billion for the purchase the expansion team with the proposed name of the Nashville Stars after the 1940’s and 50’s team of the Negro Leagues.
Not only is the group trying to remind baseball fans of past Negro League history, but they are making the Negro Leagues a part of the future by bringing the Negro Leagues Museum in the group as a partner. Baseball is looking for the same success as the NFL’s Tennessee Titans and NHL’s Nashville Predators.
“We started this process four years ago, Nashville is a fast growing city. It has a beautiful population of people.“ Stewart said. “There’s so much going on here. So, MLB put Nashville as one of its top places for expansion, and I think that triggered the idea to go down this path.”
With this process including a working relationship with Tennessee State University, one of the more well known HBCU’s in the country, this movement has to have Jackie Robinson’s dream of equality in baseball coming closer to fruition.
MLBbro.com wishes good luck to Dave Stewart, his group and MLB in bringing baseball to Nashville.