The Oakland Athletics announced today the club has entered into a new four-year Player Development Contract (PDC) with Triple-A Nashville of the Pacific Coast League through the 2018 season. This is the seventh Major League team to have an affiliation with the Nashville Sounds since the franchise was established in 1978.
A media conference is scheduled Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 11 a.m. CDT at the downtown Omni Hotel in Nashville, Tenn., featuring Sounds Owner Frank Ward and A's officials Billy Beane (vice president and general manager), Keith Lieppman (director of player development) and Ted Polakowski (director of minor league operations).
"The Oakland A's are delighted to enter into this new association with Frank Ward and the Nashville Sounds," said A's Vice President and General Manager Billy Beane. "As we did our due diligence of available Triple-A markets, it became very clear that Nashville was the most attractive. It is a dynamic city and entertainment center with first-rate ownership, a long history of baseball, and a location that is convenient for player movement. In addition, we are excited to be part of a new era of Nashville baseball with the 2015 opening of First Tennessee Park."
Nashville's role in baseball dates back to 1885 when the city was a charter member of the old Southern League. Also fielding teams in Negro League baseball and the Southern Association during the first half of the 20th Century, the city went on a 15-year hiatus from the sport in 1963. Nashville returned to professional baseball in 1978 and over the past 37 years have held Major League affiliations with the Milwaukee Brewers (2005-14), Pittsburgh Pirates (1998-2004), Chicago White Sox (1993-97), Cincinnati Reds (1987-92, 1978-79), Detroit Tigers (1985-86) and New York Yankees (1980-84).
Today's announcement marks the end of the Athletics' 15-year relationship with Sacramento as the home of their Triple-A affiliate. During that period, the RiverCats won 11 division titles and four PCL league championships.
"We are thrilled to begin this new relationship with the A's, who hold an exciting future on both the major league and minor league levels," said Sounds Owner Frank Ward. "Oakland has an outstanding track record of success at the Triple-A level. We're looking forward to watching their next tier of stars develop at our state-of-the-art First Tennessee Park."
First Tennessee Park, which will hold approximately 10,000 fans including an outfield berm area, is owned by the City of Nashville and has been leased for 30 years by the Sounds. The new ballpark has been built on the former site of Sulphur Dell Park, where Negro League and Minor League teams played from the 19th Century to 1963.