The Big South League was an independent league that began play in 1996, based in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi. After two seasons of declining attendance, the circuit folded.
In its first year, the six-team circuit had an NHL-style playoff system where the regular season becomes meaningless; the Greenville Bluesmen swept the Columbia Mules to win the championship despite a sub-.500 record. The MVP and Pitcher of the Year was Les Lancaster, who was 12-2 with a 3.03 ERA for the Pine Bluff Locomotives. Another former big leaguer, pitcher John Dopson of the Tennessee Tomahawks, posted a league-best 2.95 ERA. Catcher Jason Townley of Pine Bluff led the circuit in hitting with a .362 average, while outfielder Stanton Cameron, who split his season between Columbia and the Meridian Brakemen, paced the league with 21 home runs. The league also featured first basemen Andre Keene being traded from Meridian to Greenville for cash and a Muddy Waters vinyl record, another sign of how seriously it took itself.
When three Tennessee teams left to join the Heartland League, the circuit shrank to four teams for its second year and attendance fell drastically, from over 200,000 to under 100,000. One of the four teams (the Tennessee Walkers) wasn't able to support itself financially and was taken over by the league two weeks into the year. Greenville won its second championship, sweeping Meridian in three games to capture the title. Greenville pitcher Matt Miller led the league in wins (12), ERA (2.26), and strikeouts (129), and Jerrone Williams of the Tupelo Tornado posted a circuit-best .371 batting average and 11 homers.
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