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Big South League

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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.

[edit] 1996

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.

1996 Standings
First Half Second Half
Team Wins Losses WPCT GB Manager Team Wins Losses WPCT GB Manager
Tennessee Tomahawks 22 12 .629 -- Mike O'Berry Pine Bluff Locomotives 21 15 .583 -- Bobby Clark
Pine Bluff Locomotives 21 15 .583 1.5 Bobby Clark Columbia Mules 21 15 .583 -- Barry Lyons
Columbia Mules 18 16 .529 3.5 Barry Lyons Greenville Bluesmen 19 17 .528 2 Lyle Yates
Greenville Bluesmen 16 19 .457 6 Lyle Yates Tennessee Tomahawks 18 18 .500 3 Mike O'Berry
Clarksville Coyotes 16 20 .444 6.5 Nate Colbert Clarksville Coyotes 15 21 .417 6 Nate Colbert
Meridian Brakemen 12 22 .353 9.5 Jose Santiago Meridian Brakemen 14 22 .389 7 Jose Santiago

[edit] 1997

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.

1997 Standings
First Half Second Half
Team Wins Losses WPCT GB Manager Team Wins Losses WPCT GB Manager
Meridian Brakemen 23 12 .657 -- Jose Santiago Greenville Bluesmen 20 6 .769 -- Jim Darrington
Tupelo Tornado 19 11 .633 1.5 Steve Dillard Tupelo Tornado 21 7 .750 1 Steve Dillard
Greenville Bluesmen 19 14 .576 3 Jim Darrington Meridian Brakemen 9 17 .346 11 Jose Santiago
Tennessee Walkers 4 28 .125 17.5 Jeff McCall Tennessee Walkers 4 24 .143 17 Jeff McCall

[edit] Cities Represented

Independent leagues in North America (after 1993)
Active leagues
American Association Frontier League
Atlantic League Pecos League
Can-Am Association United League
Defunct leagues
All-American Association · Arizona-Mexico League · Atlantic Coast League · Big South League · Central Baseball League ·
Empire State League · Golden State League · Golden Baseball League · Great Central League · Heartland League · Mid-America League · North American League ·
North Atlantic League · North Central League · Northeast League · Northern League · Continental League · Prairie League ·
South Coast League · Southeastern League · Texas-Louisiana League · Western Baseball League
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