I had the opportunity this past week to be given inside knowledge of the name change of the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx baseball club of the Double-A Southern League. I was sworn to secrecy, and I did my best to keep it to myself.
The team has gone back to its baseball roots and remade itself as the Jackson Generals.
I was excited when I heard about it. Eleven years ago, I published a book on the history of minor league baseball in my hometown entitled Jackson Diamonds: Professional Baseball in Jackson, Tennessee. In it, I chronicled each season, giving the reader an idea of its ebb and flow: how the team fared in the Kitty League pennant race, distinctive player performances and achievements, and lots of anecdotes. The Generals played in the Kitty League from 1935 to 1942, then came back from 1950 to 1954.
The Diamond Jaxx (now the Generals) allowed me to take part in the event and even sell a few books after the game. I had the chance to be interviewed by a local television station and radio station. And since the announcement was made, I’ve heard and read what local fans think of the new name. I was surprised with the loyalty some of them expressed for the Diamond Jaxx name. I never really warmed up to the nickname myself; it reminded me too much of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Some thought it had something to do with Jackson-Madison County General Hospital ( I had never thought of that one) or that it was taking the name of the local community college’s baseball team.
Many fans (especially those born after the Generals folded almost 60 years ago) have no clue what the new name means, or the history behind it. I would encourage every baseball fan in Jackson and West Tennessee to purchase a copy of my book. It’s really a fascinating history, if I do say so myself.