The disastrous fruits of the South Atlantic (Sally) League’s expansion from 6 to 8 teams explode with the sale of the Macon Peaches to new owners and the transfer of the Charleston Sea Dogs to Knoxville.
After the Starr brothers, owners of the Macon franchise, announce the team is insolvent and in need of $1,800 by July 1 to meet expenses (including $ 1,300 for player salaries) local businessman meet, forming a new ownership group. Before explicitly announcing their financial troubles, the Macon owners had publicly toyed with the notion of moving the team to Knoxville.
Charleston’s problems had been evident since late May when team president and manager Wilson Mathews and secretary-treasurer C.W. Eisenfielder parted ways, with Eisenfielder returning to his home in Galveston Texas. One month later, Mathews announces the team needs $500 immediately if baseball is to continue in Charleston. On June 22, Chattanooga owner O.B. Andrews travels to Charleston, taking over the team on behalf of the league. (Walter Morris is named manager as Mathews departs.)
At a meeting of league directors held on July 1, a decision is reached to move the Charleston team to Knoxville, and split the season with the first half ending two days later, on July 3 and the second season starting on July 5. (July 4 fell on Sunday, and no Sally teams played on Sunday.) Fan apathy was spreading in other cities as well, thanks to Chattanooga’s 46-14 record and to Chattanooga and Columbus being the only two teams playing above .500 ball.
Knoxville’s debut in the Sally was inauspicious. The Smokies lost their first game 1-0, as Columbia’s Dutch Wagner threw a no-hitter.