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Dave Stewart And The Nashville Stars

Bringing Major League Baseball to Nashville

Dave Stewart and the Nashville Stars leadership team are ready for Major League Baseball to come to Nashville. Specifically, a minority-majority, Black-owned major league team that focuses on diversity, inclusion and equity.

“Major League Baseball has minority representation ownership through Arte Moreno with the Anaheim Angels,” says Dave, who is a former pitcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, Oakland Athletics, and Toronto Blue Jays, as well as an All-Star and a three-time World Series Champion. “But there’s never been a majority Afro-American team ownership. So leadership started having conversations with team owners, staying close to the commissioner's office, and having conversations there. I learned as much as possible so this process can succeed.”

This city has a rich baseball history with the Negro Leagues, and Dave wants to honor that. After a presentation to the baseball commissioner, Rob Manfred, petitioning to bring a team here, the commissioner acknowledged that the Nashville Stars deserved to be seriously considered. 

“Before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, the Negro Leagues were doing very well,” he says. “They had Black ownership except for one team, and it was a successful league. Years after Jackie broke that barrier, the Negro League deteriorated and went away. We want to honor that history.”

The original Nashville Stars were part of the Negro League.

Dave believes baseball should represent who we are as a country and nation. The Nashville Stars leadership is focused on diversity and inclusion; that doesn’t mean just who’s on the field. “You’ll walk through the offices of the Nashville Stars, and if you get a peek at the decision-makers, they will look like what our country is representative of, in all aspects. When people hear 'majority Afro-American owned,' they get the impression of sole Black ownership. That is not the intent or the story at all. The story is that Afro-American ownership breaks a barrier in baseball, but everyone is accepted. The 51% is the majority, leaving 49% for everyone else. This is the right thing to do for Major League Baseball,” he says. 

“I’ve been in this sport for 48 years,” Dave continues. “I’ve been an executive, a player, an agent, and a broadcaster. There’s a place for this idea, and we’re putting everything we have in it. Right now, we’re looking at north Nashville, and we have 200 acres. Everything that’s happening in Nashville proper hasn’t extended to north Nashville. So we have an opportunity to build a community. There are four historically Black colleges and universities all within walking distance of each other in the area: Tennessee State University, Fisk University, Meharry College, and the American Baptist College. It’s an economic driver, allowing the area to flourish and grow.” 

With a roster of advisers from Luke Combs to Tony La Russa, the future is bright for the Nashville Stars. “Since early in my childhood, I loved the game of baseball and what it stood for,” Dave says. “As baseball has advanced through the years, through all the great commissioners that we had, the game has evolved. It recognizes all nationalities and all types of people. The one place it hasn’t reached is minority-majority ownership, and I believe the game is ready for it."

"The story is that Afro-American ownership breaks a barrier in baseball, but everyone is accepted. The 51% is the majority, leaving 49% for everyone else."