Vanderbilt super fan Bart Leathers will receive Mr. Baseball award posthumously – The Tennessean

Local baseball enthusiast Bart Leathers, who died on Dec. 26, will receive the 2019 Mr. Baseball award from the Nashville Old Timers Baseball Association. (Photo: Submitted)

Local baseball enthusiast Bart Leathers, who died on Dec. 26, will be named the 2019 Mr. Baseball by the Nashville Old Timers Baseball Association at the organization’s 81st annual banquet on Wednesday.

Leathers, who was 68, was told he was the recipient of the award shortly before his death by the association’s president, Nick Hiter.

“Every possible way you could be involved in baseball, Bart was involved,”  Hiter said.  “As an administrator, he ran and organized leagues. He played in leagues, he umpired, he coached, he worked in sporting goods. The adult baseball league in Nashville would not exist if not for Bart.”

Leathers played in a 50-and-over baseball tournament in November and planned, as he had every year since his youth, to start playing again in the spring.

He was an attorney who graduated from Vanderbilt and remained close to the Commodores baseball program throughout his life.

”Bart was the ultimate positive life force,” Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said. “He was one of those individuals that lit up a room when he entered it. An organization, a team, an environment, was better if Bart was a part of it. I met him when I first arrived in Nashville in 2002 and he made me feel like family immediately. I loved that man.”

Bart Leathers was still playing baseball at the age of 68. (Photo: Submitted)

Leathers was on the first baseball team at Stratford High and a starting center on the school’s football team that went to the Clinic Bowl in 1967.

Mr. Baseball is the highest award given annually by the NOBA.

Corbin received the award in 2016 after leading Vanderbilt to the College Baseball World Series championship in 2014 and runner-up in 2015.

Other recipients include three-time NAIA national champion coach Woody Hunt from Cumberland; former Vanderbilt coach and Nashville Sounds founder Larry SchmittouChris Mercado, who led South Nashville to the Little League World Series in 2013 and 2014; Sam Whitmon, who started the Tennessee State baseball program and later served as athletics director; legendary Nashville Vols player Buster Boguskie;  and longtime Negro League star Butch McCord,   

In 2013 Leathers was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Roy Hobbs Baseball, a national organization for adult baseball.

He umpired in the amateur leagues and on the high school, junior college, NAIA and NCAA levels.

“I don’t know how he found time to do all of the things he did,” Hiter said. “I don’t know how he found the time to run the leagues that he did and umpire and continue to play the game. He also was was a very successful attorney and on top of all of that, he was a great dad, granddad and husband.”


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NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

The eighth annual game is Jan. 19 (4 p.m.) at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Cal.

Stockstill, who owns every MTSU major passing record including 12,485 career yards and 106 touchdowns, will play for the National team along with Blue Raiders linebacker Darius Harris, who recorded 96 tackles including 11 for losses. 

Notre Dame kicker Justin Yoon, who is from Nashville, is also on the National roster.

Tennessee defensive tackle Shy Tuttle, who had 33 tackles and a sack, is on the American roster.

Former Titans receiver Nate Washington will coach the National team receivers and and tight end Alge Crumpler will coach the tight ends.

Former Titans receiver Andre Johnson will coach the American team receivers.

► More: As MTSU QB Brent Stockstill winds up stellar career, thank his mom — a behind-the-scenes legend


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UT, MTSU and Austin Peay players in Tropical Bowl

Madre London (Photo: Tennessee Athletics)

Three area players — Tennessee running back Madre London, MTSU defensive back Darryl Randolph and Austin Peay offensive lineman Byron Glass — will play in the Tropical Bowl on Sunday. 

The fourth annual game will be at Daytona Stadium in Daytona Beach, Fla. at 9 a.m. CT.

London, a graduate transfer from Michigan State, rushed for 206 yards on 42 carries and scored three touchdowns this past season. 

Randolph recorded 48 tackles and an interception while Glass helped Austin Peay lead the OVC and finish 16th in the FCS in rushing offense (237.5 yards).

Ex-Vandy pitcher joins Reds staff

Former Mt. Juliet and Vanderbilt pitcher Caleb Cotham was named assistant pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds.

Cotham, 31, retired as a player for the Reds in 2017. 

Earlier in the offseason the Reds named former Vanderbilt pitching coach Derek Johnson as their pitching coach. Johnson was at Vanderbilt from 2002-12.

Other recent hires with local ties include former Tennessee infielder Jeff Pickler (game planning/outfield coach), along with former Nashville Sounds Turner Ward (hitting coach), J.R. House (third base and catching coach) and Freddie Benavides (bench coach). 

Championship game TV ratings dip

The local television rating for the national championship football game Monday night was 24.2.

That means 247,276 Nashville households tuned in to see Clemson beat Alabama 44-16 in Santa Clara, California.

That was down 4.1 points from last year’s championship game between Alabama and Georgia, which earned a 28.3. It means 41,894 fewer households watched.


Speedway Motorsports has struck a deal that paves the way for NASCAR’s return Nashville and for weekly racing to remain at the venerable short track.
Michael Schwab, Nashville Tennessean

NASCAR awards banquet could come to Nashville 

Butch Spyridon (Photo: File)

Butch Spyridon, CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, confirmed he is negotiating a deal that could bring the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series awards banquet to town.

The banquet has been in Las Vegas the past 10 years. The 2018 awards were on Nov. 29 at the Wynn Hotel.

“We have been in talks with NASCAR for quite some time,” Spyridon said. “While we love the speculation (and hope there is substance), we do not have any signed contracts at this time. It would be inappropriate to comment at this time.”

► More: Track operator strikes deal with Speedway Motorsports to return NASCAR to Nashville

Ex-Vandy football player Tate Rich writes golf book

Former Vanderbilt football player Tate Rich has written a book on the new rules of golf. (Photo: Submitted)

Former Montgomery Bell Academy and Vanderbilt football player Tate Rich has written a book on golf  “Don’t Be a Club Short! Learn the New Rules of Golf 2019.”

Rich was an all-state defensive end at MBA in 1971 who went on to play at Vanderbilt.

He is a longtime member of Belle Meade Country Club and has been an avid golfer and stickler for the rules of golf over the last four decades.

The new USGA rules took effect on Jan. 1.

Rich attended a three-day seminar on the revised rules at the Golf House in Liberty Corner, N.J., in September.   

Kevin Carter is grand marshal for Music City Half Marathon

Kevin Carter (Photo: Submitted)

Former Titan Kevin Carter will serve as grand marshal of the 13th annual St. Patrick’s Music City Half Marathon on March 16.

The start and finish line will be at Nissan Stadium. The 13.1-mile course winds along the banks of the Cumberland River and through downtown.

The event benefits the Pedigree Foundation, and there will also be a 1-mile dog walk along with a 5K run. To sign up visit

Fairgrounds Speedway 2019 schedule set 

The Fairgrounds Nashville Speedway has set dates for its 2019 races.

The season will begin April 13-14 with the All America 400 makeup race. The 2018 race was canceled in the fall because of rain.

The points standing series races will be May 11, May 30, June 22, July 13, Aug. 10, Sept. 7 and Oct. 5.

A World of Outlaws dirt race will be on June 1 and the 2019 All America 400 on Nov. 2-3.

Lebanon Hall of Fame coach Brent Foster dies

Longtime Lebanon High baseball coach Brent Foster died on Tuesday. He was 76.

Foster was the Midstate’s all-time winningest coach when he resigned in 1975. He had  a record of 259-52 in his 10-year career. Foster’s teams won eight district titles.

He was inducted in the inaugural class (2007) of the Lebanon High Sports Hall of Fame.

Belmont restructures tennis program

Belmont athletics director Scott Corley restructured the school’s tennis program and named Mauricio Antun director of tennis.

Mark Srouji resigned as the women’s coach after last season.

Antun had been the men’s tennis coach since 2016. 

In his new role Antun, a former Belmont standout who was the 2014 OVC player of the year, will coach the men’s and women’s programs.

As part of the restructuring, Michael Mucci has been hired as assistant coach of the men’s and women’s teams.

Sports on Nashville TV

The top five local ratings for sporting events from Dec. 31-Jan. 6:
1. NFC Wild Card Game: Eagles-Bears, 23.3
2. AFC Wild Card Game: Chargers-Ravens, 21.3
3. NFC Wild Card Game: Cowboys-Seahawks, 17.5 
4. AFC Wild Card Game: Colts-Texans 17.3
5. Sugar Bowl: Georgia-Texas, 14.0 
Each rating point is equal to 10,218 Nashville homes.
Source: Mark Binda, WTVF-5 senior programming director

If you have an item for Midstate Chatter contact Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 or on Twitter @MikeOrganWriter.





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