Texas-Louisiana League (2000)
Born: 2000 – Texas-Louisiana League expansion team.
Died: Postseason 2000 – The DiamondKats cease operations.
Stadium: Smith-Wills Stadium
For a quarter century, Jackson, Mississippi was the Eastern outpost of the Class AA Texas League. From 1975 to 1999 the city hosted farm clubs for New York Mets and Houston Astros and saw future superstars such as Darryl Strawberry, Kevin Mitchell, Bobby Abreu, Billy Wagner, Carlos Guillen and Lance Berkman come through Smith-Wills Stadium on the way to the Majors.
But after the 1999 season the Astros and the Texas League pulled out of Jackson in favor of a brand new $25 million palace on offer in the Austin, Texas suburb of Round Rock. The independent Texas-Louisiana League quickly filled to void, placing the Jackson DiamondKats franchise at Smith-Wills in time for the 2000 season.
The DiamondKats lone player of note – and the only one on the roster ever to play in the Bigs - was 10-year Major League veteran outfielder Mark Carreon. Carreon was originally a draft pick of the New York Mets and actually spent the 1984 and 1985 seasons playing for the old Jackson Mets in the Texas League. 36 years old by this time, Carreon hit .340 for the DiamondKats, which placed him 9th in the Tex-La league in hitting, and then retired after the season.
Jackson fans weren’t impressed with the caliber of independent baseball after 25 years in the Texas League. The DiamondKats averaged well under 1,000 fans per night and folded at the end of their first and only season in 2000.