/After 40 years, what was once Mayor’s Trophy is still cherished as Governor’s Cup

After 40 years, what was once Mayor’s Trophy is still cherished as Governor’s Cup

The annual game has been played in Jackson for 40 years. The Mayor’s Trophy was the original name of the game, and it was played at Smith-Wills Stadium since 1980. The Governor’s Cup was created in 2007 when the game moved to Trustmark, Pearl. In 1980, Jackson was home to the first series. Dale Danks was the mayor of Jackson. Danks recalls that he was the one who threw out the first pitch, and then handed Ron Polk the trophy. Danks’ memory is much better than mine. I had to report that first game for Clarion Ledger. This is something I only remember now because newspapers.com reminded of me while I was researching this article. State defeated Ole Miss 9-2 in 1980 before an estimated crowd of 4,300. According to the legend, Bruce Castoria, the Bulldogs’ bull-strong pitcher, hit a home run as well as a double. Castoria’s homerun produced the first series run. Now, fast forward 27 years and we have Gov. After State beat the Rebels 14-9, Haley Barbour, an Ole Miss woman, presented Polk the first Governor’s Cup. This was in front of a record crowd exceeding 8,000. Polk and Pete Boone, the Ole Miss athletic director, expressed regrets at leaving Smith-Wills, but stated that there were at least 3,000 more seats available, making the move an easy decision. No matter if the game is named after a mayor, governor or other official, it has not been included in the SEC standings. However, the large attendance that has attended each year seems to have noticed. Polk said, “You remember when the game began way back when Ole Miss was already playing six times in home and-home series. The Mayor’s Trophy was the seventh match between arch-rivals. Polks stated that he recalled that the winning team would always bring the trophy to the bus in case they lost. “The trophy always went back to the winning team.” In the early years at Smith-Wills where parking was scarce, many fans parked almost a mile down Lakeland Avenue. Con Maloney, the long-term owner of Jackson Mets, said that “it was a money game.” “Ole Miss and State split that gate, but we received concessions which was good money at the time. It would have been a great idea to sell beer at college games back then. It would have been very profitable. Security was a problem as many people tried to sneak whiskey into flasks. There were also times when fans poured over onto foul territory along the left-field and right field lines, with only a rope keeping them from the field. Polk said, “I believe that if there was parking and seating we could have sold 15 to 20 thousand tickets for some games back then.” He also stated that he believed that Ole Miss and State fans would come together for a game tiddlywinks and still shout for each other to go to hell. State is currently leading the Jackson-area series, 21-18, based on winning the last three meetings, and five out of six of the last 6. You should also be aware that Ole Miss won in 2006 the Mayor’s Trophy Game with the lowest score of 1-0 in series history. Mike Bianco, Ole Miss’s coach, recalls. Bianco stated, “That was the night Will Kline became Will Kline” Bianco said that “He pitched really well, and Zack Cozart hit an individual home run for the sole run.” But that is not what Bianco most remembers. Ron Polk presented Bianco with the Mayor’s Trophy. The decision to move the series from Pearl had already been made. Polk said to Bianco, “Now you can keep this forever.” Bianco has so far. Bianco has so far.