The Greenville Drive is a minor league baseball team that plays in Greenville, South Carolina. They are a Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox and a member of the South Atlantic League. Prior to the 2005 SAL season, the team played in Columbia, South Carolina, was affiliated with the New York Mets from 1983 to 1992, and was known as the Capital City Bombers. Their mascot is a frog named Reedy Rip'it.
The Drive began their history in 1960 in Shelby, North Carolina, as the Shelby Reds. In 1983, the team moved to Columbia, which had lacked a minor league team since the departure of the Columbia Reds in 1961. The team was originally known as the Columbia Mets and made their home at Capital City Stadium. In 1993, the team changed its name to the Bombers to honor members of the Doolittle Raiders, who had conducted their initial training in Columbia.
Following the 2004 season, the Bombers changed affiliations and became the affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, who had previously been affiliated with the Augusta GreenJackets, also of the South Atlantic League. On February 11, 2005, Minor League Baseball announced that the Bombers had been granted permission to move to Greenville, where a new park opened in 2006. The Bombers would play in Greenville Municipal Stadium in 2005.
On October 27, 2005, the Bombers announced the team's name would change to the Drive. The name was chosen due to the presence of BMW US Manufacturing and Michelin in the area and, more generally, due to Greenville's rich automotive past. Residents have criticized the new name for its lack of historical relevance and failure to reflect community traditions. In fact, team owners reportedly wanted to call the team the "Joes," after Greenville County native Shoeless Joe Jackson. But Jackson is on Major League Baseball's permanent ineligibility list due to his role in the Black Sox Scandal in 1919.
The Bombers won the South Atlantic League championship in 1986, 1991, and 1998.
In 2008, outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin became the first Drive player to be selected to the annual All-Star Futures Game, which took place on July 13 at Yankee Stadium. Lin hit a two-run home run on the first pitch he saw that helped the World team beat the US Team, 3–0. He finished 2-for-2 and was named the game's Most Valuable Player. Former pitcher Clay Buchholz participated in the 2007 edition, a season after playing for the Drive.
On May 8, 2012 Greenville made history as three pitchers combined to toss the club's first ever no-hitter. Miguel Pena (six innings), Hunter Cervenka (two) and Tyler Lockwood (one) joined forces to defeat the Rome Braves (Atlanta), 1–0. A solo home run by Keury De La Cruz off David Filak in the sixth inning counted for the only run of the game.
Capital City Stadium in downtown Columbia, was the home of the Bombers. The stadium was originally built in 1927, but was completely rebuilt in 1991. Capital City Stadium has a seating capacity for 6,000 spectators, has a grass surface and features the following fence dimensions: (LF) 330 ft., CF 400 ft., RF 320 ft.
The stadium often proved inadequate for baseball due to poor field conditions. Situated in a low-lying area, Capital City Stadium features poor drainage and heavy rains often resulted in a flooded infield.
The Bombers had sought assistance from the City of Columbia in building a new stadium located in the Congaree Vista area of Columbia. Efforts to construct a stadium to be shared with the University of South Carolina's baseball team fell through when the University demanded the Bombers pay $6 million in fees upfront. Following this, Bombers owner Rich Mozingo sought to relocate the team.
Mozingo's efforts paid off when, in 2005, the Bombers relocated to Greenville, South Carolina, (see above). Following the move, the Bombers played their home contests in Greenville Municipal Stadium in Greenville, then moved to Fluor Field at the West End, in the heart of downtown Greenville. The stadium was named "Ballpark of the Year" for the 2006 season by Baseballparks.com, beating out such stadiums as St. Louis's Busch Stadium and Medlar Field at Lubrano Park in State College, Pa.
The stadium shares the dimensions of their parent club's major league park, Fenway Park, and boasts its own "Green Monster" complete with manual scoreboard and "Pesky's Pole" in right field.
The following is a list of the Greenville Drive's record for each season.
Year by Year Record as Columbia Mets
|1983||88–54||1st||John Tamargo||Lost League Finals|
|1985||79–57||2nd||Bud Harrelson / Rich Miller||Lost in 1st round|
|1986||90–42||1st||Tucker Ashford||League Champs|
|1990||83–60||1st||Bill Stein||Lost in 1st round|
|1991||86–54||2nd||Tim Blackwell||League Champs|
Year by Year Record as Greenville Bombers/Drive
|Year||Team Name||Wins||Losses||W-L %||Manager|
|2005||Greenville Bombers||72||66||.522||Chad Epperson|
|2006||Greenville Drive||67||73||.479||Luis Alicea|
|2007||Greenville Drive||58||81||.417||Gabe Kapler|
|2008||Greenville Drive||70||69||.504||Kevin Boles|
|2009||Greenville Drive||73||65||.529||Kevin Boles|
|2010||Greenville Drive||77||62||.554||Billy McMillon|
|2011||Greenville Drive||78||62||.557||Billy McMillon|
|2012||Greenville Drive||66||73||.475||Carlos Febles|
|2013||Greenville Drive||51||87||.370||Carlos Febles|
In popular culture
- , Sox Prospects Wiki. Retrieved on 2008-06-22
- "Ryan Lavarnway Minor League Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
- Michael Vega (June 17, 2011). "Lavarnway swings into action with Pawtucket". Boston Globe. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
- MiLB.com – Rome 0, at Greensville 1 box score
- , GreenvilleDrive.com Westend Park. Retrieved on 2008-06-22.
- , GreenvilleDrive.com 2006 Stadium of the Year Article . Retrieved on 2008-06-22.
- Baseball Reference
- http://www.ballparkdigest.com/visits/greenville.htm – Ballpark Digest visit to West End Field
- http://www.greenvilledrive.com – Official website of the Greenville Drive
- http://news.greenvilleonline.com/blogs/bwright/archives/2005_11.html – Bart Wright's criticism of name change to "Greenville Drive."
- Over The Monster :: A Boston Red Sox Blog