Founded in 1979
Greensboro, North Carolina
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||South Atlantic League|
|Piedmont League (1920-1932) |
North Carolina State League (1913–1917)
Carolina Association (1908–1912)
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Pittsburgh Pirates (from 2019)|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles (4)|
|Division titles (8)|
|Colors||Green, orange, ecru, black|
|Ballpark||First National Bank Field (2005–present)|
|World War Memorial Stadium (1979–2004)|
|Greensboro Baseball LLC|
|General Manager||Donald Moore|
The Greensboro Grasshoppers are a Minor League Baseball team of the South Atlantic League and the Class A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. They are located in Greensboro, North Carolina, and play their home games at First National Bank Field, which opened in 2005 and seats 7,499 fans.
The team's logo was changed to a cartoon Grasshopper prior to the inaugural season at the new ballpark. Fans selected the name "Guilford" (Greensboro's county's name) for the team's mascot, a giant grasshopper. Prior to that, all home games for the Hornets and Bats were held at World War Memorial Stadium, just northeast of downtown Greensboro.
Greensboro has fielded professional teams since the early 1900s, in several different leagues. Early on, the nickname Greensboro Patriots was applied to those teams, in reference to the Battle of Guilford Court House.
There were a few false starts. In 1902 local cotton broker Leon J. Brandt fielded a Greensboro team in the North Carolina League, but the league failed in mid-season. The Virginia-North Carolina League of 1905 included a Greensboro franchise, also owned by Brandt. The league completed its season but disbanded thereafter.
The Patriots joined the Carolina Association in 1908 and began a run of 10 straight seasons in pro ball. The league was reorganized as the North Carolina Association for 1913 and renamed itself the North Carolina State League in 1916. The league played one more season and then disbanded after 1917. By then, America's involvement in World War I was well under way, and many minor leagues folded after 1917.
With peacetime, interest in professional baseball and the minor leagues revived. The Greensboro Patriots were revived as well, joining the newly formed Piedmont League in 1920, winning its inaugural championship. The Patriots also won the league title in 1926. In 1930, the club began a five-year affiliation with the St. Louis Cardinals.
After the Cardinals contract expired, the franchise transferred to Asheville Tourists in 1935. Five years later, minor league ball returned to Greensboro for a couple of years, with another Piedmont League entry called the Greensboro Red Sox, which played during 1941–1942.
After the Piedmont League years, another Greensboro team operated in the Carolina League during 1945–1968. The club was known variously as the Patriots (1945–1951), the Greensboro Pirates (1952–1954), the Patriots again (1955–1957), the Greensboro Yankees (1958–67), and the Patriots once again (1968). Following the 1968 season, Greensboro dropped out of professional ball for the next ten years, during a time when minor league baseball had lost popularity. That situation would start to change for the better in the late 1970s, and Greensboro would benefit from it.
The minors returned to Greensboro in 1979, with a new entry in the Western Carolinas League. The WCL renamed itself as the South Atlantic League the next year, reviving the name once used by the Southern League. Abandoning the old nickname of "Patriots", which by then was best known for the New England Patriots of the NFL, the new club instead decided to adopt the nickname Greensboro Hornets. That nickname was better known for teams based in Charlotte, but the Charlotte Hornets baseball team had abandoned its nickname after the 1973 season, and the new Greensboro team adopted it. Some naming rights complications arose when the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA began play in 1988. The nicknames co-existed in the state until 1994, when the Hornets settled with the NBA and changed their name to the punning nickname Greensboro Bats. Consequently, the team mascot switched from a hornet to a flying bat wielding a baseball bat.
With the move from 80-year-old War Memorial Stadium to the new park in 2005, the club further expanded its corporate face-lift by changing nicknames again, to the alliterative Greensboro Grasshoppers.
In 2009, Master Yogi Berra, a black Labrador who has been "a fixture" at Grasshoppers games since then, became the only dog ever thrown out of a professional baseball game for "leaving a mess in the outfield."
In 2011, the Grasshoppers won 13 of their last 15 regular season games to make the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. After winning the second half of the season in the Northern Division, the Grasshoppers went on to beat the Savannah Sand Gnats in five games to win the South Atlantic League championship, their first title in 29 years.
In 2012, the Grasshoppers won the SAL Northern Division first half championship by posting a record of 46–24. They went on to win the Northern Division title with a 2-0 sweep of the Hagerstown Suns in the first round of the playoffs, but lost the Championship Series 3-1 to the Asheville Tourists.
The Greensboro clubs initially played their home games at Cone Athletic Park, better known as simply Cone Park, a small facility on the grounds of the Cone Mills textile plant. World War Memorial Stadium opened in 1926 (on Armistice Day), but the Patriots continued to play at Cone Park until 1930, when the addition of lights and other improvements to the Stadium, spurred by the affiliation with the Cardinals, resulted in the team moving to the Stadium. The various Greensboro clubs would call the Stadium "home" for the next 75 years. The franchise moved from 80-year-old War Memorial Stadium to First National Bank Field in 2005.
Notable Franchise alumni
Hall of Fame alumni
- Johnny Allen (1945) MLB All-Star
- Luis Arroyo (1948) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Curt Blefary (1962-1963) 1965 AL Rookie of the Year
- Jim Bouton (1960) Author; MLB All-Star
- Mace Brown (1930) MLB All-Star
- Robinson Cano (2002) 8 x MLB All-Star
- Chris Coghlan (2007) 2009 NL Rookie of the Year
- Scott Cooper (1987) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Carl Everett (1991) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Jose Fernández 2 x MLB All-Star; 2013 NL Rookie of the Year
- Wes Ferrell (1949) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Dave Ferriss (1942) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Ken Forsch (1968) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Greg Gagne (1980-1981)
- Sterling Hitchcock (1990)
- Rex Hudler (1980)
- Stan Javier (1983)
- Derek Jeter (1992-1993) 14 x AL All-Star; 1995 AL Rookie of the Year; 2000 World Series Most Valuable Player
- Josh Johnson (2003, 2008) 2 x MLB All-Star; 2010 NL ERA Leader
- Nick Johnson (1997)
- Roberto Kelly (1983) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Mike Lowell (1996) 4 x MLB All-Star; 2007 World Series Most Valuable Player
- Bill Lee (1930) 2 x MLB All-Star; 1938 NL ERA Leader
- Ken McBride (1955-1956) 3 x MLB All-Star
- Don Mattingly (1980) 6 x MLB All-Star ; 1984 AL Batting Title; 1985 AL Most Valuable Player
- John Mayberry (1968) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Bill Monbouquette (1957) 4 x MLB All-Star
- Otis Nixon (1980)
- Fritz Ostermueller (1931)
- Marcell Ozuna (2011) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Mike Pagliarulo (1982)
- Fritz Peterson (1965) MLB All-Star
- Andy Pettitte (1992) 3 x MLB All-Star
- Jorge Posada (1992) 5 x MLB All-Star
- Rip Radcliff (1948) MLB All-Star
- Mariano Rivera (1991, 1993) 13 x MLB All-Star; 1999 World Series Most Valuable Player; All-Time MLB Saves Leader
- Reggie Sanders (1989) MLB All-Star
- Curt Schilling (1987) 6 x MLB All-Star; World Series Most Valuable Player
- Ernie Shore (1913)
- Russ Springer (1990)
- Giancarlo Stanton (2008) 4 x MLB All-Star; 2 x NL Home Run Leader (2014, 2017); 2017 NL Most Valuable Player
- Mel Stottlemyre (1962) 5 x MLB All-Star
- Eddie Taubensee (1987)
- Jim Turner (1926) MLB All-Star; 1937 NL ERA Leader
- Tom Tresh (1959) 3 x MLB All Star; 1962 AL Rookie of the Year
Greensboro alumni who are currently on Major League rosters:
- Austin Barnes, catcher, LA Dodgers
- Mark Canha, first baseman, Oakland A's
- Robinson Canó, second baseman, Seattle Mariners
- Steve Cishek, pitcher, Chicago Cubs
- Adam Conley, pitcher, Miami Marlins
- Brad Hand, pitcher, Cleveland Indians
- Dan Jennings, pitcher, Milwaukee Brewers
- Tom Koehler, pitcher, Los Angeles Dodgers
- Marcell Ozuna, outfielder, St. Louis Cardinals
- J. T. Realmuto, catcher, Miami Marlins
- Giancarlo Stanton, outfielder, New York Yankees
- Jose Urena, pitcher, Miami Marlins
- Jason Vargas, pitcher, New York Mets
- Nick Wittgren, pitcher, Miami Marlins
- Christian Yelich, outfielder, Milwaukee Brewers
- J.T. Riddle, infielder, Miami Marlins
- Domingo Germán, pitcher, New York Yankees
- Jarlin Garcia, pitcher, Miami Marlins
- Drew Steckenrider, pitcher, Miami Marlins
- Brian Anderson, third baseman, Miami Marlins
- Colin Moran, infielder, Pittsburgh Pirates
- Luis Castillo, pitcher, Cincinnati Reds
- Grant Dayton, pitcher, Atlanta Braves
- Jose Alvarez, pitcher, Los Angeles Angels
- Andrew Heaney, pitcher, Los Angeles Angels
Greensboro Grasshoppers roster
7-day disabled list
- Professional Baseball Franchises, Peter Filichia, Facts on File Books, 1993.
- Baseball in North Carolina's Piedmont, Chris Holaday, Arcadia, 2002.
- Holaday, Chris (1998). Professional Baseball in North Carolina: An Illustrated City-by-city History, 1901-1996. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. ISBN 978-0786425532.
- Mills, Jeff (July 14, 2017). "Hoppers dog Yogi's cancer diagnosed as inoperable". News & Record. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
- Mills, Jeff (September 21, 2018). "Grensboro Grasshoppers agree to two-year deal with Pittsburgh Pirates". News & Record. Retrieved September 21, 2018.