Founded in 1977
Greenville, South Carolina
|Minor league affiliations|
|League||South Atlantic League|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Boston Red Sox (2005–present)|
|Minor league titles|
|League titles (4)|
|Division titles (1)||2017|
|Nickname||Greenville Drive (2006–present)|
|Ballpark||Fluor Field at the West End (2006–present)|
|General Manager||Eric Jarinko|
The Greenville Drive are a Minor League Baseball team based 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 1981 to 2004, and was known as the Capital City Bombers. Their mascot is a frog named Reedy Rip'it. In 2017, the team defeated the Kannapolis Intimidators 3 games to 1 to win the franchise's first championship since becoming the Greenville Drive in 2006.
The Drive began their history in 1977 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. The Bombers won the South Atlantic League championship in 1986, 1991, and 1998.
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. An alternative name was chosen after Shoeless Joe Jackson called the Joes but Major League Baseball vetoed the name due to his role in the Black Sox Scandal in 1919.
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.
What follows are records of the Shelby Reds, Shelby Pirates, Shelby Mets, Columbia Mets, Capital City Bombers, Greenville Bombers, and Greenville Drive for each season.
|1977||Reds||Western Carolinas League||60–79||.432||5th||Jim Lett|
|1978||Reds||Western Carolinas League||75–64||.540||2nd||Jim Lett||None held|
|1979||Pirates||Western Carolinas League||56–78||.418||6th||Tom Zimmer|
|1980||Pirates||South Atlantic League||North||58–80||.420||4th||8th||Joe Frisina|
|1981||Mets||South Atlantic League||South||59–83||.415||5th||9th||Dan Monzon|
|1982||Mets||South Atlantic League||North||77–63||.550||2nd||2nd||Rich Miller|
|1983||South||88–54||.620||1st||1st||John Tamargo||Lost to Gastonia Expos, 3–2|
|Lost to Florence Blue Jays, 2–0|
|1986||South||90–42||.682||1st||1st||Tucker Ashford||Defeated Asheville Tourists, 3–1|
|1990||South||83–60||.580||1st||1st||Bill Stein||Lost to Savannah Cardinals, 2–0|
|1991||South||86–54||.614||1st||2nd||Tim Blackwell||Defeated Columbus Indians, 2–0|
Defeated Charleston Wheelers, 3–0
In 1984 and 1992, the team did not qualify for the playoffs because they did not win their division in either half of the season.
Harrelson was named third base coach of the 1985 Mets on May 17, and was replaced by Miller.
Capital City Bombers
|1996||Central||82–57||.590||2nd||2nd||Howie Freiling||Lost to Asheville Tourists, 2–0|
|Lost to Greensboro Bats, 2–0|
|1998||Central||90–51||.638||1st||1st||Doug Davis||Defeated Piedmont Boll Weevils, 2–0|
Defeated Hagerstown Suns, 2–1
Defeated Greensboro Bats, 2–1
|1999||Central||83–58||.589||1st||2nd||Dave Engle||Defeated Greensboro Bats, 2–1|
Lost to Cape Fear Crocs, 2–0
|2000||South||56–81||.409||7th||13th (t)||John Stephenson|
|2002||South||75–64||.540||3rd||6th||Tony Tijerina||Lost to Columbus RedStixx, 2–1|
|2004||South||89–47||.654||1st||1st||Jack Lind||Defeated Charleston RiverDogs, 2–0|
Lost to Hickory Crawdads, 3–0
The team was known as the "Columbia Bombers" during the 1994 season.
Mansolino resigned on June 18, at the request of the Mets, following the alcohol-related death of player Tim Bishop in April; he was replaced by Stephenson.
|2005||North||72–66||.522||2nd (t)||6th (t)||Chad Epperson|
|2009||Southern||73–65||.529||5th||Kevin Boles||Lost in the league finals|
|2010||Southern||77–62||.554||3rd||Billy McMillon||Lost in the league finals|
|2016||Southern||70–69||.504||3rd (t)||8th (t)||Darren Fenster|
|2017||Southern||79–60||.568||1st||1st||Darren Fenster||Defeated Charleston in semifinals, 2–1|
Defeated Kannapolis in finals, 3–1
Division finish and league rank columns are based on overall regular season records. The South Atlantic League utilizes a split-season, with first-half winners and second-half winners of each division meeting in the playoffs; if the same team wins both halves of the season, the team with the next best overall record is selected.
Greenville Drive roster
7-day disabled list
Notable Greenville alumni
Hall of Fame alumni
- Tommy Lasorda (1949) Inducted, 1997
- Nolan Ryan (1966) Inducted, 1999
- John Smoltz (1986, 1998) Inducted, 2015
- Steve Avery (2000) MLB All-Star
- Mookie Betts (2013) 3 x MLB All-Star
- Xander Bogaerts (2011) MLB All-Star
- Clay Buchholz (2006) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Rick Burleson (1971) 4 x MLB All-Star
- Paul Byrd (2004) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Vinny Castilla (1990) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Cecil Cooper (1969) 5 x MLB All-Star
- Bo Diaz (1971) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Jermaine Dye (1995) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Dwight Evans (1970) 3 x MLB All-Star
- Rafael Furcal (2000) 3 x MLB All-Star; 2000 NL Rookie of the Year
- Cito Gaston (1964) MLB All-Star
- Marcus Giles (2000) MLB All-Star
- Bryan Harvey (1997) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Andruw Jones (1996) 5 x MLB All-Star; 10 x Gold Glove
- Chipper Jones (1992) 8 x MLB All-Star; 1999 NL Most Valuable Player
- David Justice (1987-1988) 3 x MLB All-Star; 1990 NL Rookie of the Year
- Ryan Klesko (1991, 1995) MLB All-Star
- Jerry Koosman (1965) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Charlie Liebrandt (1990)
- Pepper Martin (1947) 4 x MLB All-Star
- Kevin Millwood (1997, 2001) MLB All-Star; 2005 AL ERA Leader
- Ben Oglivie (1969) 3 x MLB All-Star
- Terry Pendleton (1994) MLB All-Star; 1991 NL Most Valuable Player
- Anthony Rizzo (2008, 2009) 3 x MLB All-Star
- Jason Schmidt (1994) 3 x MLB All-Star; 2003 NL ERA Leader
- Adam Wainwright (2003) 3 x MLB All-Star
- Harry Walker (1938) 2 x MLB All-Star
- Ned Yost (1987) Manager: 2015 World Series Champion Kansas City Royals
In popular culture
- Andrews, Mike (October 28, 2005). "Greenville Bombers Change Name". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
- "Sox Prospects Wiki". Archived from the original on January 22, 2009. Retrieved June 22, 2008.
- "Greenville welcomes the Drive". MILB. October 27, 2005. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
- "Che-Hsuan Lin Selected to the MLB Futures Game". 26 June 2008.
- "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.
- "Rome vs. Greenville - May 8, 2012 - MiLB.com Box - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". MiLB.com.
- , GreenvilleDrive.com Westend Park. Retrieved on 2008-06-22.
- , GreenvilleDrive.com 2006 Stadium of the Year Article . Retrieved on 2008-06-22.
- "Greenville, South Carolina Encyclopedia - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com.
- Johnson, Lloyd; Wolff, Miles (2007). Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (third ed.). Baseball America. ISBN 9781932391176.
- "Mets' coaching job to Harrelson". The Des Moines Register. AP. May 18, 1985. p. 23. Retrieved October 25, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
- "Mets fire coaches for alcohol death concerns". The Tennessean. New York Times News Service. June 23, 1997. p. 6. Retrieved October 25, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
- "2017 South Atlantic League - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com.
- "Greenville Drive". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
- "Playoff Procedures". MiLB.com. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
- Rabasco, Nick (September 15, 2017). "Cup of Coffee: Drive capture South Atlantic League title". SoxProspects.com. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
- 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."