Greenville Drive

The Greenville Drive are a Minor League Baseball team based in Greenville, South Carolina.[lower-alpha 1] They are the High-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox and are a member of the South Atlantic League. They play their home games at Fluor Field at the West End, and their mascot is a frog named Reedy Rip'it.

Greenville Drive
Team logo Cap insignia
Minor league affiliations
ClassHigh-A (2021–present)
Previous classesClass A (1994–2020)
LeagueSouth Atlantic League (2022–present)
DivisionSouth Division
Previous leagues
Major league affiliations
TeamBoston Red Sox (2005–present)
Previous teams
Minor league titles
League titles (2)
  • 1998
  • 2017
Division titles (1)2017
Team data
NameGreenville Drive (2006–present)
Previous names
  • Greenville Bombers (2005)
  • Capital City Bombers (1993–2004)
MascotReedy Rip'it
BallparkFluor Field at the West End (2006–present)
Previous parks
  • Greenville Municipal Stadium (2005)
  • Capital City Stadium (1993–2004)
Owner(s)/
Operator(s)
Craig Brown
General managerEric Jarinko
ManagerIggy Suarez

From 1993 to 2004, the team played in Columbia, South Carolina, as the Capital City Bombers, an affiliate of the New York Mets succeeding the Columbia Mets. In the team's first season as a Red Sox affiliate, 2005, they were known as the Greenville Bombers.

History

The Drive began their history in 1993 as the Capital City Bombers. The name was chosen to honor members of the Doolittle Raiders, who had conducted their initial training in Columbia. The Bombers won the South Atlantic League championship in 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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5]

In 2009, Ryan Lavarnway played for the Drive, hitting 21 home runs and a .540 slugging percentage (both tops for Red Sox minor leaguers) and 87 RBIs in 404 at bats.[6][7]

On May 8, 2012, three Greenville 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, 1–0. A solo home run by Keury De La Cruz off of David Filak in the sixth inning accounted for the only run of the game.[8]

In the 2017 postseason, 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 had an in-state rivalry with the Charleston RiverDogs, an affiliate of the New York Yankees, while in the South Atlantic League. This particular rivalry was also fueled by the regional rivalry between the two parent clubs.

In conjunction with Major League Baseball's restructuring of Minor League Baseball in 2021, the team moved from being the Red Sox' Class A affiliate to being their High-A affiliate, and became a member of the High-A East league; in a corresponding move, the Salem Red Sox moved from Class A-Advanced to Low-A.[9][10] In 2022, the High-A East became known as the South Atlantic League, the name historically used by the regional circuit prior to the 2021 reorganization.[11]

Stadium

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 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. 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.[12]

The stadium shares the dimensions of their parent club's major league park, Fenway Park, and boasts its own (slightly shorter) "Green Monster" complete with manual scoreboard and "Pesky's Pole" in right field.[13]

Season-by-season records

Below are the season records for the Capital City Bombers, Greenville Bombers, and Greenville Drive.[14]

Capital City Bombers

The team competed in the South Atlantic League (Class A).

SeasonDivisionRecordPct.Division
finish
League
rank
ManagerPlayoffs
1993South64–77.4546th10thRon Washington 
1994South59–76.4375th12th 
1995South72–68.5143rd8thHowie Freiling 
1996Central82–57.5902nd2ndLost to Asheville Tourists, 2–0
1997Central77–63.5501st3rdDoug Mansolino
John Stephenson
Lost to Greensboro Bats, 2–0
1998Central90–51.6381st1stDoug DavisDefeated Piedmont Boll Weevils, 2–0
Defeated Hagerstown Suns, 2–1
Defeated Greensboro Bats, 2–1
League Champions
1999Central83–58.5891st2ndDave EngleDefeated Greensboro Bats, 2–1
Lost to Cape Fear Crocs, 2–0
2000South56–81.4097th13th (t)John Stephenson 
2001South62–73.4596th11thKen Oberkfell 
2002South75–64.5403rd6thTony TijerinaLost to Columbus RedStixx, 2–1
2003South73–65.5295th7th 
2004South89–47.6541st1stJack LindDefeated 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.[15]
Source:[16]

Greenville Bombers

The team competed in the South Atlantic League (Class A).

SeasonDivisionRecordPct.Division
finish
League
rank
ManagerPlayoffs
2005North72–66.5222nd (t)6th (t)Chad Epperson 

Source:[16]:720

Greenville Drive

The team competed in the South Atlantic League (Class A) through 2020, then moved up to the High-A classification in 2021 as members of the to the High-A East, which became the South Atlantic League in 2022.

Division finish and league rank columns are based on overall regular season records. The South Atlantic League utilized a split-season, with first-half winners and second-half winners of each division meeting in the playoffs; if the same team won both halves of the season, the team with the next best overall record was selected.[17]

SeasonDivisionRecordPct.Division
finish
League
rank
ManagerPlayoffs
2006Southern67–73.4796th11thLuis Alicea 
2007Southern58–81.4177th14thGabe Kapler 
2008Southern70–69.5044th8thKevin Boles 
2009Southern73–65.5293rd5thLost in the league finals
2010Southern77–62.5542nd3rdBilly McMillonLost in the league finals
2011Southern78–62.5572nd4th 
2012Southern66–73.4756th9thCarlos Febles 
2013Southern51–87.3707th14th 
2014Southern60–79.4325th10thDarren Fenster 
2015Southern72–68.5143rd6th 
2016Southern70–69.5043rd (t)8th (t) 
2017Southern79–60.5681st1stDefeated Charleston in semifinals, 2–1
Defeated Kannapolis in finals, 3–1
League Champions[18]
2018Southern64–75.4607th12thIggy Suarez 
2019Southern56–82.4066th13th 
2020SouthernSeason cancelled, COVID-19 pandemic 
2021South67–53.5583rd4th 
2022South52–78.4006th11th 

Roster

Players Coaches/Other

Pitchers

  •  6 Jacinto Arredondo
  • -- Bradley Blalock
  • 11 Brendan Cellucci
  •  9 Casey Cobb
  •  8 Jordan DiValerio
  • 23 Shane Drohan
  • -- Grant Gambrell
  • 39 Robert Kwiatkowski
  •  7 Austin Lambright
  • 48 Liu Chih-jung
  • 14 Alexander Montero
  • 20 Wyatt Olds
  • -- Aaron Perry
  • -- Jorge Rodriguez
  • 12 Devon Roedahl
  • 10 Cody Scroggins
  • 17 Joey Stock
  • 50 Tyler Uberstine
  • 35 Thad Ward #
  • 28 Jacob Webb
  • -- Jeremy Wu-Yelland
  • 33 Ryan Zeferjahn

Catchers

  •  4 Alex Erro
  • 15 Jaxx Groshans
  • 19 Nathan Hickey

Infielders

  • 44 Joe Davis
  • 38 Antoni Flores
  •  1 Brandon Howlett
  • 25 Niko Kavadas
  • 36 Matthew Lugo
  •  5 Tyler McDonough
  •  3 Nick Yorke

Outfielders

  • 26 Nick Decker
  • 30 Tyler Esplin
  • 51 Gilberto Jiménez
  • 30 Phillip Sikes


Manager

  •  2 Iggy Suarez

Coaches

  • 45 Joe Cronin (development coach)
  • 13 Bob Kipper (pitching coach)
  • 45 Nate Spears (hitting coach)
  • 37 Matt Wheeler (asst. coach)


7-day injured list
* On Boston Red Sox 40-man roster
~ Development list
# Rehab assignment
∞ Reserve list
‡ Restricted list
§ Suspended list
† Temporarily inactive list
Roster updated July 26, 2022
Transactions
→ More rosters: MiLB  South Atlantic League
→ Boston Red Sox minor league players

Notable Greenville alumni

Notes

  1. Greenville is 932 miles (1,500 km) from Fenway Park in Boston.[1]

References

  1. "MLB affiliate overview: American League East". MiLB.com. February 12, 2021. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  2. Andrews, Mike (October 28, 2005). "Greenville Bombers Change Name". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  3. "Sox Prospects Wiki". Archived from the original on January 22, 2009. Retrieved June 22, 2008.
  4. "Greenville welcomes the Drive". MILB. October 27, 2005. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  5. "Che-Hsuan Lin Selected to the MLB Futures Game". 26 June 2008.
  6. "Ryan Lavarnway Minor League Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  7. Michael Vega (June 17, 2011). "Lavarnway swings into action with Pawtucket". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on August 21, 2011. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  8. "Rome vs. Greenville - May 8, 2012 - MiLB.com Box - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". MiLB.com.
  9. Mayo, Jonathan (February 12, 2021). "MLB Announces New Minors Teams, Leagues". Major League Baseball. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  10. Collins, Matt (December 9, 2020). "Red Sox to reportedly keep all four full-season affiliates, leaving Lowell without affilation". overthemonster.com. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  11. "Historical League Names to Return in 2022". Minor League Baseball. March 16, 2022. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  12. , GreenvilleDrive.com Westend Park. Retrieved on 2008-06-22.
  13. , GreenvilleDrive.com 2006 Stadium of the Year Article . Retrieved on 2008-06-22.
  14. "Greenville, South Carolina Encyclopedia - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com.
  15. "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.
  16. Johnson, Lloyd; Wolff, Miles (2007). Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (third ed.). Baseball America. ISBN 9781932391176.
  17. "Playoff Procedures". MiLB.com. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  18. "2017 South Atlantic League - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com.

Further reading

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