Some of us remember the days before “#yeahThatGreenville,” the days when we were just little ole’ Greenville, SC. Entertainment was simple back then, anyone between the ages of 5 and 65 spent Friday nights right off of Mauldin Road at Greenville Memorial Stadium. Mauldin was home to our AA Greenville Braves, or “G-Braves” if you were local. Greats like Chipper Jones & Tom Glavine to the “shy & humble” closer from Georgia, John Rocker, those games were star-studded. Looking back on how many G-Braves actually made it to the “Bigs,” makes me even more proud of Greenville, SC. So if you are new(ish) to Greenville and want to be able to wear the Old Greenville Braves hat with confidence, here are 7 facts that should catch you up.
1. 21 Years Of Baseball Greatness
From 1984- 2004 the Greenville Braves graced us with their presence. Home to Shoeless Joe Jackson, Greenville, SC has always been a baseball town. In the Textile Baseball Leagues of the early 1900’s baseball provided not only a healthy distraction from the average 12- hour work day, but created an entire social events in the 5+ mill villages within a couple miles of Main Street. Fast forward 90 years and for a small town in the Upstate South Carolina, the G-Braves provided the same dynamic.
2. Atlanta Braves’ Farm Team
Back when everyone watched baseball, everyone was an Atlanta Braves fan, well at least you were if you lived in Greenville,SC. Watching stars before they became stars was part of the Vintage Greenville Braves experience. Future Atlanta Brave greats like Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, Tom Glavine & David Justice all wore the Old Greenville Braves Hat before making it big.
“This city was a blast. Nothing like it is now. The renovation they’ve done here is unbelievable, but it was a fun place to play minor league ball and a fun place to be albeit you didn’t want to be there any longer than you had to be there.”
3. Greenville Municipal Stadium
Currently Conestee Park, Greenvilel Municipal was was built in 1984 and holds 7,048 people. It is located on Mauldin Road off exit 46C on I-85. The Braves played all of their seasons at this location. The idea of the Greenville Drive playing in Mauldin today, doesn’t sound too crazy, but remember, this was the 80’s, Mauldin was out there just like Woodruff Rd. had zero traffic.
4. Super Retro | Old Greenville Braves Hat
From caterpillar mustaches to guy’s nailing the whole “I’m an athlete, but i am also a dad” look. These guys were the REAL deal. Check out these 80’s studs rocking their Old Greenville Braves Hats.
“I am an athlete, but i am also a dad look”
5. They Were Winners
1992 Greenville Braves:“At 100-43 (.699), Greenville was the best team in the Eastern Division by 30 games, was 10 games
better than Chattanooga from the West and defeated Charlotte and Chattanooga in the playoffs to win the league crown. Managed by Grady Little, Greenville outscored its opponents by 258 runs and set league records for most wins, fewest losses, best road record (50-23) and most shutouts (24). The Braves led the league in runs, home runs, stolen bases, batting average, slugging percentage and ERA, among other categories. Catcher Javy Lopez was the league’s MVP. Chipper Jones, who came up to play shortstop when former South Alabama star Mike Mordecai was promoted to Richmond, was among the 11 position players, plus 10 pitchers, who made it to the big leagues from the Atlanta Braves’ farm team.”
6. Kind of A Crappy Stadium But Everyone Was There
The G-Braves, as we called them, took pride in the fact that they were the only AA baseball club “in the world” to draw more than 200,000 fans per year for 17 consecutive seasons. ( Greenville County’s population was just over 300,000 in 1995) Watching guys like Chipper Jones, while eating dip & dots ice cream and wearing your Old Greenville Brave’s hat in Mauldin was a Friday night well spent for the majority of us Greenville locals.
7. End Of An Era
In September 2004, after a year long negotiation with the city the Braves announced they were leaving for Mississippi, where a city there would build them a stadium that Greenville couldn’t. As the guy in the below non- smartphone generated video says, “Old Greenville Braves, this is sad.” That being said, Greenville has always been a city that works a plan, after seeing how far we have come the last 13 years and hearing about the Mississippi Braves’ latest stadium and the 392 Million Dollars in public funding it received, it is probably for the best :)