Do you remember going to a Greenville Braves game at the Greenville Municipal Stadium? I know I do, they were such a major staple here in the city before we were the “booming metropolis” in the state. So many nights at the park with my glove, Greenville Braves hat, and a bunch of those ice creams in the upside down helmet (you know what I’m talking about). The team had their highs and lows throughout the years, with arguably their best season coming in 1992. A few of the guys on this list help guide them into the history books in becoming the Southern League’s first 100-game winner. So without further ado, here are some of the biggest names in baseball (in no particular order) to come through #yeahTHATgreenville!
1.) Tom Glavine – LHP
Arguably the most famous ace to ever throw a pitch for the Atlanta Braves, Tom was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014. But did you know this World Series MVP spent time here in Greenville as well? Tom most recently visited the city to lend a hand to the Furman Baseball program. He had this so say about Greenville:
“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.”
Seasons With The Greenville Braves: 1986
MLB Awards: MLB Hall of Fame, NL Cy Young Award (2), MLB All Star (10), World Series MVP, Silver Slugger Winner (4), NL League Leader in Wins (5), 300 Career games won.
Fun Fact: One of Tom’s favorite foods is Lasagna, and even has his own recipe. Get it HERE.
2.) Larry Wayne “Chipper” Jones – 3B
Chipper was the first player drafted in 1990 and joined the Greenville Braves during their successful 1992 campaign, making quite the impact. Playing at shortstop he batted an impressive .346, while collecting 37 extra base hits in only 266 at bats. Despite his brief stint, he was named to the Southern League All-Star team while also being selected Double-A player of the year. He is considered the best switch hitter to ever play the game.
Seasons With The Greenville Braves: 1992
MLB Awards: MLB All-Star (8), NL Silver Slugger Award (2), NL Batting Champion (1), NL MVP (1), Sporting News Rookie of the Year Award (1), First Player Drafted in 1990
Fun Fact: Jones received the nickname “Chipper” from his father and other family members, who saw the younger Larry as a “chip off the old block.”
3.) Javy Lopez – C
From the batters box, the ’92 Braves were led by their hard-hitting catcher, Javy Lopez (.321-16-60). He was a mainstay during the season and his performance garnered him All-Star honors. The Ponce, Puerto Rico native then move up and continued what was an amazing career in the MLB.
Seasons With The Greenville Braves: 1992
MLB Awards: MLB All-Star (3), NLCS MVP (1), Silver Slugger Award (1)
Fun Fact: Lopez lives in Suwanee, GA no and enjoys: golfing, fishing, swimming, playing cornhole with the neighbors.
4.) Andruw Jones – CF
Andruw Jones is no doubt one of the best center fielders to play the game. Before making the jump to the big leagues, this young phenom spent part-time with the Double-A Greenville Braves in 1996. He made his MLB debut later that year on August 15 and never looked back. In the 1996 World Series, Jones became the youngest player ever to hit a home run in the postseason, and just the second player ever to homer in his first two World Series at bats. See it HERE.
Seasons With The Greenville Braves: 1996
MLB Awards: NL All-Star (5), Gold Glove Award (10), Silver Slugger Award (1), NL Hank Aaron Award (1), MLB Home Run Leader (1), NL RBI Leader (1)
Fun Fact: To strengthen his wrist as a teenager, Jones would swing a sledgehammer instead of a bat.
5) David Justice – RF, DH
With a picture-perfect left-handed hitting swing, Justice is thought by many to be the best clutch hitter in Atlanta franchise history. He played in 112 postseason games, including 36 in six World Series, winning two titles, one with the Braves and the other with the Yankees. In 1998, between the Double-A Braves and Triple-A Richmond he hit a combined .238 with 17 home runs and 65 RBIs, penciling him as the Atlanta Braves future right fielder. And the rest, as they say…is history!
Seasons With The Greenville Braves: 1987, 19988
MLB Awards: NL All-Star (3) NL Rookie of the Year (1), Silver Slugger Award (2), ALCS MVP (1)
Fun Fact: David was previously married to the famous Halle Berry
6) Adam Wainwright – RHP
The Atlanta Braves selected Adam Wainwright with the 29th pick in the first round of the 2000 MLB Amateur Draft. He moved his way up the minor league ranks and joined Greenville in 2003. He posted good numbers, finishing the 2003 season with a 3.37 ERA across 27 games started. Also, Wainwright tied his career-high minor league win total with 10 wins. He was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals later that season.