Baseball has a long and storied history in the state of South Carolina, stretching back to the late 19th century when the University of South Carolina and Clemson first began their rivalry in the sport. In 1955, Frank Robinson became one of the first African-Americans to play professionally in the state with the Columbia Reds. In 1962, Dixie Youth Baseball was formed after Minor League officials protested that Little Boys Baseball had infringed its trademark. Little Boys Baseball was an independent organization created by white officials from South Carolina and other southern states who refused to accept Minor League directives allowing black teams to enter.
In 1959, a black amateur league was founded in Greenwood County, South Carolina. This was followed by the Greenwood Pirates, an agricultural club of the Pittsburgh Pirates based in South Carolina for three summers in the early 1980s. The Pirates were members of the Class A South Atlantic League, formerly known as the League of Western Carolinas. The franchise was revived in 1981 when the Greenwood Pirates entered the South Atlantic League and played at Legion Park.
Macon would play an additional role in Greenwood's death. In November 1983, the Macon Redbirds moved to Savannah, Georgia. Greenwood owner Len Monheimer used this opportunity to move his club to Macon to replace the Redbirds who left. In addition, St.
Louis and Pittsburgh exchanged SAL teams; Greenwood moved to Savannah and became the affiliate of the Cardinals (now Columbia Fireflies), while the Macon Redbirds remained in the city under the name of Pirates before moving to Augusta. Built in 1926, Riegel Stadium is one of the oldest schools in South Carolina that is still in use and has a complex of several fields used to play baseball, American football and American football. The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State while preserving some of its disappearing landscapes. The baseball league in Greenwood, South Carolina was established in 1968 with the formation of the Greenwood Braves. The team changed hands in early 1983 when veteran baseball executive Len Monheimer replaced former owner Chris Malo a month before opening day. Greenwood's astounding attendance in 1983 with 8,345 fans on a schedule of 72 home games is still one of the worst box office records in a single season in more than 40 years of South Atlantic League history. The history of baseball in Greenwood, South Carolina is an interesting one that has seen many changes over time.
From its beginnings as an amateur league for African-Americans to its current status as a minor league team affiliated with Major League Baseball, it has been an integral part of South Carolina's sports culture for many years. From Frank Robinson's groundbreaking debut as one of the first African-Americans to play professionally in South Carolina to Len Monheimer's ownership of the Greenwood Braves, this fascinating history is sure to continue for many years to come.