Tagged: Greenville

On the Road: The Drive Ends In Greenville

drive logo.gifWelcome to the final installment of my 2010 “Southern Swing”. Being on the road was a most gratifying experience, and I hope to do it again as soon as possible. If you enjoyed the content that I provided, then please make this sentiment known within the all-important court of public opinion.

After visiting the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum on Sunday, I sauntered across the street to Fluor Field (no one walks in South Carolina — they saunter). This facility, built in 2006, boasts an all-brick exterior that fits well with the rest of the neighborhood (before going any further, let me note that a complementary Greenville article can be found HERE). 


I’d like to back up my above claim by showing pictures from “the rest of the neighborhood”, an area that serves as a link to Greenville’s textile mill past. Here’s one of the many churches that dot the area:


I don’t know about you, but I could certainly use some brain tonic about now:


The team’s ticket office/team store is located in a separate building, a structure that at one time served as one of South Carolina’s first firehouses:


The industrial past is also illuminated by the (still-active) train tracks that run outside of the building.


But once stepping inside, thoughts of Fenway take over:


The building beyond the left field wall offers rooftop seating, and the condominium portion of the structure (on the right) offers porches that look out onto the field.








The 500 Club party area in right field:



Drive general manager Mike deMaine provided me with a behind-the-scenes look at the facility.

The home clubhouse:


Smaller visitor digs:


Groundskeeper’s Shed:


The high-tech production room, where masterpieces such as THIS are churned out on a regular basis.

The Suite Life, on the inside and out:



Upper Deck Party Area:


And, finally, the Dugout Suite. deMain wanted to make clear that the Drive were the first team to feature such a thing, contrary to the claims of the Visalia Rawhide (“We’re first and best”, he said). I am happy to provoke a Dugout Suite war of words, so if Visalia or any neglected third parties would like to respond then I’m all ears.

The suite in question is available for group rentals, and features a private food and beverage area as well as a lounge with views of the Drive’s hitting cage.




As the pictures above would indicate, I didn’t actually see a game at Fluor Field. Sunday’s matinee contest began at 4, and my flight from the Greenville/Spartanburg airport was scheduled to leave at 5:30.

So, after my stadium tour, I climbed into my rented Mercedes-Benz with Texas plates for what would be the last time and proceeded to the airport (stopping on the way for a pouch of microwavable boiled peanuts).

While I wouldn’t call the Southern Swing “fun” (the schedule was fairly relentless and I am far too prone to bouts of anxiety), it was deeply rewarding and I am very glad I got the chance to do it. Thanks for reading, and here’s to many more Minor League road trips!


On The Road: The Banned Plays On In Greenville

Shoeless_museumsign.JPGA series of plane trips, bus rides, and subway jaunts on Sunday evening eventually returned me to the comforting embrace of New York City.

But the “Southern Swing” is not done! I’ve got more material, and where there is material there is hope. Yesterday in Greenville, SC I was able to visit the city’s formidable 1-2 baseball punch: The Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and Fluor Field. Although not affiliated with one another, these two national pastime establishments are located on opposite sides of the same street and well worth visiting.

Today’s post — and article! — will focus on the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum, while tomorrow theShoeless_exteriorposter.JPG “Southern Swing” will finally wrap up with a tour of Fluor Field.

So, the first thing you need to know about Shoeless Joe is that he was raised in Greenville and later returned to the city. And the Museum is located in the blacklisted star’s former home — a brick structure that was chopped in half, re-located, renovated and refurbished.

Of course, this effort bears considerable similarity to the Mobile BayBears’ “Hank Aaron Childhood Home and Museum.” Perhaps the re-location of old baseball player domiciles will one day be a common practice around baseball; at the very least it would make a good reality show.

The Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum is an all-volunteer effort spearheaded by Arlene Marcley, who first became interested in Jackson after fielding numerous requests related to him while working in the Greenville mayor’s office. Currently, the museum is only officially open from 10-2 on Saturdays, but tours are available on request and readily accommodated. 

I received one such tour late Sunday morning, which I will now try to convey to you via copious photo documentation.


The entire house is filled with Jackson memorabilia and period details (Jackson lived in the house with his wife from 1940 until his death in 1951).

Shoeless_Arlene (living room 2).jpg

Shoeless_Arlene (living room).jpg

Shoeless_Arlene (hallway).jpg

The whistle from the old Brandon textile mill. Young Joe worked at the mill, and played for the company’s baseball team. 

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The doors of the liquor store that Joe ran in Greenville:


The kitchen is equipped with vintage appliances:



The homey study is lined with baseball books — donated by museum supporters nationwide.

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Shoeless_Arlene (study).jpg

And, as mentioned before — all of this is located across the street from Fluor Field (home of the Greenville Drive). I’ll have more on that beautiful structure tomorrow — you’d have to watch Shaquille O’Neal practice free throws in order to see more bricks in one place!

Leaving o
n a high note, as always.