GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – On any given game day, you will find the stands at Fluor Field filled with Greenville Drive fans.
On Friday, the team will have a new look in honor of the city’s Black history.
“Greenville and the Upstate has always had a rich baseball history. I think everyone knows the stories of Tommy Lasorda, Nolan Ryan playing here, ‘Shoeless Joe’ Jackson, and the Greenville Braves,” said Eric Jarinko, General Manager of the Greenville Drive. “But, the history of Black baseball is really an untold story that we are helping to tell.”
These are the Greenville Black Spinners, a semi-pro baseball team that began in the 1920s.
“Unfortunately, the white media did not cover black sports in a segregated society, so not a lot of people knew about the Black Spinners,” said Mike Chibbaro, local sports historian.
Chibbaro said it’s a team that helped shape youth baseball in the city of Greenville.
“For this community, particularly the black youth, they were the baseball heroes in this community. Certainly the kids knew about Hank Aaron and Willie Mays and those folks, but the Black Spinners were the people who taught the game of baseball to the next generation here,” said Chibbaro.
On Friday, the Greenville Drive is honoring the team’s legacy.
“The Drive players will play that Friday as the Black Spinners. We have a throwback style uniform that we created,” said Jarinco. “It’s a black uniform with white pinstripes, that has Black Spinners across the front.”
The organization created the uniform from scratch. In fact, the Black Spinners team never really had one set style or logo.
“They wore whatever they could get their hands on,” said Chibbaro.
“We created an identity for them,” Jarinco said.
The organization said the uniform symbolizes the rich history that has grown in their backyard, alongside Unity Park.
“I think it’s really important because it’s an untold story of the players that have come through Mayberry and Meadowbrook Park over the years,” said Jarinco.
Jarinco told 7NEWS the players are excited to honor the past and continue bringing people together through the sport of baseball.
“It’s been said that baseball is America’s game. Well, that is America’s game, but not just for one race. It’s for all races,” said Chibbaro. “Sport is a unifier and certainly the game of baseball has done that throughout the country throughout the years.”
The Greenville Drive will sport their Black Spinner uniforms for one game only on Friday, June 10th.
Frist pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.