Despite the cancellation of the 2020 Minor League Baseball (MiLB) season, the Greenville Drive continued to rack up wins, finishing 2020 and entering 2021 strong with multiple honors and accolades, both locally and nationally.
These awards come as an acknowledgement of the franchise’s excellence in management, unwavering commitment to community service and advocacy for timely issues. Most importantly, the awards recognize the team’s and the Greenville area’s perseverance in the face of the unprecedented challenges of the past year.
Local Awards & Recognitions
The Drive’s 2020 local awards come across a range of categories, from education and social justice to economic empowerment and positive growth.
- Urban League of the Upstate’s Corporate Citizen Award: The Drive was honored as the Urban League of the Upstate’s Corporate Citizen Award for its shared vision for and support of economic empowerment, educational opportunities and the guarantee of civil rights for the underserved in our area, issues that took on additional significance this year.
- Southernside Neighborhood Goodwill Ambassadors of the Year: Greenville’s Southernside neighborhood, which represents a large portion of Greenville’s urban core, recognized Drive owners Craig and Vicki Brown as Goodwill Ambassadors of the Year for their efforts to increase access to commercial centers and recreational space, enhance employment and economic empowerment, and strengthen community character.
- Greenville County Schools Partner of the Year: Greenville County Schools, a longtime partner of the Drive, named the team its 2020 Partner of the Year in recognition of its ongoing educational programming, student and teacher advocacy and charitable support.
- Greenville Literacy Association Partner of the Year: Greenville Literacy Association awarded the Drive this prestigious accolade based on the team’s literacy and employment programs and initiatives aimed at individual and community improvement and success.
- Greenville News Best Local Sports Team: Based entirely on community voting, the Drive was named the Upstate’s favorite sports team, beating out all local professional and even collegiate teams and demonstrating the high regard the community has for its efforts.
Major National Recognition & A Significant Promotion
The Drive’s wins continued with a major national accolade.
- Freitas Award (Nation’s Top Single A Franchise): Based on the achievements outlined above, Baseball America honored the Drive with the Bob Freitas Award, honoring the nation’s top Single-A franchise. The Drive earned accolades for its relevant & powerful community programming as well as its ongoing operational excellence.
- Boston Red Sox Advanced-A Status: Despite the most challenging season in MiLB’s 100+ year history, and during a period of significant contraction of MiLB clubs across the country, the Drive maintained & extended its 17+ year affiliation history with the Boston Red Sox and beginning in 2021 will play as the Red Sox Advanced-A level affiliate.
Business Success and Continued Strong Partnerships
The Drive also enjoyed great success in delivering value to its long-term partners and expanding its sponsor base throughout the past year despite the Drive’s cancelled 2020 season. While the season cancellation made it difficult for many sports organizations to continue to offer visibility and brand recognition for its sponsors, the Drive’s strong partner relationships and innovation in modifying signature events and creating new programming to accommodate COVID restrictions allowed them to not only maintain their current partnership base but also to add several new, high-profile community partners to its portfolio.
“2020 has been an extraordinary year for our entire community, and the Drive is no different,” noted Greenville Drive Owner & Team President Craig Brown. “Like the Greenville community, the Drive worked to take these changes in stride, adapting and adjusting to challenges and taking them head-on, and, as these awards demonstrate, ultimately overcoming. These honors not only demonstrate our relentless commitment to giving back to our community but more importantly, our community’s continued support of and belief in our organization. In many ways, 2020 actually became our best and most impactful year ever – a true testament to the unique & special nature of the Upstate community, and how lucky we are to call this place home. We are deeply thankful for our fans, grateful for the opportunities we’ve had to give back and humbled by the meaning of these honors, especially in such difficult times. We are entering 2021 strong with the knowledge that we truly are better together.”
Prepared by the Greenville Drive.