With the Minor League Baseball regular season ending tonight, the Augusta GreenJackets (Low A; Sally League) are celebrating a milestone: the last game at Lake Olmstead Stadium before a move to a new North Augusta ballpark.
The team has been counting down the days to the move with a season-ending promo. Tonight’s festivities features a McKenna Hydrick pre-game concert, post-game fireworks and plenty of specials in the team shop. Then comes planning for the move to SRP Park for the 2018 season.
The Augusta Chronicle has a look at how Lake Olmstead Stadium came to be: basically, a bunch of high-school students, under the direction of Bill Heaton, put up some bleachers and began the process of wooing an MiLB team. That was 29 years ago, and while Lake Olmstead Stadium was improved over the years, those modest roots were still in evidence. From the Chronicle:
He bought the bleachers — some from the old football field at the former Langley-Bath-Clearwater High in Aiken County and many new ones from the Palmetto Raceway in Edgefield County.
Using labor from high school students and several volunteers, a ballfield began to rise. It was a key enducement to lure a minor league team back to Augusta, which had a long history and connection with the sport.
“It’s not going to look like Yankee Stadium,” Heaton told an interviewer, “but its going to be a nice little stadium.”
And so professional baseball came to Lake Olmstead Stadium in April 1988.
RELATED STORIES: New for 2018: SRP Park; Progress Reported on New Augusta GreenJackets Ballpark Project; Soil Cleanup Not Expected to Affect GreenJackets Ballpark Opening; GreenJackets Report Robust Ticket Sales; Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for New GreenJackets Ballpark; GreenJackets Sell Out New Ballpark Suites; GreenJackets Ballpark Groundbreaking Scheduled for May 25; New GreenJackets Ballpark Construction Underway; New GreenJackets Ballpark Moves Forward; Work Begins on Project Jackson