As the United States molded itself into the country it is today, it underwent change after change. Throughout the last 150 years though, it has had at least one constant. Baseball has tied generations together since its invention in the nineteenth century, becoming America’s pastime.
The city of Savannah, Ga. has been afforded the consistency of baseball for almost as long as the sport has existed, starting during the Civil War when soldiers laid down bases on their camp sites and organized games.
The last 92 years have brought locals to historic Grayson Stadium on a consistent basis. That does not mean the product has been uniform though. Close to one dozen different organizations have called Savannah home, only to leave it in hopes of a more lucrative market.
Even though the logos and players of the home team changed, some of America’s most iconic figures played in the city as visitors. No major league team has taken residency in Savannah but Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Stan Musial, Lou Gehrig and several other Hall of Famers have played on the site the Bananas now occupy.
Even President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a speech at Grayson Stadium while in office.
Before the advent of social media and TV broadcast rights deals, baseball players would go on barnstorming tours across the nation to raise money and awareness. Teams would make their way up from Florida after spring training and stop in smaller cities on route back to the northeast. Famously, the 1927 ‘Murderer’s Row’ New York Yankees played an exhibition game in Savannah.
The Bananas are the city’s most recent local nine, and are marrying tradition with innovation. The historic park was one of the reasons team owner Jesse Cole was attracted to the market and he has no plans for significant renovation.
A revered stadium is not enough to sell-out games though.
Baseball’s past is viewed with endearing eyes from the American public, but if Grayson Stadium is going to see another 92 years of baseball, and if the Bananas are going to be a long-term tenant, the sport needs to change in ways it has not in previous eras.
It is hard to imagine a team founded in 2016 evoking the past, but the Bananas have preserved history while reimagining its course at the same time.
MarketScale will have more of our interview with Dr. Stan Deaton of the Georgia Historical Society on the next edition of Extra Innings. Stay tuned for our walk-through of Grayson Stadium, where Dr. Deaton shows us alterations made to the stadium as well as a few famous places in the park’s history.
Follow along with all our Savannah Bananas coverage on marketscale.com.
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