Augusta has a long and storied baseball history that predates the GreenJackets. Baseball has been entrenched in the fabric of Augusta 's community dating back to 1885 with the Augusta Browns. Over the next 123 years, Augusta was home to twelve minor league teams culminating into a South Atlantic League best, ten league championships. Over the years, Augusta has seen many different team name changes over the years from the original Browns (1885-86), to the Electricians (1893), Tourists (1904-11 & 1914-16), Dollies (1919), Georgians (1920-21), Tygers (1922 & 1924-29), Tigers (1923, 1936-42, 1946-52 & 1955-58), Wolves (1930), Rams (1953-54), Yankees (1962-63), and Pirates (1988-93).
In 1904, the Augusta Tourists became a charter member of the South Atlantic League. Ty Cobb, appearing in his first season as a pro ballplayer, batted .237 in 37 games for Augusta . The future hall-of-famer returned to Augusta in 1905. His game improved as he won the league batting title with a .326 average. He collected 134 hits and stole 40 bases in 103 games. Cobb was then sold to the Detroit Tigers for $700 towards the end of the 1905 season. He then appeared in 41 games with the Tigers, going 36-150 for a .240 average. Cobb eventually concluded his playing career after 24 seasons and an unsurpassed .367 lifetime batting average. He won 12 batting titles, and posted three seasons above .400. Cobb held the record for most hits with 4,191 until Pete Rose broke it in 1985. He also held the record for most stolen bases with 824 until Maury Wills broke it in 1962. Cobb, often called the Georgia Peach, was a member of the first class of inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936 and was named to the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame in 1994.
After going without a baseball team for 25 years, modern day baseball returned to Augusta in 1988 with the Augusta Pirates. In 1994, the team was renamed the GreenJackets and moved into their newly built home, Lake Olmstead Stadium, in 1995. Before the San Francisco Giants took over the club's affiliation before the 2005 season, the GreenJackets were a part of the Boston Red Sox organization. The Red Sox had previously replaced the Pittsburgh Pirates in Augusta . In October 2005, a new era of professional baseball in Augusta began when Ripken Baseball officially took over the daily operations of the Augusta GreenJackets.
Since baseball returned in 1988, Augusta has seen countless players move up to the Major League level, including players such as Tim Wakefield, Moises Alou, Bronson Arroyo, Jason Kendall, Estaban Loaiza, Aramis Ramirez, Freddy Sanchez, and back to back Rookies of the Year in Hanley Ramirez (NL '06) and Dustin Pedroia (AL '07).
Augusta was also the Spring Training home for several Major League Teams in the early 1900s. The following teams held Spring Training in Augusta before their big league season started: Boston Red Sox (1902); Cincinnati Reds (1904); Detroit Tigers (1905-07 & 1922-26); Boston Braves (1908-12); Brooklyn Dodgers (1913-14); Washington Senators (1918-19) and the NY Giants (1928).