CHARLESTON, S.C. – Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park has long been considered a gem in the city of Charleston and across Minor League Baseball, and 2017 is no different. The RiverDogs’ pristine venue has once again been recognized as the South Atlantic League’s Best Playing Field of the Year as Mike Williams was honored as the top sports turf manager.
“Mike continues to do excellent work for us year in and year out, and I am thrilled for his efforts to be recognized once again,” said RiverDogs President and General Manager Dave Echols. “The City of Charleston is truly blessed to have a ballpark as immaculate and scenic as The Joe and Mike is a big part of the one-of-a-kind atmosphere we have at the park each night.”
The honor marks the fifth time the RiverDogs’ playing field has been recognized under the past nine seasons under Williams’ leadership. In a vote of the SAL Sports Turf Managers Association, Riley Park has now been named the top playing surface in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, and now 2017 with Williams getting the nod as the top sports turf manager each season as well.
“I am humbled to accept this award,” said Williams who dedicated the accolade to his late friend and mentor Pete Flynn, the former head groundskeeper with the New York Mets. “It is a testament to all the hard work of our entire grounds crew staff and their attention to detail.”
A professional groundskeeper since 1993, Williams has been with the RiverDogs since 2006, and formerly served as the head groundskeeper for the New York Mets and the Tampa Bay Rays previously.
A native of Ohio, Williams’ other accolades include the 1994 Eastern League Groundskeeper of the Year Award and the 1994-95 Beam Clay Professional Field of the Year Award.