Terry Park is located at 3410 Palm Beach Boulevard in Fort Myers, Florida. The ballpark hosted major league spring training for over 50 years, from the early 1920s to the late 1980s. The earliest professional baseball activity at the site was in 1914 when the American Association Louisville Colonels held spring training on the grounds of the Fort Myers Yacht and Country Club, owned by Dr. Marshall Terry and his wife Tootie MacGregor Terry. The Colonels also played exhibition games against the Philadelphia Athletics and the St. Louis Browns that year (although the baseball field used by the Colonels was not the same field that would become Terry Park).
In 1918, Lee County began holding its annual fair on the country club property and, in 1921, Dr Terry donated to the county the land on which the country club was built. That same year the county officially named the property “Terry Park.” See Terry Park 100 Year Anniversary Book, Lee County Parks for a detailed history of the property and Terry Park. In 1923, Lee County convinced Connie Mack to bring his Philadelphia Athletics to Fort Myers for spring training. The county utilized plans provided by Mack in designing the ballpark and field, which opened in 1925. The Athletics departed Terry Park after the 1936 season. The Cleveland Indians subsequently trained at Terry Park in 1941 and 1942.
A fire started during an amateur baseball game destroyed Terry Park’s grandstand in 1943. In hopes of bringing Major league spring training back to Terry Park, the county and the City of Fort Myers in 1954 constructed a new 2,500 concrete and steel grandstand. In 1955 the Pittsburgh, Pirates moved their spring training to Terry Park. The Pirates departed after 1968, and the following year the Kansas City Royals made Terry Park their home. The Royals trained at Terry Park until 1987. In March 1990, the Minnesota Twins used Terry Park as the spring training grounds for its minor league players while Lee County Stadium was being built.
Although the baseball complex is still known today as Terry Park, the stadium itself was renamed Park T. Pigott Memorial Stadium in 1972, after a local baseball enthusiast and government administrator.
During his long career of service to the City of Fort Myers, Pigott was Director of both City of Fort Myers Parks and Recreation and Lee County Parks and Recreation, as well as the Superintendent of Terry Park.
Pigott also was instrumental in bringing both the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Kansas City Royals to Terry Park for spring training.
Terry Park also was home to the Florida State League Fort Myers Palms from 1926 to 1927, and the Fort Myers Royals from 1978 to 1987. In 1989 and 1990 it was the home to the Fort Myers Sun Sox of the Senior Professional Baseball Association.
Terry Park includes three practice fields named after Hall of Famers who played at Terry Park for three of the teams that trained there: Connie Mack, Roberto Clemente, and George Brett.
Once professional baseball departed, Terry Park was used primarily for youth, American Legion, and high school baseball.
In 1965, Terry Park was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. However, in 2004 the grandstand was demolished after Hurricane Charley damaged the structure.
Although some of the girders installed in 1955 remain, the structure bears little resemblance to the historic grandstand it replaced.
During the 2004 renovation, the dugouts also were replaced, as well as some, if not all, of the outfield wall.
The good news is that baseball is still played at Terry Park. The stadium is used year round for amateur and college baseball.
In February and March each year, over 100 teams travel to Terry Park for the The Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic.
Fort Myers boasts a proud history of major league spring training. Three other facilities nearby once held or currently hold spring training in Fort Myers. From 1993 to 2011, the Boston Red Sox held their spring training at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers.
Since 2012, the Red Sox have trained at Jet Blue Stadium, located in Fort Myers 14 miles southeast from City of Palms Park.
The Minnesota Twins also train in Fort Myers, at Hammons Stadium, located just seven miles west of Jet Blue Stadium.
If you are attending spring training at either of these stadiums in Fort Myers, take a moment to visit Terry Park as well. It is a beautiful park full of baseball history. And chances are you might catch an amateur or college game while you are there. For additional photos of Terry Park (including many vintage photos), see naplesnews.com.