Wickers Stadium In Key West, Florida

December 14th, 2010
by Byron Bennett

Professional baseball was once played in the southernmost point of the United States at a place known as Wickers Stadium (also known as Wickers Field) in Key West, Florida.

Former Site of Wickers Stadium in Key West, Florida

In 1952, the Key West Conchs played a portion of their Florida International League games there.

Former Location of Wicker Field's Third Base Grandstand Along Flagler Avenue

Former Location of Wickers Stadium Left Field along Flagler Avenue

In 1969, it was the Key West Padres (managed by Don Zimmer) and, during the early to mid 1970s, it was the Key West Sun Caps, Key West Conchs, and Key West Cubs, all of the Forida State League, that played their home games at Wickers Stadium.

Key West Sun Caps Circa 1971 - Photo Courtesy of Sun Cap Dave Horton (top row, third from left)

The grandstand covered only the two sections behind home plate (thanks to former Key West Resident Don for providing the following picture Wickers Stadium).

Wicker Stadium (Monroe County Florida Public Library Flicker File - Photo taken by Property Appraiser's office c1970; N. Roosevelt Blvd; Wicker's Field)

According to locals I spoke to at the site, the ballpark itself was of modest size, holding no more than a couple thousand fans.  According to alert reader Dave Roberts, the grandstand and home plate were at the corner of 14th Street between Duck and Pearl Ave. The third base line was parallel to 14th.

Center Field was located at the intersection of President Kennedy Drive and Flagler Avenue in Key West, Florida.

Corner of Kennedy and Flagler, Former Home of Wickers Stadium

Wickers Stadium is gone now, but the area remains a public park known officially as the Wickers Sports Complex.  The complex houses both a youth football field and a softball diamond.  Along what was once the third base grandstand now sits the George Mira Football Field.

George Mira Football Field at Wickers Sports Complex

George Mira, who was born in Key West, played quarterback for the University of Miami, and later played professional football for the San Francisco 49ers, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Miami Dolphins.

Former Site of Wickers Stadium Left Field

The football field today is used mainly for youth football, although, at the time of Wickers Stadium, high school teams used to play at there on a different configuration of the field.

Key West Junior Football League at Wickers Sports Complex

The DeWitt E. Roberts Softball Diamond sits on the first base side of old Wicker Stadium.

DeWitt E. Roberts Softball Diamond at Wickers Sports Complex, Key West, Florida

The infield sits in the approximate location of Wicker Stadium’s right field.

Former Right Field of Wickers Stadium Looking Toward Former Infield

Although Wickers Stadium has been demolished, a portion does remain, namely, a 10 foot tall concrete and cinderblock wall that once surrounded the center field portion of the stadium.

Original Wickers Stadium Outfield Wall

The wall is located beyond the softball diamond’s center field fence.

Wicker Stadium Outfield Wall With Scoreboard In Background

Wickers Stadium Outfield Wall With Scoreboard In Background

The original wall can be seen in this vintage photo of Wickers Stadium taken just prior to the stadium’s demolition. Former Key West Sun Cap Dave Horton kindly supplied the photo.

Wickers Stadium - Photo Courtesy of Dave Horton

The original wall is accessible through a gate in the current center field fence.

Entrance to Wicker Stadium Outfield Wall Through Center Field Fence

Entrance to Wicker Stadium Outfield Wall Through Center Field Fence

Who knows how many Conchs, Padres, Caps, and Cubs luminaries once might have sat on this now-forlorn bench.

Time Has Not Been Kind To This Once Proud Park Bench From Old Wickers Stadium

One additional vestige of Wickers Stadium remains across Flagler Avenue – a vintage sign advertising “Stadium Apartments” one block north of the former stadium on 14th Street.

Vintage Sign Across Flagler Avenue From Wickers Sports Complex Advertising Stadium Apartments

Although Wickers Stadium is now just another lost ballpark, its former site remains a place where one can still hear the crack of the bat (okay, the ping of the bat) at the DeWitt E. Reynolds softball field.  So, if you ever find yourself in the southernmost point of the United States, longing for a taste of the National Pastime’s “pastime,”  pay a visit to the Wickers Sports Complex.  When there, be sure to stop by the old outfield wall located beyond center field.  It’s part of the game’s history, although, I do not suggest anyone sit on the park bench.

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Posted in Florida ballparks, Wickers Stadium | Comments (27)

  • Avatar Kurt Schweizer says:

    Great pics and info. I will be sure to pay a visit to Wickers the next time Im in KW. I love visiting the sites of old minor league stadiums. 🙂

  • Avatar Russ says:

    I worked for the Miami Orioles in 1975 when Key West was in the Florida State League and we visited the Cubs at Wickers Stadium many times that year. That was a wonderful road trip for a minor league ball club, lots of fun on and off the field.

  • Byron Bennett Byron Bennett says:

    Hello Russ

    Would you happen to have any pictures of Wickers Stadium from that year?

  • Avatar Russ says:

    Byron,
    Somewhere . . . I was the ticket manager for the Miami Orioles back then, so I had no official capacity when we went to
    Key West or anywhere else around the league. But somewhere in those old records and files I might find something, hopefully. I’ll keep you posted.

  • Byron Bennett Byron Bennett says:

    It would be great to be able to post some pictures of the stadium. Please let me know if you find some.

  • Avatar Kevin says:

    Hi Russ! It’s unbelievable, and so fantastic to find you on here. It was so great working with you all that time for the Orioles.

  • Avatar Russ says:

    Kevin, What a wonderful surprise to hear from you in this way. I will never forget all the help you were to me in those unforgetable days at Miami Stadium with the Miami Orioles. Let me know if you are still in baseball, I would love to hear from you.

  • Avatar Don says:

    I was stationed at the Marine Barracks in Key West 1974/75. My wife and I lived in the Stadium apartments/motel for three months when we first arrived. It was a short walk to the field and we would go watch the team play. Several of the wives of the players lived at the Stadium Apartments as well. Since my wife was pregnant as were a few of them, they got along well. It was cheap entertainment and they would give away cases of Coke and other “door” prizes throughout the game according to ticket numbers. My wife and I didn’t have to buy Coke at all during the season as we won at least one per home game. Although they didn’t win very many games, they always played hard and I have to say the umpiring was something less that third-rate, too; but we got to boo the umpires for fun as a result. Often there was but one umpire per game. The first base line was, of course, the home stands so we got to see a lot of plays at first. Old days, man, old days.

  • Byron Bennett Byron Bennett says:

    Hello Don – Thanks for your comment. Would you happen to have any photographs of Wickers Stadium or the area immediately around the ballpark from 1975? DBS

  • Avatar Don says:

    Unfortunately, I don;t believe so. A loss of household goods in an overseas assignment to (then) West Germany, or rather, on the return to the states. Several photo albums gone, as well as other irreplaceable keepsakes and a full set of wedding china came up missing. I can tell you that there were lots of palm trees and those fan-shaped bushes in the area. The lights were sometimes shorted out by aggressive insects. I have a few pictures of Key West itself I believe, and I will spend some time looking in my physical archives. If I find any, I will inform you here then I can scan and email them to you. Don’t get your hopes up, though.

  • Avatar Don says:

    OBTW, we weren’t there for this story, but the ball players and their wives talked about it often.

    http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1972318/posts

  • Avatar Don says:

    The Monroe County library does have one picture of the field in their archives. It’s located here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/keyslibraries/4029220211/sizes/z/in/photostream/

    at the library’s Flickr account. Hope this helps as I’m having no luck so far with finding any pictures or my own.

  • Byron Bennett Byron Bennett says:

    Hello Don

    What a great story. Thanks for sharing.

  • Byron Bennett Byron Bennett says:

    Wow. This is great Don. The first picture of the stadium I have seen. Am I correct that the grandstand sat near the corner of Flagler and 14th Street?

  • Avatar Don says:

    I believe so, but don’t count on my memory from 40 years ago. 😉 You may get a sense of it from the story, they talk about where the ball may have landed.

  • Avatar Dave Horton says:

    Love to have a colored picture of Wicker Stadium. I had some because I played there in 1971 for the Suncaps but, my xwife took care of them. Love to have a old game jersey but, I understand those were buried with the stadium. Horton

  • Byron Bennett Byron Bennett says:

    Hello Dave Just finding any pictures of Wicker Stadium has been tough. Hopefully more will turn up. I noticed your minor league record says you also played for he Bristol Tigers of the Appalachian League – at Devault Memorial Stadium. That stadium is still there. I guess any pictures you had of that league are with your ex wife as well, but if you ever come up with any, please let me know.

  • Avatar Dave Roberts says:

    I grew up in Key West in the 70’s and attended many games at Wicker. Don’t know if anyone else corrected your notes, but the grandstand and home plate were at the corner of 14th Street between Duck and Pearl Ave. Third base line was parallel to 14th.

    Dave Horton – I actually have an authentic KW Sun Caps New Era cap that I bought off of Frank Snorbush 20+ years ago – he was the GM of the Sun Caps back then and had a memorabilia shop in St. Pete in the 90’s. He had a Sun Caps jersey too, but wasn’t ready to sell it at that time. I’d be surprised if he is still around.

    Many memories of Wicker as a kid. Hate that it’s gone.

  • Byron Bennett Byron Bennett says:

    Dave – Thanks for the correction. I’ve made the changes on the website. I truly appreciate your taking the time to set the record straight.

  • Avatar Dave Horton says:

    Hello: Trying to get a hold of Dave Roberts on the Key West Suncaps Hat. Would love to have it if it is still available. I remember Snorbush as General Manager. Please get back with me at wyattearpphoto@charter.net

  • […] The website Deadball Baseball has some nice photos and history of Wickers field here. […]

  • Avatar Dave Horton says:

    Hello Dave Roberts my email is new and I am still looking for that hat, from the Suncaps baseball team..

  • Byron Bennett Byron Bennett says:

    I hope Dave Roberts sees your post here. Good luck in your search for a Suncap hat.

  • Avatar Dave Horton says:

    New email address if someone finds that suncap hat or uniform jersey. wyattearpphoto@hotmail.com

  • Avatar Abel says:

    Thanks for all this info. Cruised to the Keys from Miami a couple days ago and visited this site. Saw the wall, the sign. Very cool to learn baseball was played in the Keys years ago. I was an Orioles spring training batboy during their Bobby Maduro Miami stadium days in the late 80s (another demolished former beautiful ballpark) and turns out Boog Powell is originally from the Keys and from what i’m told still visits 🙂

  • […] about 1970; it’s hard to believe it was the home of a professional team. That photo is from a page on Deadball Baseball that also has pictures of the site today, and here’s a page with more on Key West’s […]

  • Avatar skip schwoeble says:

    Just happened to catch this great site when I plugged in “Wicker Stadium” while cruising around looking for info on old memories of Wicker Staium of mine. My daughter and a friend visited what she thought was the sight where “I left my knee” on third base. Actually I returned to that sight about a year later to play again, but that’s another story. Of course my playing days were too long ago for anyone to remember. I’m lalking about 1957,1958 in Key West.The Island City Winter League,with guys like locals Papo Quesada and a young Rodrigues and I was too young to know better. But it was a beautiful stadium then and I took my family back to visit twenty years later and 40 years after that, my daughter visited the stadium with her friend,hopefully with photos I can share with you. Thank you all, Skip

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