Posts Tagged ‘Grapefruit League’

Space Coast Stadium’s New Frontier

March 17th, 2019

Space Coast Stadium (now Space Coast Complex) is located at 5800 Stadium Parkway in Viera, Florida.

Space Coast Stadium Marque When the Washington Nationals Held Spring Training at the Facility

A former minor league ballpark and major league spring training facility, Space Coast Complex is now operated by the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA).

Space Coast Stadium Complex Marque For Current Tenant United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA)

Space Coast Stadium opened in March 1994 as the Spring Training Home of the Florida Marlins.

Space Coast Stadium, March 2005, Then Spring Training Home of the Washington Nationals

The Florida Marlins departed Space Coast Stadium after the 2002 Spring Training season.

Loading Dock Concession Stand, Space Coast Florida, Viera, Florida, March 2005

The Montreal Expos made Space Coast Stadium their Spring Training home in 2003.

Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida, March 2005

Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida, March 2015

Two years later the Nationals arrived at Space Coast Stadium, when the Expos franchise was relocated to Washington, D.C., in 2005 and changed to the Washington Nationals.

Washington Nationals Logo Banner, Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida, March 2005

The Nationals held their Spring Training at Space Coast Stadium through the 2016 season.

Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

During the Nationals 11 seasons at Space Coast Stadium, the franchise made numerous upgrades to the ballpark,including  repainting much of the structure Nationals red, white, and blue colors.

Exterior of Grandstand, Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

Ticket Kiosk, Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

The interior concourse was upgraded as well, although most of the 1990s stadium architecture remained unchanged.

Grand Slam Grill, Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

The Space Coast Stadium grandstand had no cover and, as such, offered little reprieve from the Florida Sun during day games.

Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

In addition to Spring Training, Space Coast Stadium was the home to the Florida State League Brevard County Manatees from 1994 through 2016.

Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

It also hosted Gulf Coast League games for the GCL Nationals from 2005 through 2016.

Scoreboard, Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

The light stanchions at Space Coast Stadium had additional seating for ospreys or owls on a first come, first served basis.

Light Stanchion and Bird Nest, Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

The Nationals team store was markedly minor league when compared to Spring Training team stores as they appear today.

Team Store, Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

The Nationals departed Space Coast Stadium for good after the 2016 season. Bryce Harper departed the Nationals for good after the 2018 season.

Former National Bryce Harper, Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

The good news for Space Coast Stadium is that it does not appear it will become a lost ballpark, unlike so many of the other former Grapefruit League MLB Spring Training homes.

Space Coast Stadium Complex, Current Tenant United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA)

Rechristened Space Coast Complex, the ballpark and surrounding practice fields appear much as they did when Major League Baseball reigned at the complex.

Space Coast Stadium Complex, Current Tenant United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA)

The practice fields surrounding the stadium remain, many converted for use as softball fields.

Practice Fields, Space Coast Stadium Complex, Viera, Florida

A map of the complex shows the location of the various practice fields.

Map of Space Coast Complex, Formerly Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

A monument to the Space Shuttle remains at Space Coast Complex. The plaque states it is “Dedicated to America’s Pioneering Spirit in Space Exploration by the men and women of the John F. Kennedy Space Center.”

Space Shuttle Monument, Space Coast Complex, Viera, Florida

Another vestige of the site’s former use is a statute of a baseball player celebrating the early days of baseball.

Statute of Baseball Player, Space Coast Complex, Viera, Florida

The ballplayer faces towards Space Coast Stadium, as if waiting in vain for professional baseball players who never will return now that the Nationals hold their spring training 117 miles south down I-95 in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, West Palm Beach, Florida (Photo Courtesy of Pete Kerzel)

The Nationals new spring home, known as FITTEAM Ballpark at the Palm Beaches, is a modern facility that, like its pretentious name, outshines and out-glosses the 1990s minor league charm of Space Coast Stadium. If you are traveling south down I-95 towards West Palm Beach for a Nationals Spring Training game, Space Coast Complex is just a few miles west and worth a stop, if you want to get a feel for a spring training baseball site built in 25 years ago. Thankfully, it does not appear that Space Coast Stadium is in any danger of becoming a lost ballpark any time soon.

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Miami Stadium – Later Bobby Maduro Stadium

February 23rd, 2019

Miami Stadium was located at 2301 Northwest 10th Avenue in Miami, Florida. 

Miami Stadium Postcard (Gulf Stream Card & Distribution Co., Miami , Florida, City of Miami News Photo, Genuine Curteich-Chicago C.T. Art Colortone)

Constructed in 1949, Miami Stadium hosted both Major League Spring Training and Minor League baseball games.

Former Site of Miami Stadium Front Entrance, NW 10th Avenue, and NW 23rd Street, Miami, Florida

In 1987, Miami Stadium was renamed Bobby Maduro Miami Stadium in honor of Miami resident Roberto “Bobby” Maduro. Mr. Maduro was the former owner of two professional baseball teams in Cuba, the Havana Cubans and the Havana Sugar Kings. He emigrated from Cuba in 1960 after Fidel Castro rose to power.

Entrance to Miami Stadium (From Cover, 1986 Baltimore Orioles Spring Training Program)

The Miami Sun Sox of the Florida International League began play in the ballpark in 1949, playing at Miami Stadium through the 1954 season. 

Fan Photo of Miami Stadium, July 5, 1951

In 1950, the Brooklyn Dodgers made Miami Stadium their Spring Training home, where they played through the 1957 spring season. The Dodgers also trained in Vero Beach, Florida, beginning in 1948, however, the big league club played their Spring Training games in Miami.

Former Site of Miami Stadium First Base Grandstand Paralleling NW 23rd Street

The following year, the Los Angeles Dodgers played their spring training games at stadium, but just for the 1958 spring season. The following year, the Los Angeles Dodgers moved their games to Holman Stadium, which was constructed in Vero Beach in 1953.

Miami Stadium Postcard (Tichnor Quality Views, Card 693, Tichnor Brothers, Inc., Boston)

The Baltimore Orioles took over Miami Stadium the following spring season, training there over 30 seasons, from 1959 until 1990. 

Miami Stadium Outfield and Scoreboard, April 1966

The Orioles previously had spent Spring Training in Daytona Beach, Florida (1955), and Scottsdale, Arizona (1956 to 1958).

Baltimore Oriole Earl Williams Taking Batting Practice at Miami Stadium March 3, 1973

 
The Florida State League Miami Marlins and the Miami Orioles also played their home games at Miami Stadium from 1962 to 1988. 
 

Miami Orioles Ticket, 1975, Miami Stadium

 
Once the Orioles departed, Miami Stadium hosted no additional major league teams, although a Miami entrant to the Inter-American League played for part of one season in 1979, and the Gold Coast Suns of the Senior Professional Baseball League played at Miami Stadium from 1989 to 1990.
 
 

Banner Advertising Miami Stadium Apartments, Former Site of Miami Stadium Third Base Grandstand

The ballpark stood another 10 years, largely unused, with the exception of some college baseball games that were played there during the 1990s. 

Entrance to Miami Stadium Apartments, Former Site of Miami Stadium Third Base
Grandstand

In 2001, Miami Stadium was demolished and construction began that same year on the Miami Stadium Apartments, which now sit on a majority of the former ballpark site.

Intersection of NW 10th Avenue and NW 24th Street, Looking Toward Former Site of Miami Stadium Third Base Grandstand and Infield

At the entrance to the apartments on NW 10th Avenue is a historical marker, although I have yet to return to the site to take a picture of the plaque.

Gated Entrance, Miami Stadium Apartments, Former Site of Miami Stadium Third Base Grandstand and Left Field

The intersection of NW 10th Avenue and NW 25th Street is where the third base grandstand once stood. 

Intersection of NW 10th Avenue and NW 25th Street, Looking Toward Former Site of Miami Stadium Third Base Grandstand

Miami Stadium Apartments from NW 10th Avenue, Former Site of Miami Stadium, Looking Toward First Base Grandstand and Home Plate

A parking lot for the apartments covers a significant portion of the former infield.

Miami Stadium Apartments, Former Site of Miami Stadium Approximate Location of Pitchers Mound Looking Toward Home Plate (intersection 10th Ave and 23rd st)

Miami Stadium Apartments Parking Lot, Former Site of Miami Stadium Second Base Looking Toward Center Field

The same is true for a portion of the former site of center field. The paving of paradise . . . 

Former Site of Miami Stadium Center Field Looking Toward First Base Line

Folks enjoying the pool at Miami Stadium Apartments are swimming in the area that was once left field.

Swimming Pool At Miami Stadium Apartments, Former Site of Miami Stadium Left Center Field

A volley ball court also sits in a portion of what was once Miami Stadium’s left field. 

Volley Ball Court, Miami Stadium Apartments, Former Site of Miami Stadium Left Field

The former Site of Miami Stadium’s right field, and a portion of center field, remain undeveloped, with a grass field marking the spot.

Former Site of Miami Stadium Looking Toward Center and Right Field

Vacant Lot, Former Site of Miami Stadium Center and Right Field

Many buildings from the 1950s and 1960s surrounding the former stadium site remain.

House on NW 10th Avenue Dating Back to Time of Miami Stadium

Building at Southwest Corner of NW 10th Avenue and NW 23rd Street, Across from Former Front Gates, Miami Stadium

Warehouse at 864 NW 23rd Street, Across Street from Former Site of First Base Grandstand, Miami Stadium

Of particular note is the Miami Stadium Market, located across the street from the former left field corner. 

Miami Stadium Market, Located Across The Street Former Site of Miami Stadium Left Field Corner

 
The store certainly captures a bit of the neighborhood/architectural feel of the old ballpark. 
 

Miami Stadium Market, Located Across The Street Former Site of Miami Stadium Left Field Corner

The Miami Stadium Apartments are located a mere two miles northeast of Marlins Park, home of the current-day Miami Marlins.

Opening Day 2016 at Marlins Park, Home of the Miami Marlins

If anyone happens to take a trip to the old ballpark site, I certainly would appreciate your sending me a photo of the historic plaque that now marks the spot. Just post a comment on this page and I will contact you.

Miami Stadium 1975 Orioles Scorecard

 

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City of Palms Park – The Red Sox First Spring Training Home In Fort Myers

February 27th, 2015

City of Palms Park is located at 2201 Edison Avenue in Fort Myers, Florida. Constructed in 1992, it is the newest Grapefruit League venue already abandoned as a major league spring training home. Only Tucson Electric Park in Tucson, Arizona, built in 1998 and abandoned by major league baseball in 2010, is newer.

City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

City of Palms Park was the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox from 1993 through 2011. The Gulf Coast League Red Sox also played at City of Palms Park during those same years.

City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

The Red Sox relocated to Fort Myers from Chain of Lakes Park in Winter Haven Florida, where they had trained since 1966.

Lee County Sports Authority Sign, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Lee County Sports Authority Sign, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

As a spring training facility, City of Palms Park was a great place to watch a ballgame. It’s one major drawback, which helped lead to the Red Sox’s departure, was its lack of sufficient training fields located adjacent to the stadium to handle all of the Red Sox major league and minor league players. As such, the Red Sox played their exhibition games at City of Palms Park, but trained (both major and minor league players) two and a half miles away at the Lee County Player Development Complex.

Entrance to City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Entrance to City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Because of its relatively young age, the stadium featured many of the more modern upgrades teams and fans have come to expect at spring training venues.

Starting Lineup , City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Starting Lineup , City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

The stadium entrance was sufficiently wide to allow fans easy entry.

Front Entrance Gates, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Front Entrance Gates, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Still, the uncovered concourse around the stadium could get fairly packed during sold out Red Sox games.

Concourse, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Concourse, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Entrance to the Concourse, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Entrance to the Concourse, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

The ballpark included plenty of options and places to purchase food and souvenirs.

Souvenir Stand, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Souvenir Stand, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Red Sox Souvenirs, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Red Sox Souvenirs, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

One of the ballpark’s best features was its wide, expansive roof over the grandstand, providing plenty of shade to fans sitting underneath.

View of Grandstand from Left Field Line, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

View of Grandstand from Left Field Line, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Press Box and Suites, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Press Box and Suites, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Down the right field line was a covered eating area featuring Red Sox retired jersey numbers.

Red Sox Retired Player Numbers Honored at City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Red Sox Retired Player Numbers Honored at City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Near the right field corner was berm seating.

Right Field Berm, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Right Field Berm, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

The right field porch included a bench table seating area, similar to seating at Fenway Park above the Green Monster in left field.

View of Grandstand From Right Field Porch, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

View of Grandstand From Right Field Porch, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Right Field Porch,  City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Right Field Porch, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

The bullpens were located beyond the outfield fence.

DSCN1597 copy

John Lackey Warming Up In Outfield at  City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

John Lackey Warming Up In Outfield at City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

The scoreboard at City of Palms Park was old school, although not as old school as Fenway Park’s manually operated scoreboard.

Scoreboard, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Scoreboard, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Right Field, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Right Field, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

City of Palms Park was  picturesque, a wonderful place to watch a ball game. After the Red Sox announced they would be leaving ,Cit of Palms Park it seemed a shame that professional baseball no longer would be played there.

City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

In 2012, the Red Sox relocated 14 miles southeast of City of Palms Park to brand new Jet Blue Stadium.

Jet Blue Stadium, Spring Training Home of the Boston Red Sox, Fort Myers, Florida

Jet Blue Stadium, Spring Training Home of the Boston Red Sox, Fort Myers, Florida

Unlike City of Palms Park, which is located near the heart of downtown Fort Myers, Jet Blue Stadium is located far from downtown, on land next to the Southwest Florida International Airport (which is appropriate given the name of the ballpark).

Jet Blue Stadium Construction Site, Circa 2011, Spring Training Home of the Boston Red Sox, Fort Myers, Florida

Jet Blue Stadium Construction Site, Circa 2011, Spring Training Home of the Boston Red Sox, Fort Myers, Florida

The Boston Red Sox are long-time spring training residents of Florida’s Grapefruit League. The ballparks they have called home have reflected the ever changing style of stadium construction:

"Baseball Spring Training Boston Red Sox in Action, Sarasota, Fla." (Postcard M.E. Russell, Sarasota FL, Photo by Burnell. Cureich-Chicago C.T. Art-Colortone

Payne Park, “Baseball Spring Training Boston Red Sox in Action, Sarasota, Fla.” (Postcard M.E. Russell, Sarasota FL, Photo by Burnell. Cureich-Chicago C.T. Art-Colortone

from Payne Park in Sarasota in the 1940s and 1950s, to Chain of Lake Parks in Winter Haven in the 1960s,

Chain Of Lakes Park, Winter  Haven, Florida

Chain Of Lakes Park, Winter Haven, Florida

to City of Palms Park,

View From the First Base Grandstand, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

View From the First Base Grandstand, City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

to Jet Blue Stadium.

Jet Blue Stadium, Spring Training Home of the Boston Red Sox, Fort Myers, Florida

Jet Blue Stadium, Spring Training Home of the Boston Red Sox, Fort Myers, Florida

After the Red Sox departed City of Palms Park, Lee County attempted to convince the Washington Nationals to train at the stadium. After those efforts proved unsuccessful, City of Palms Park and practice field was reconfigured as a college softball and baseball park. Currently, the ballpark is home to the Florida SouthWestern State College Buccaneers baseball and softball teams. The good news is it does not appear that City of Palms Park will any time soon become a lost ballpark. And with a college team now resident there, it is still possible to see a game at City of Palms Park.

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Jack Russell Stadium – The Phillies’ Second Clearwater Home

February 25th, 2015

Jack Russell Stadium is located at 800 Phillies Drive in Clearwater, Florida.

Jack Russell Stadium, August 1956, Clearwater, Florida

For almost 50 years it was the spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2004

Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2004

Constructed in 1954, the ballpark opened in 1955 when the Phillies moved their spring training home two blocks west from Clearwater Athletic Field.

View of Jack Russell Field From Former Site of Clearwater Ball Field

View of Jack Russell Field From Former Site of Clearwater Athletic Field, Clearwater, Florida, 2015

The Phillies had held their spring training at Clearwater Athletic Field since 1947.

Aerial Photo of Clearwater Athletic Field, Clearwater and Jack Russell Stadium, Florida (Photo St. Petersburg Times Photo Dept.)

Aerial Photo of Clearwater Athletic Field in Background and Jack Russell Stadium in Foreground, Clearwater, Florida (Photo St. Petersburg Times Photo Dept.)

Jack Russell Stadium was also home to the Florida State League Clearwater Phillies from 1985 to 2003.

Clearwater Stadium Postcard (Tichnor Quality Views, Tichnor Bros., Inc.)

Clearwater Stadium Postcard (Tichnor Quality Views, Tichnor Bros., Inc.)

The ballpark was named after Jack Russell, a former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators, Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs, and St. Louis Cardinals, who settled in Clearwater, Florida, after his 16 major league career ended  in 1940.

Jack Russell Stadium, 1971, Pregame Ceremony, Tokyo Giants v. The Philadelphia Phillies, Clearwater, Floriida

Russell helped spearhead the construction of a new ballpark in Clearwater to replace the outdated Clearwater Athletic Park.

Russell Field - Major League Baseball, Clearwater, Florida - Postcard (Curteichcolor Art Creation)

Russell Field – Major League Baseball, Clearwater, Florida – Postcard (Curteichcolor Art Creation)

Jack Russell Stadium’s grandstand was built in the same mold as other Florida spring training ballparks of that era such as Al Lopez Stadium in Tampa and Fort Lauderdale Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

Exterior, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2004

Exterior, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2004

The grandstand was single deck, covered from first base around to third base.

First Base Grandstand, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2004

First Base Grandstand, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2004

The press box was located behind home plate under the overhang.

Press Box, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2004

Press Box, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2004

The grandstand included aluminum seats in the lower seating bowl and aluminum bleachers under the grandstand roof.

Aluminum Seating, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2004

Aluminum Seating, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2004

In 2004, the Phillies left Jack Russell Stadium and relocated four miles east to brand new Bright House Stadium.

Bright House Field, Clearwater, Florida, Spring Training Home of the Philadelphia Phillies

Bright House Field, Clearwater, Florida, Spring Training Home of the Philadelphia Phillies

In 2007, the grandstand and the ticket office was demolished.

Front Entrance, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2004

Front Entrance and Grandstand, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2004

Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater Florida

Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater Florida

Metal bleachers along the first base line that had been installed at Jack Russell Stadium sometime after its original construction were preserved and still remain at the ballpark.

First Base Grandstand and Player Clubhouse, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2004

First Base Grandstand and Player Clubhouse, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2004

The dugouts were preserved and remain at the ballpark as well.

First Base Dugout, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2013

First Base Dugout, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2013

Metal bleachers located along the third base line were also preserved.

Home Plate, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2004

Home Plate, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2004

Third Base Grandstand, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2013

Third Base Grandstand, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2013

The scoreboard and batters eye remain at the site.

Outfield Wall, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2004

Outfield Wall, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2004

Back of Batter's Eye and Scoreboard, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater Florida, 2015

Back of Batter’s Eye and Scoreboard, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater Florida, 2015

The original concrete block wall still surrounds the stadium exterior.

Original Stadium Wall, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2013

Original Stadium Wall, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2013

Several administrative buildings also remain on site.

Administrative Building, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2013

Administrative Building, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2013

Third Base Grandstand and Concession Stand, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2013

Third Base Grandstand and Concession Stand, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Florida, 2013

Ticket Booth, Third Base Grandstand, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater Florida, 2015

Ticket Booth, Third Base Grandstand, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater Florida, 2015

Looking Toward Third Base Bleachers From Beyond Left Field Corner, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater Florida, 2015

Looking Toward Third Base Bleachers From Beyond Left Field Corner, Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater Florida, 2015

Although the grandstand constructed in 1954 is now gone, much of the rest of the ballpark remains intact, allowing visitors the opportunity to appreciate Florida Spring Training from the 1950s and 1960s.

Extra Innings Youth Foundation currently leases and maintains the ballpark. Extra Innings has “developed programs which include the introduction of baseball activities while simultaneously fostering academic improvement, spiritual guidance, and assisting young adults to become self sufficient in making life choices.” (See Extra Innings Website).

Any Phillies fans who are interested in the history of their team and the game itself should take the four mile drive from Bright House Field west on Drew Street to the former site of Clearwater Athletic Field and the current site of Jack Russell Stadium. Over 55 seasons of Phillies spring training history occurred at those two locations and they certainly are worth a visit.

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Fort Myer’s Terry Park – Over 100 Years of Baseball History

February 24th, 2015

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).

Grandstand, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Grandstand, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

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.

Ty Cobb, Thomas Edison, and Connie Mack at Terry Park (Photo From Collection of Edison and Ford Winter Estates)

Ty Cobb, Thomas Edison, and Connie Mack at Terry Park (Photo From the Edison and Ford Winter Estates Collection)

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.

Terry Park Postcard "Pittsburgh Pirates WInter Home" (Lustercrome, Tichnor Bros. Boston)

Terry Park Postcard “Pittsburgh Pirates Winter Home” (Lustercrome, Tichnor Bros. Boston)

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.

Terry Park Sign, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Terry Park Sign, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

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.

Park T. Pigott Historical Plaque, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Park T. Pigott Historical Plaque, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Pigott also was instrumental in bringing both the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Kansas City Royals to Terry Park for spring training.

Park T. Pigott Historical Sign, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Park T. Pigott Historical Sign, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

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.

Grandstand, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Grandstand, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

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.

Connie Mack Field at Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Connie Mack Field at Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Practice Field Bleachers Behind Main Grandstand, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Practice Field Bleachers Behind Main Grandstand, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Once professional baseball departed, Terry Park was used primarily for youth, American Legion, and high school baseball.

Outfield Wall, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Concrete Block Outfield Wall, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

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.

Left Field Line Looking Toward Grandstand, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Left Field Line Looking Toward Grandstand, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Although some of the girders installed in 1955 remain, the structure bears little resemblance to the historic grandstand it replaced.

Grandstand Interior, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Grandstand Interior, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

During the 2004 renovation, the dugouts also were replaced, as well as some, if not all, of the outfield wall.

View of Grandstand from Behind First Base Dugout, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

View of Grandstand from Behind First Base Dugout, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

The good news is that baseball is still played at Terry Park. The stadium is used year round for amateur and college baseball.

Sign Welcoming Players to Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Sign Welcoming Players to Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

In February and March each year, over 100 teams travel to Terry Park for the The Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic.

First Base Dugout, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

First Base Dugout, Terry Park, Fort Myers, Florida

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.

City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida, Former Spring Training Home of the Boston Red Sox

Since 2012, the Red Sox have trained at Jet Blue Stadium, located in Fort Myers 14 miles southeast from City of Palms Park.

Jet Blue Stadium, Spring Training Home of the Boston Red Sox, Fort Myers, Florida

Jet Blue Stadium, Current Spring Training Home of the Boston Red Sox, Fort Myers, Florida

The Minnesota Twins also train in Fort Myers, at Hammons Stadium, located just seven miles west of Jet Blue Stadium.

Hammond Stadium, Fort Myers, Florida, Spring Training Home of the Minnesota Twins

Hammons Stadium, Fort Myers, Florida, Spring Training Home of the Minnesota Twins

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.

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Posted in Florida ballparks, Terry Park/Park T. Pigott Memorial Stadium | Comments (2)