Posts Tagged ‘Florida East Coast League’

Flamingo Field in Miami Beach, Florida

March 7th, 2018

Flamingo Park Baseball Stadium is located at 15th St and North Michigan Avenue in Miami Beach, Florida.

Flamingo Park Baseball Stadium, Miami Beach Florida, on Michigan Avenue, Just South of 15th Street

It is part of a larger recreation area also known as Flamingo Park. The main entrance to the Park is located south of the baseball stadium at 1200 Meridian Avenue.

Welcome To Flamingo Park, Miami Beach Florida

Flamingo Park includes tennis courts, a swimming pool, and handball courts. The park has a Rich history of its own.

Handball Courts, Flamingo Park, Miami Beach, Florida

In 1925, Flamingo Field was constructed in the same location of the current baseball stadium. Flamingo Field’s grandstand was constructed by the Federal Emergency Relief Administration in the 1930s.

Grandstands at Flamingo Park – Miami Beach, Florida. 1935. Black & white photonegative, 4 x 5 in. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. <https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/144428>, accessed 4 March 2018.

The New York Giants held their Spring Training at Flamingo Field in 1934 and 1935. Henry Fabian, the famed groundskeeper for the New York Giants, created at Flamingo Field what the New York Times called “exclusive swank with a dash of Coney Island” (Drebinger, John, “21 Giants Report as Training Starts In a Bizarre Setting at Miami Beach,” New York Times, February 25, 1934). The Times noted that Flamingo Field was built “on an expansive meadow that had once been used for polo and subsequently converted into a baseball field of sorts.” Also, according to the Times, “[a] small grand stand forms a semi-circle behind home plate. The rest of the field is closed off with a canvas fence and off to one side is a stucco dwelling which has been converted into a clubhouse.”

Training With the Giants. New York Giants Outfielder Mel Ott training at Flamingo Field, March 7, 1934 (Photo Credit; ACME -United Press International)

The Philadelphia Phillies trained at Flamingo Field both before World War II, from 1940 to 1942, and after, in 1946. The last major league team to train at Flamingo Field was the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1947.

Other New York Giants Florida Spring Training cites include Payne Park (1924 to 1927), Al Lang Field (1951), and Sanford, Florida (minor league camp). Other Philadelphia Phillies Florida Spring Training cites include LECOM Park – McKechnie Field (1925 to 1927), Clearwater Athletic Field (1947 to 1954), and Jack Russell Stadium (1955 to 2003). Other Pittsburgh Pirates Florida Spring Training cites include J.P. Small Memorial Park (1918), Rickwood Field (1919), Jaycee Park (1954), Terry Park (1955 to 1968), and LECOM Park – McKechnie Field (1969 to present).

Flamingo Field, Miami Beach Florida

Two minor league teams called Flamingo Field their home: the Class D Florida East Coast League Miami Beach Tigers in 1940, the Miami Beach Flamingos from 1941 to 1942, and the Class C and B Florida International League Miami Beach Flamingos from 1946 to 1952, as well as in 1954.

Flamingo Field, Miami Beach Florida

Flamingo Field was demolished in 1967 and a new structure was built on the same site. Designated as Miami Beach Stadium, today it is commonly known as Flamingo Park.

Dedication Plaque for Miami Beach Stadium, 1967, at Flamingo Park, Miami Beach Florida

Flamingo Park was built with the idea of bringing Major League Spring Training back to Miami Beach. The team associated with that effort was the New York Mets, who at the time were training in Al Lang Field.

First Base Dugout, Flamingo Park, Miami Beach Florida

The “new” steel grandstand (now over 50 years old) is somewhat reminiscent of the original wooden grandstand that was located behind home plate and built by the FERA.

Grandstand, Flamingo Park, Miami Beach Florida

Flamingo Park features an Art Deco-inspired front entrance, in keeping with much of the architecture of Miami Beach.

Front Entrance, Flamingo Park, Miami Beach Florida

Ticket Booth and Front Gate, Flamingo Park, Miami Beach Florida

A metal grate located behind the stadium grandstand includes a sign proclaiming “Flamingo Park Baseball Stadium,” and  also serves to protects against over zealous fans who might be tempted to climb out on the grandstand roof from the stairs that lead to the press box.

Grandstand, Flamingo Park, Miami Beach Florida

Just Southeast of Flamingo Park Baseball Stadium is a second baseball field located behind center field, which presumably was once part of the larger Spring Training baseball complex.

Practice Field, Flamingo Park, Miami Beach Florida

Practice Field, Flamingo Park, Miami Beach Florida

Although Major League Baseball never returned to Flamingo Park, according to the City of Miami Beach, Major League players use the field to train during the off season. In addition, Flamingo Park Baseball Stadium is used for high school baseball (the Miami Beach High Tides) and various adult amateur leagues.

Marlins Park, Home of the Miami Marlins

Flamingo Park is located just six miles East of Marlins Park, the Home of the Miami Marlins, and just 18 miles Southeast of the Miami Marlins former home, Hard Rock Stadium (formerly Joe Robbie Stadium).

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

If you are visiting Miami or attending a Major League game at Marlins Park, consider taking the short drive East along A1A to see where Major League Spring Training once was played over 70 years ago.

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West Palm Beach Spring Training History – Connie Mack Field and Municipal Stadium

March 2nd, 2018

West Palm Beach boasts a proud Spring Training history. Both the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals now call West Palm Beach their Spring Training home. Opened in 2017, The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches is located at 5444 Haverhill Road in West Palm Beach.

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

Since 1998, the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals have play their Spring Training home games at Roger Dean Stadium in nearby Jupiter Florida. Located at 4751 Main Street, Roger Dean Stadium is just 12 miles north of The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter Florida,

Spring Training in West Palm Beach dates back to at least 1928. The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and Roger Dean Stadium both were preceded by two other now-lost ballparks, Connie Mack Field and West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium.

Connie Mack Field (Photo – The Remembering Connie Mack Field Committee)

West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium Complex (Postcard Holley Studio, Palm Beach Florida)

Connie Mack Field (formerly Municipal Athletic Field (1924 to 1926) and Wright Field 1927 to 1952)) was located approximately seven miles southeast of The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches at the intersection of Tamarind Avenue and Okeechobee Boulevard.

Intersection of Okeechobee Blvd. and Tamarind Avenue, Former Site of Connie Mack Field.

Connie Mack Field was the spring training home of the St. Louis Browns from 1928 to 1936, and the Philadelphia/Kansas City Athletics from 1946 to 1962. Previously, the Athletics had trained in Florida at Durkee Field (later renamed J. P. Small Memorial Park) in Jacksonville, Florida, from 1914 to 1918, and Terry Park in Fort Myers, Florida, from 1925 to 1936.

Bobby Shantz at Connie Mack Field circa 1950’s during Philadelphia Athletics Spring Training

Connie Mack Field also was home to the West Palm Beach Indians, who played in the Florida East Coast League from 1940 to 1942, the Florida International League from 1946 to 1955, and the Florida State League in 1955. In 1956 the Florida State League West Palm Beach Sun Chiefs played at Connie Mack Field, and from 1965 to 1968 the Florida State League West Palm Beach Braves played their home games at the ballpark.

Connie Mack Field Grandstand (Photo – The Remembering Connie Mack Field Committee)

Demolished in 1992, the former grandstand site is now a parking garage for the Kravitz Center for the Performing Arts.

Entrance to Kravis Center Parking Garage, Iris Street, Former Site of Connie Mack Field

The Remembering Connie Mack Field Committee has memorialized the ballpark with a display located near the elevators on the first floor of the Kravis Center Parking Garage.

Display About Connie Mack Field Located on Level 1 of the Kravis Center Garage – The Remembering Connie Mack Field Committee

The display includes photographs of the ballpark, two of which are reproduced above (with attribution to The Remembering Connie Mack Field Committee).

Photos of Connie Mack Field – The Remembering Connie Mack Field Committee)

Home plate is marked with a plaque just to the south the Kravitz Center Parking Garage.

Home Plate Looking Toward Pitchers Mound, Former Site of Connie Mack Field, Located Adjacent To Kravis Center Parking Lot, West Palm Beach, Florida

A significant portion of the former infield is now a storm water retention pond.

Former Site of Connie Mack Field, Infield Near the Intersection of Okeechobee Blvd. and Tamarind Avenue,

The former left field line paralleled Okeechobee Boulevard.

Okeechobee Blvd. Looking East , Former Site of Connie Mack Field Left Field Line

Center field was located at the northeast corner of Okeechobee Boulevard and Tamarind Avenue.

Former Site of Connie Mack Field, Center Field Near the Intersection of Okeechobee Blvd. and Tamarind Avenue

The plaque honoring the location of home plate states “Connie Mack Field (Wright Field)  This monument marks the exact location of home plate. The concrete base that supports this plaque is the original base set in 1924. Some of the great players who batted here Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, & Ted Williams. Go ahead step up to the plate.”

Home Plate Marker, Former Site of Connie Mack Field, Located Adjacent To Kravis Center Parking Lot, West Palm Beach, Florida

West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium was located just five miles southeast of The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, at 715 Hank Aaron Drive.

Doyle Alelxander, Circa Early 1970s, West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium

Municipal Stadium was the spring training home of the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves from 1963 to 1997, and the Montreal Expos from 1969 to 1972 and 1981 to 1997. Previously, the Braves had trained in Florida at Waterfront Park in St. Petersburg, Florida, from 1922 to 1937, and McKechnie Field (now LECOM Park), in Bradenton, Florida, from 1938 to 1940, and 1948 to 1962.

Batting Tunnels, Municipal Stadium, West Palm Beach, Florida (Postcard Montreal Expos)

The stadium complex included four playing fields in addition to the stadium structure.

Aerial View of Municipal Stadium, West Palm Beach, Florida (Postcard Montreal Expos)

In addition to Spring Training, West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium was the home of the Florida State League West Palm Beach Expos from 1969 to 1997 and the Senior Professional Baseball Association West Palm Beach Tropics from 1989 to 1990.

West Palm Beach Expos 1987 Program

Demolished in 2002, the former ballpark site is now a Home Depot and Cameron Estates, a gated housing development.

Home Depot Parking Lot Entrance, Former Site of West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium Parking Lot Behind Grandstand

The entrance to the former stadium complex is on Hank Aaron Drive, where it intersects North Congress Avenue.

Intersection of Hank Aaron Drive and Congress Drive, Former Site of West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium

The grandstand was located near the entrance to the Home Depot off Hank Aaron Drive.

Entrance to Home Depot Off Hank Aaron Drive, Former Site of West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium Grandstand and Infield

Back Entrance To Home Depot From Hank Aaron Drive, Former Site of West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium First Base Grandstand

Home plate was located approximately in the back lot behind the Home Depot.

Home Depot Back Lot Looking West, Former Site of West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium Home Plate

 

Al Bumbry, Circa Early 1970s, West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium

The right field line paralleled Hank Aaron Drive.

Hank Aaron Drive Looking South Along former right field line of West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium

A portion of Cameron Estates, behind the Home Depot, now occupies the former right field.

Cameron Estates, Private Drive Off Hank Aaron Drive, Former Site of West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium Right Field

Center field was located in the northeast section of Cameron Estates, behind the Home Depot back lot.

Cameron Estates on Left and Home Depot Back Lot on Right, Looking East, Former Site of West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium Center Field

Cameron Estates also envelops portions of the former practice fields that sat to the south of the stadium structure.

Entrance to Cameron Estates, former site of Former Site of West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium Practice Fields

One distinctive landmark that remains just northeast of the former site of West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium is the former West Palm Beach Auditorium, now the West Palm Beach Christian Convention Center.

West Palm Beach Christian Convention Center

Although both Connie Mack Field and West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium are now lost ballparks, The Remembering Connie Mack Field Committee has done a wonderful job of memorializing the history and former site of Connie Mack Field. Perhaps a similar group will take it upon itself to memorialize West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium as well. These ballparks are significant to the history of baseball in Florida, for both their Spring Training games and the minor league teams that played at those ballparks.

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