Baseball Gazette
February 2014
Greetings!   Welcome to the February edition of the Baseball Gazette, the e-newsletter of the Tampa Baseball Museum at the Al Lopez House . Each month, we deliver news and updates about our progress toward opening. About the photo: Tampa’s first Minor League team was the Tampa Smokers, which started in 1919 and continued until 1930. Revived in 1946, the Smokers regularly played the Havana Cubans as part of the Florida International League.

UT baseball team sweeps Cuban teams

A piece of Tampa’s baseball heritage has come full circle. The University of Tampa baseball team traveled to Cuba in January to play three exhibition games against some of the country’s best baseball teams.

The baseball ties between Cuba and Tampa began in the early 1900s with the establishment of the immigrant leagues, which included the Inter-social and factory leagues, and were composed of mainly Cuban and Italian immigrants. Until the 1960s, Tampa youth and Minor League teams regularly played Cuban teams.

During their week-long trip, the UT Spartans went 3-0, beating the Industriales Blue Lions (2-1), the Artemisa Cazadores (13-5), and the Mayabeque Huracanes (8-6).

UT baseball players pose with local Cuban boys during the team’s recent trip abroad. Photo credit: UT Athletics

Along with their success on the field, the players experienced Cuban culture off the field. They mingled with retired Cuban ballplayers at a city park in Havana and had the chance to speak with local artists and student groups.

Although the U.S. currently has an embargo against Cuba that restricts travel to the nation, the team was granted the ability to travel through a cultural literacy and international education license by the student ambassador group, People to People.

Parents, coaches and other representatives who helped organize the trip joined the team. Tampa City Councilman Charlie Miranda was among the group. He had traveled to Cuba as a youth to play a five-game series against Cuba’s top teams.

UT’s successful experience overseas is yet another highlight in Tampa’s deep, rich and illustrious baseball heritage.

New date for museum’s opening

During restoration of Al Lopez’s house, The Ybor City Museum Society determined need for additional rehabilitation in order to bring the 100-year-old home to the level of quality fitting for Tampa’s most cherished baseball memories.

As a result, the Tampa Baseball Museum at the Al Lopez House is now set to open in late 2014.

This change in the opening date also allows for more time to collect additional artifacts. For more information on donating an artifact for possible inclusion in exhibit space, visit TampaBaseballMuseum.org .
We appreciate your support and look forward to keeping you up-to-date about the Tampa Baseball Museum at the Al Lopez House .
In This Edition

New Supporters Thank you for supporting the Tampa Baseball Museum: – Hill Ward Henderson – Ronald Darrigo – RSA Architecture, Inc. – Gov. Bob and Mary Jane Martinez

Save the Date Join us for an event on Feb. 27, 7-10 p.m. at The Patio in South Tampa. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Tampa Baseball Museum. More details coming soon.

Thank you to our supporters:

Read past editions:

The Tampa Baseball Museum at the Al Lopez House is being developed by the Ybor City Museum Society , a nonprofit organization that preserves and promotes Ybor City’s cultural heritage and supports the Ybor City Museum State Park.
Tampa Baseball Museum at the Al Lopez House 2003 N. 19th Street | Tampa, Florida 33605 (813) 247-1434

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