Baseball Gazette
June 2013
Welcome to the first edition of the Tampa Baseball Museum at the Al Lopez House’s e-newsletter. Each month, we deliver news and updates about our progress toward opening.

Settling into a New Location

The Tampa Baseball Museum at the Al Lopez House recently took a major step toward becoming a home for the celebration, preservation, and education of local baseball culture. The former home of Tampa’s first Major League baseball player Al Lopez moved approximately 1.5 miles to its new location, where it will be transformed into a museum.

At 8 p.m. on May 15, crews from Florida Department of Transportation rolled the home off its original lot at 1210 E. 12th Avenue and began to inch toward 2003 N. 19th Street. Along with Al Lopez’s former home, FDOT simultaneously moved another home that will become a law enforcement museum through Hillsborough County Sherriff’s Office.

Al Lopez’s former home is placed at its
 new location around 9:30 a.m. on May 16.
 Photo credit: Tony Scaglione Photography

 

To ensure the integrity of the homes, moving and utility crews tediously navigated the route, which included such potentially hazardous obstacles as power lines, utility poles, traffic lights, trees and street signs. After nearly 14 hours, the museum’s future home was put into place around 9:30 a.m. on May 16. The houses now sit side-by-side near the corner of 19th Street and 9th Avenue.

Next, FDOT will create brick piers for the foundation and repair the roof. Once these projects are complete, the house will be released to the City of Tampa, which will in turn give it to the to Ybor City Museum Society. The museum will open in spring 2014.

Creating the Exhibits
Shu Shu Wirth, raised in Ybor City, played in the Girls Professional Baseball League.

To best honor and celebrate local baseball heritage, the Tampa Baseball Museum at the Al Lopez House is accepting artifacts and memorabilia for the museum’s permanent and rotating exhibits. The donated items will comprise more than 125 years of local baseball heritage.

With an emphasis on West Tampa, Ybor City and Tampa baseball, the museum is considering two- and three-dimensional items related to local Major, Minor, Negro, inter-social and local leagues, local fields, locally raised players and local youth baseball.

Two-dimensional items may include photographs, baseball cards, game tickets, game programs, game rosters, print advertisements, newspaper clippings and magazine articles. Three-dimensional items may include batting helmets, gloves, jerseys, hats, catcher’s equipment, pennants, signed balls and bats, books and trophies.

To learn more about the types of items that may be of interest, and/or to submit items for consideration, download this flyer (PDF).

Al Lopez: Tampa’s First Major Leaguer

As the first Tampa native to play in the Major Leagues and among the first professional players of Hispanic descent, Al Lopez served as an inspiration for the Tampa community.

Raised in Ybor City, Alfonso Ramon “Al” Lopez signed as a catcher with the Tampa Smokers at age 16, and moved up to the Major Leagues in 1928, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Boston Bees, Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians. His record of 1,918 games as a catcher stood for more than 40 years.

Al Lopez at the start of
his pro career with the
Brooklyn Dodgers.

After retiring as a player in 1947, Lopez managed the Cleveland Indians, then the Chicago White Sox. He managed the only two teams – the ’54 Indians and ’59 Sox – to beat out the Yankees for first place in the American League during the 15-year span of 1949-1964.

He was the first Tampa player – and second Latino – to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. His successes over a 36-year career helped inspire many Tampa players – Tino Martinez, Lou Piniella, Wade Boggs, Tony La Russa and others.

While his former home will contain the Tampa Baseball Museum, exhibits will include many influential and successful local players.

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

First At Bat
Moving the former home of Al Lopez on May 15 & 16 was the first opportunity to tell our story to the media. More than 40 articles and news segments talked about the Museum over those couples days, including ABC Action News, 10 News, Bay News 9, Tampa Bay Times, and Tampa Tribune.Nearly all of the local TV news stations reported live from the scene for both evening and morning broadcasts.See a selection of the photos from the house move below.
Photo credit: Tony Scaglione Photography 2013.


Preserving Heritage
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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