101 Years of Spring Training in Tampa
Another spring training season came to a close yesterday with opening day for many Major League Baseball teams. This year marked 101 years of Tampa serving as spring training host.
|A program from The Cincinnati Reds spring training season at Al Lopez Field in 1987.
Tampa’s first spring training team, the Chicago Cubs, played their first spring training game in 1913 at Plant Field, Tampa’s first major athletic venue. Plant Field was the spring training home for several different professional teams, including the Boston Red Sox, Washington Senators, Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds, until 1954 when Al Lopez Field opened.
Al Lopez Field hosted the Cincinnati Reds for three decades starting in 1955. The Chicago White Sox also spent several springs at the field in the 1950s, while Al Lopez managed the team.
Today, the Tampa Bay area still hosts several teams including the Philadelphia Phillies (Clearwater), Toronto Blue Jays (Dunedin), Pittsburgh Pirates (Bradenton), and the New York Yankees, who’ve played in Tampa since moving here from Ft. Lauderdale in 1996.
The Tampa Baseball Museum at the Al Lopez House will chronicle the area’s spring training heritage as one part of Tampa’s illustrious baseball story.