‘Boys of March’: History of Spring Training Baseball in South Florida

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Mike Veeck, pres. of Miracle, a minor-league baseball team, holding hot dog on a plate as he watches his 5-yr-old son William Night Train take a bite out of a sloppy dog while sitting together in the stands at Pompano Municipal Stadium during a game. (Photo by Acey Harper/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
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MIAMI FIELD: After the Boston Braves came down in 1916 for the first spring training in South Florida, the team stayed in South Florida for two more springs before moving out of the state. Located on the southwest outside corner of what would eventually become the Orange Bowl stadium, the field hosted the Cincinnati Reds (1920), the Brooklyn Dodgers (1933) and the New York Giants (1941-42, 1946) as well as spending years as the home of the Miami Hurricanes baseball team before becoming a parking lot.
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Today, fans of the Miami Marlins pay homage to the old Miami Field every time they use the first base parking garage.
BOBBY MADURO MIAMI STADIUM: When this stadium was first constructed after World War II, it was considered one of the top structures for any team in Major League Baseball. For nine seasons, it served as one of the homes of the Brooklyn / Los Angeles Dodgers (1950-58).
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In 1959, the stadium started an over three decade partnership as the spring home of the Baltimore Orioles - leading the men from Maryland into action that included six trips to the World Series and three championships over the span that ended after the 1990 season.
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Today, the site of baseball history is now the home of the Miami Stadium Apartments.
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HOMESTEAD SPORTS COMPLEX: Maybe the best baseball stadium in South Florida is the one that never saw a spring training game played inside of it. The Cleveland Indians were all set to move from Arizona into the brand new stadium for the 1993 spring training season, but Hurricane Andrew's destruction of the area forced a quick move and the stadium has not been able to bring in another host team since - leaving the countdown clock going for its eventual demolition.
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FLAMINGO FIELD: When you think of Miami Beach, you think more of spring breakers and parties on Ocean Drive - but three different teams took part in practice and games at this stadium off Michigan Avenue around the Great Depression and World War II. The New York Giants started things off (1934-35) while the Philadelphia Phillies spent a total of four seasons at the stadium (1940-42, 1946) and their in-state foes, the Pittsburgh Pirates, held their training there during the 1947 season.
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FORT LAUDERDALE STADIUM: In 1962, the brand new stadium welcomed the defending champs to town when the New York Yankees moved their spring training to South Florida where they spent the next 34 editions of the annual even in Broward County - a span that included seven trips to the World Series and three championships (including after their first spring training in Fort Lauderdale).
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For the 1996 season, the Baltimore Orioles moved their spring training to South Florida and spent the next 14 springs in Fort Lauderdale before moving following the 2009 edition.
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Since then, the stadium and property have gone unused aside from training by soccer's Fort Lauderdale Strikers and other smaller teams.
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The site has been mentioned in conversations about being torn down as part of the deal to build the new training facility and stadium for the Inter Miami FC soccer team.
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FORT LAUDERDALE WESTSIDE BALLPARK: Currently the home of the city's police department, the location off Broward Boulevard spent two years as the post-World War II home of the Boston Braves (1946-47) before the team moved to Bradenton.
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POMPANO BEACH MUNICIPAL STADIUM: One of the smaller spring training stadiums in all of Florida, the 4,500 seat facility opened in the late 1950s and hosted the Washington Senators / Texas Rangers (1961-86) before suffering extensive damage during several hurricanes that came through the area in the mid-2000s.
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The original facility was demolished in 2008 and rebuild as an area with several baseball fields as well as other sports structures and serves as a home for travel teams as well as baseball games for Pompano Beach High School.
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WEST PALM BEACH MUNICIPAL STADIUM: In 1963, the then-Milwaukee Braves made their return to South Florida as they moved into a brand new facility that housed their spring events for over three decades - a span that included the Braves' move to Atlanta before the start of the 1966 season as well as much of their dominate run in the 1990s that included winning the World Series in the 1995 season.
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In 1969, the expansion Montreal Expos began play and started things off inside Municipal Stadium before moving after the 1972 season. In 1981, they returned to South Florida and stayed with the Braves until both teams moved north following the 1997 season.
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After the stadium and much of the property was brought to the ground in 2002, it was replaced by a variety of structures that includes apartments, parking lots and even a hardware store.
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CONNIE MACK FIELD: Built in the mid-1920s, the stadium off Okeechobee Boulevard was a staple for decades in downtown West Palm Beach. Formerly called Wright Field, the stadium served as home of the St. Louis Browns for nearly a decade (1928-36) before sitting empty for a decade before the Philadelphia Athletics moved in before the 1946 season.
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The Athletics stayed inside the stadium for 17 spring training seasons - which included the stadium being named for their longtime manager - before leaving after the 1962 season. The stadium was torn down in 1992 to make way for the construction of a parking garage for the Kravitz Center for the Performing Arts.
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ROGER DEAN STADIUM: In 1998, spring training baseball welcomed itself to Jupiter with the opening of this brand new stadium that served as home of both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Montreal Expos - who had spent decades sharing a stadium in West Palm Beach.
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In 2003, the Florida Marlins moved from their spring training location in Central Florida into the stadium and promptly won the World Series that season. Today, they still share what has become one of the better stadiums for spring training in all of the Sunshine State.
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BALLPARK OF THE PALM BEACHES: In 2017, two more teams brought their talents to South Florida when both the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals opened action inside the spacious ballpark in Palm Beach Gardens. The Astros used their new home to lead them to the team's first World Series title at the end of the season.
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