West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium

West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium, referred to as "Municipal Stadium," is a former baseball park in the southeastern United States, in West Palm Beach, Florida. Located at 755 Hank Aaron Drive, it was the long-time spring training home for the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos. The Braves played spring training games at the stadium from 1963 to 1997, while the Expos played there from 1969 to 1972 and from 1981 to 1997.

The stadium was constructed in 1962 to replace midtown Connie Mack Field, which had been the West Palm Beach spring training home of the Philadelphia and Kansas City Athletics from 1946 to 1962.

The first game was played on Saturday, March 9, 1963, under overcast skies and extremely high winds which blew sand from the outfield areas, directly toward seating area, which were not as yet totally landscaped at that time. Mayor C. Ben Holleman threw out the first ball and the Kansas City Athletics defeated the Milwaukee Braves 3-0 in front of a medium sized crowd of 3,265 fans. Warren Spahn started for Milwaukee and was the losing pitcher.[1]

The ballpark later hosted the 1982 and 1992 Florida State League All-Star Games.[2]

Atlanta and Montreal played their final spring training game at the ballpark on Wednesday March 26, 1997, which saw Montreal come through with a 2-0 victory.[3]

The stadium was later demolished in 2002 and there is nothing to mark its former place, which is now covered by a Home Depot location.

West Palm Beach would not see spring training again until 2017, with the opening of The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, which is the spring training home of the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals.

West Palm Beach
Municipal Stadium
Municipal Stadium
Full nameWest Palm Beach
Municipal Stadium
Location755 Hank Aaron Drive
West Palm Beach, Florida
Coordinates26°43′17″N 80°04′46″W / 26.7215°N 80.0795°WCoordinates: 26°43′17″N 80°04′46″W / 26.7215°N 80.0795°W
Capacity4,200 (1963)
5,000 (1986)
SurfaceNatural grass
Construction
Built1962
OpenedMarch 9, 1963
Closed1997
Demolished2002
Construction cost$1.0 million
Tenants
Milwaukee / Atlanta Braves (MLB)
(spring training: 1963–1997)
Montreal Expos (MLB)
(spring training: 1969–1972 & 1981–1997)
West Palm Beach Expos (FSL) (1969–1997)
West Palm Beach Tropics (SPBA) (1989–1990)

References

  1. ^ Bob Balfe (1963-03-10). "'WPB' A's Spoil Braves' Municipal Stadium Debut". The Palm Beach Post. p. E1.
  2. ^ Dave George (1992-06-27). "MAJOR TALENT SHOW: ALL-STARS COME OUT TONIGHT AT STADIUM". The Palm Beach Post. p. 1C.
  3. ^ "Around the NL". St. Petersburg Times. 1997-03-27. p. 5C.
1971 Montreal Expos season

The 1971 Montreal Expos season was the third season in the history of the franchise. The Expos finished in fifth place in the National League East with a record of 71–90, 25½ games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1972 Montreal Expos season

The 1972 Montreal Expos season was the fourth season in the history of the franchise. The Expos finished in fifth place in the National League East with a record of 70–86, 26½ games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1973 Montreal Expos season

The 1973 Montreal Expos season was the fifth season in the history of the franchise. The Expos finished in fourth place in the National League East with a record of 79–83, 3½ games behind the New York Mets.

1980 Montreal Expos season

The 1980 Montreal Expos season was the 12th season in franchise history.

1990 Montreal Expos season

The 1990 Montreal Expos season was the 22nd season in franchise history.

Bradenton Explorers

The Bradenton Explorers were one of the eight original franchises that began play in the Senior Professional Baseball Association in 1989.

That season, the club compiled a record of 38-34, finishing in second place in the league's Northern Division, narrowly holding off the Orlando Juice. Jim Morrison led the league with 17 home runs, and pitcher Rick Lysander added a league-high 11 saves. In the playoffs, the Explorers lost to the St. Petersburg Pelicans, who went on to become league champions.

However the following season, the team was relocated to Daytona Beach, becoming the Daytona Beach Explorers. The move was a result of the team losing $1 million during their first season.In Daytona the team had an 11-11 record and were in 4th place when the Senior Professional Baseball Association ceased operations on December 28, 1990.

Connie Mack Field

Connie Mack Field was a ballpark in midtown West Palm Beach, Florida which was the long-time spring training home of the Philadelphia/Kansas City Athletics.

The stadium was built in 1924 and initially named Municipal Athletic Field, It hosted its first event, a football game, in October 1924. The first baseball game was played in December 1924.It was renamed Wright Field in 1927 for West Palm Beach City Manager George C. Wright, then was renamed Connie Mack Field in 1952 in honor of long-time Philadelphia Athletics manager and owner Connie Mack.

The grandstands originally held about 2,000; black fans were allowed to watch from a small section in the right-field corner. Total capacity was about 3,500.Record attendance for baseball was on March 20, 1949 when 6,988 fans saw the A's defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers in a spring training game, by a 6-0 decision, which featured Jackie Robinson on the field and then-Secretary of State General of the Army George C. Marshall in attendance.The stadium was replaced in 1962 by West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium although the grandstand remained until 1973. The ball field continued to be regularly used by neighboring Twin Lakes High School.

The field was bulldozed in 1992 for a parking garage for the new Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts where there is a tribute display in the garage by main the elevator.

Daytona Beach Explorers

The Daytona Beach Explorers was a baseball club that played briefly in the Senior Professional Baseball Association in 1990. They were a replacement team when the originals Bradenton Explorers relocated to Daytona Beach, Florida, and played its games at the Jackie Robinson Ballpark.Managed by Clete Boyer and coached by Tony Cloninger, the Beach Explorers had registered an 11–11 record and was in fourth place when the league ceased operations on December 28, 1990.

Fort Myers Sun Sox

The Fort Myers Sun Sox were one of the eight original franchises that began play in the Senior Professional Baseball Association in 1989. The club was managed by Pat Dobson, while Joe Coleman, Dyar Miller, Jerry Terrell and Tony Torchia served as coaches. The Sun Sox played their home games at Terry Park in Fort Myers.The Sun Sox finished their inaugural season in second place in the Southern Division with a 37-35 record. Their offense was led by the league's top hitter, Tim Ireland, who posted a .374 batting average, while Kim Allen topped the circuit with 33 stolen bases and Amos Otis belted 11 home runs. Unfortunately, the Sun Sox were eliminated by the Bradenton Explorers in the playoffs.The following season, ownership squabbles in Fort Myers caused the Sun Sox to fold and the league to cease operations less than halfway through its second season.

Gold Coast Suns (baseball)

The Gold Coast Suns was one of the eight original franchises that played in the Senior Professional Baseball Association in its inaugural 1989 season. The club split their home games between the cities of Miami and Pompano Beach in Florida.The legendary Earl Weaver managed the Suns, who hired former All-Star Pedro Ramos as their pitching coach. Bright spots included pitcher Joaquín Andújar, who posted a 5-0 record with a 1.31 earned run average, and shortstop Bert Campaneris as the oldest everyday player in the league at 47, who hit a .291 batting average and stole 16 bases in 60 games.But the Suns struggled for most of the season, ending with a 32-39 record and out of the playoffs. Without a fan base, the team averaged just 985 fans per game, about half of the attendance projected, and folded at the end of the season.

Orlando Juice

The Orlando Juice was one of the eight original franchises that began playing in the Senior Professional Baseball Association in 1989. The team was managed by Gates Brown, while Dyar Miller and Bill Stein served as player-coaches.In their inaugural season, the Juice finished third in the Northern Division with a 37-35 record, narrowly missing the playoffs. The team had a slow start with Brown at the helm (9-12), but improved in the midseason (28-23) under Miller's management.Pitcher Pete Falcone anchored the club's pitching staff with a 10-3 record, and Bob Galasso contributed with a 9-2 mark and topped the staff with a 2.67 ERA. The offensive was led by José Cruz, who hit a .306 average with a team-best 10 home runs and 49 runs batted in, while Randy Bass batted .393 and drove in 27 runs. Nevertheless, the Orlando Juice ceased operations at the end of the season.

San Bernardino Pride

The San Bernardino Pride was a baseball club who played in the Senior Professional Baseball Association in 1990 for the league's second season. They played its home games at Fiscalini Field in San Bernardino, California.Former Baltimore Orioles infielder Rich Dauer was the playing manager of the Pride, while Tommy Thompson served as the bench coach for the team. The best-known names on the roster were Vida Blue, the 1971 American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner, and Mike Norris, a 22-game winner for the 1980 Oakland Athletics. Other players included Derrel Thomas, who played for seven teams during a 15-year major league career, as well as the brothers Gary and Ron Roenicke.The Pride also had its version of Bo Jackson in outfielder Anthony Davis, a two-sport star at the University of Southern California, where he earned three national championships in baseball and two in football, before playing as a running back in the WFL, the CFL, the NFL, and the USFL.The Pride had a record of 13-12 and were in third place when the league canceled the season on December 26, 1990. An apparent rift between teams owners forced cancellation of all remaining games. At the time, the teams had not quite reached the halfway point in a planned 56-game schedule.

Senior Professional Baseball Association

The Senior Professional Baseball Association, referred to commonly as the Senior League, was a winter baseball league based in Florida for players age 35 and over, with a minimum age of 32 for catchers. The league began play in 1989 and had eight teams in two divisions and a 72-game schedule. Pitchers Rollie Fingers, Ferguson Jenkins (both future Hall of Famers), and Vida Blue, outfielder Dave Kingman, and managers Earl Weaver and Dick Williams were the league's marquee names; and former big league outfielder Curt Flood was the circuit's first Commissioner. At age 54, Ed Rakow was the league's oldest player.

St. Lucie Legends

The St. Lucie Legends was one of the eight original baseball franchises that played in the Senior Professional Baseball Association in 1989. The club played its home games at the then recently inaugurated Thomas J. White Stadium, located in Port St. Lucie, Florida.The Legends featured players such as Vida Blue, a former American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner, as well as National League MVP George Foster and perennial All-Stars Bobby Bonds and Graig Nettles, who signed on as player-manager. Nevertheless, the Legends were an awful team that lost 20 of their first 23 games, which cost Nettles his manager’s post, being replaced by Bonds for the remainder of the season.The Legends finished the season with an overall record of 20–51 and did not make the playoffs. Juan Beníquez led the team with a .359 batting average, while Willie Aikens and Foster belted 11 home runs apiece.In addition, the Legends had severe financial struggles while averaging only 607 fans for 36 home games. The club folded shortly thereafter.

St. Petersburg Pelicans

The St. Petersburg Pelicans were one of the eight original franchises that began playing in the Senior Professional Baseball Association in 1989. The team was managed by Bobby Tolan, while Dick Bosman, Ozzie Virgil, Sr. and Tom Zimmer served as coaches. They played their home games at Al Lang Stadium in Downtown St. Petersburg, Florida.The Pelicans went 42-30 in the regular season and won the Northern Division title. Steve Henderson hit .352 for the club, and Lenny Randle batted .349. Milt Wilcox went 12-3, and Jon Matlack added 10 wins. Led by Lamar Johnson's home run and three RBI, the Pelicans went on to beat the West Palm Beach Tropics 12-4 to win the league's championship game.The team returned for a second season but ceased operation when the league folded in December 1990.

Sun City Rays

The Sun City Rays were a short-lived professional baseball team, based in Sun City, Arizona. The Rays was a member of the Senior Professional Baseball Association in 1990 for the league's second season.Jim Marshall managed the team, while Dave Hilton and Fred Stanley served as coaches. The Rays ceased operation when the circuit folded in December of that year. At the time the league folded, they had a 13-10 record and were second in the standings.

West Palm Beach Expos

The West Palm Beach Expos were a Florida State League minor league baseball team which existed from 1969 through the 1997 season. Located in West Palm Beach, Florida, they were affiliated with the Montreal Expos and played their home games at West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium.

They were one of the longest existing Florida State League teams. In 1998, the team moved to nearby Jupiter and became the Jupiter Hammerheads.

The 1990 Expos were recognized as one of the 100 greatest minor league teams of all time.

West Palm Beach Tropics

The West Palm Beach Tropics were one of the eight original franchises that began play in the Senior Professional Baseball Association in 1989. The club hired Dick Williams as manager and fielded a lineup that included slugger Dave Kingman and Rollie Fingers. The Tropics went 52-20 in the regular season and ran away with the Southern Division title. Ron Washington led the club's offense, hitting .359 with a league-high 73 RBI. Mickey Rivers hit .366 and Kingman added 8 homers. The pitching staff was led by Juan Eichelberger, who went 11-5 with a 2.90 ERA. Tim Stoddard also won 10 games for the club.

Local Valentino Falcone (a former minor leaguer) ruptured a hamstring stealing second base (one game before opening day) depriving him of an eventual roster spot.

Despite their regular season dominance, the Tropics lost 12-4 to the St. Petersburg Pelicans in the SPBA's initial championship game.

The West Palm Beach Tropics returned for a second season, as a traveling team known as the Florida Tropics, however the team ceased operation when the league folded in December 1990.

Winter Haven Super Sox

The Winter Haven Super Sox were one of the eight original franchises that began play in the Senior Professional Baseball Association in 1989. The club featured future Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins as part of its pitching staff.

In the league's inaugural season, the Super Sox struggled and went through several managerial changes. Player/manager Bill Lee was replaced after just seven games by Ed Nottle, who was in turn replaced by Leon Roberts. Besides, Doug Griffin served as a coach and Dalton Jones played and coached. Among others, Cecil Cooper retired after just 16 games with the club.The club finished in last place in the Northern Division and did not make the playoffs. Despite the team's poor performance, pitcher Bill Campbell led the league with a 2.12 ERA. After their first season, the Winter Haven Super Sox ceased operations.

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