A Tinker Field History Plaza has been approved by the city of Orlando, with the next step being fundraising to mark the former Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins spring-training ballpark and community gathering site.
The City Council greenlighted the plaza, to be located next to Camping World Stadium at the original ballpark site. The project will include, according to the city, historic timeline and plaques, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and Clark Griffith monuments, refurbished original stadium seats and gateway entrance, a replica covered pavilion, vintage-style lighting and a State of Florida Historical Marker. (Besides baseball, the ballpark hosted many other important events in Orlando history, including a groundbreaking and memorable speech from King in 1964.) Presumably some of these seats would include seats originally installed at Griffith Stadium, reused in Orlando when that ballpark was torn down. Next up: a working budget (now estimated at $300,000) and then fundraising. The city has $100,000 remaining in the Tinker Field demolition budget.
Though the field was used for baseball as far back as 1914, Tinker Field opened in 1923 and the grandstand was rebuilt in 1963. The Cincinnati Reds trained there in 1923-1930, the Brooklyn Dodgers trained there in 1934-1935, and the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins trained there between 1936 and 1990, save the three wartime years when the team trained in College Park, Md.; this franchise is most closely associated with the facility. It was named for former Chicago Cubs infielder Joe Tinker — he of Tinker to Evers to Chance fame — who retired in Orlando. Besides serving as a spring-training site, it also was a longtime home to Class AA Southern League baseball in the city.
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