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Remembering Winter Haven’s spring-training heritage

Winter Haven spring training

Though it’s unlikely spring training will ever return to Winter Haven in central Florida, the city can look back on a several MLB teams training in the city. Here’s a look at the history of spring training in Winter Haven.

The News Chief laid out the history of spring baseball in Winter Haven, which began in 1929 when the Philadelphia Phillies trained at a new wooden-grandstand ballpark (shown above). The field is still in use by the local high school and known now as Dennison Stadium. The New York Giants used the ballpark in 1940.

It wasn’t until 1966 when the Boston Red Sox moved to a new ballpark, Chain of Lakes Park, for a spring-training run that lasted 26 years, until the team relocated to Fort Myers. By and large the ballpark is pretty much the same as when the Red Sox — and later the Indians — trained there. Despite many threats to tear down Chain of Lakes Park, it’s still standing — though a redevelopment plan unveiled earlier this year may change that. It’s currently home to the summer-collegiate Winter Haven Loggerheads.


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