A unique tribute to Tinker Field is starting to take shape, as Orlando officials have broken ground on a history plaza at the site of the facility.
Plans for the Tinker Field History Plaza were previously approved, but Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony marked a turning point for the project. As envisioned, the former spring training and Minor League Baseball ballpark will be honored with a plaza that includes plaques and a historical timeline. In addition, it will feature seats from Tinker Field as well as monuments to Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and Hall of Famer Clark Griffith.
For some residents, Monday’s event brought back fond memories of the ballpark. More from WFTV.com:
“I remember bringing my children when they were younger to see the Minnesota Twins,” Orlando resident Shirley Bradley said. “The city always provided, in the summertime, games free of charge. All you had to do was come and bring your children to the baseball games.”
The facility will also feature monuments honoring King and baseball Hall of Famer Clark Griffith, refurbished stadium seats, a gateway entrance, a replica covered pavilion and vintage-style lighting.
Tinker Field had an extensive history. While the field was used for baseball as far back as 1914, Tinker Field opened in 1923 and the grandstand was rebuilt in 1963. Along the way, it hosted several major league teams for spring training, including the Cincinnati Reds (1923-1930), Brooklyn Dodgers (1934-1935), and the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins. The Senators/Twins became greatly associated with the ballpark’s history, playing from there 1936-1990, save for the period of 1943-1945, when the Senators trained in College Park, MD. Tinker Field was also a longtime venue for Class AA Southern League baseball in the city.
Tinker Field’s history extends beyond baseball, as the ballpark was also the site of a speech given by King in 1964.
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