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Tinker Field History Plaza Opens

Tinker Field History Plaza

The legacy of Orlando’s Tinker Field will live on in a unique way, as officials have cut the ribbon on a history plaza at the former ballpark’s site. 

A long time home to spring training and Minor League Baseball action in Orlando, Joe Tinker Field was demolished in 2015 after years of deterioration. However, a plan came together to recognize the ballpark’s legacy with a historical plaza at its site, and officials broke ground on the project last fall.

The result of that effort was showcased on Wednesday, when a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the plaza. In addition to honoring Joe Tinker Field’s legacy in baseball, the plaza also recognizes its role in the civil rights movement, as the ballpark hosted a speech by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr in 1964. More from The Orlando Sentinel:

The plaza has a replica baseball diamond with granite blocks cemented into the ground, listing 160 baseball Hall of Famers who played there organized by position.

The ballpark is also credited as the birthplace for integration in Orlando and was the site of a speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1964.

More than 100 people gathered along with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and City Commissioner Regina Hill for Wednesday’s ceremony. Also in attendance were local families who grew up attending games at the park.

Joe Tinker Field’s legacy in baseball took shape over a period of decades. 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, with the 1999 Orlando Rays being the most recent Southern League team to play there.

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