Sarasota Baseball

July 18, 2009

Major League Base Ball Spring Training has been a Sarasota tradition since 1924.  Our town has hosted  many of base balls best teams.  With the Cincinnati Reds heading further south, Sarasota has been in talks with the Baltimore Orioles. Sarasota has been seeking to rebuild Ed Smith Stadium lure the Orioles.   The state of Florida has recently agreed to provide a $7.5 million grant to be used to help pay to rebuild Ed Smith Stadium. The new stadium which is expected to cost $31 million.  The following is a brief history of Base Ball in Sarasota.

  • 1912 The Sarasota Baseball Team was organized to “furnish amusement during the summer months and also to advertise the town by having a good baseball team.” The team’s colors were blue-grey trimmed with red. 
  • 1923 Payne Park, the original stadium for the city of Sarasota, was built on a portion of 60 acres of land donated by Calvin Payne and his wife, Martha. 
  • 1924 – 1927 The New York Giants held spring training in Sarasota. John Ringling is credited with scoring the Giants for Sarasota.
  • 1933 – 1958 The Boston Red Sox called Payne Park their spring training home (with a four-year hiatus during World War II).
  • 1959 The Los Angeles Dodgers used Sarasota’s spring training facilities for one year. 
  • 1960 – 1997 The Chicago White Sox called Sarasota their spring training home.
  • 1989 Ed Smith Stadium was built and named to honor the hard-working, multi-year president of the Sarasota Sports Committee – Ed Smith.
  • 1990 Payne Park was demolished in November 1990, after standing for 65 years. History of Sarasota’s Baseball Tradition 
  • 1998 – Present  In 1998, the Cincinnati Reds began their spring training and minor league operations at Ed Smith Stadium.
  • 2007 Payne Park reopens on Oct. 6, 2007.

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