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Written by Paul S. George, Special to the BT   
May 2017

A view of our past from the archives of HistoryMiami

WPix_PictureStory_5-17hile baseball may not be the national pastime in the minds of many sports fans, there’s little doubt of its outsized significance in this country’s rich array of sports offerings. And Greater Miami has been a hotbed of baseball activity.

In fact, Miami hosted the purported “inventor” of baseball, Abner Doubleday, a West Point graduate who was stationed at Fort Dallas on the Miami River during the Third Seminole War (1855-1858). While Doubleday was acclaimed at one time as the father of baseball, evidence today indicates otherwise.

No matter, for baseball fever swept Southeast Florida in the late 19th and 20th centuries, with amateur teams and leagues reaching from Key West to Palm Beach County, including both remote farming communities like Silver Palm or new municipalities like Hialeah.

The vast grounds of Royal Palm Park in front of Henry Flagler’s magnificent Royal Palm Hotel near the confluence of the Miami River and Biscayne Bay represented an important baseball venue in the early 1900s, for both amateur and professional teams like the New York Giants, seen in this photograph with members of a Miami baseball nine in the 1910s.

Major League spring training also took place at Miami Field, located on the site of today’s Marlins Ballpark. Among the teams training there were the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

Professional baseball teams headed by the Miami Sun Sox, who played at Miami Field, and the Flamingo Park-based Miami Beach Flamingos in the middle years of the 20th century claimed loyal fan bases. The newly completed Miami Stadium became the spring training home in the 1950s of the Brooklyn Dodgers and, later, the Baltimore Orioles. By 1956 that facility also hosted the Miami Marlins, whose roster included the legendary pitcher Satchel Paige.

All these developments were preliminaries to the arrival of the Florida Marlins (today’s Miami Marlins), a Major League Baseball team that won World Series championships in 1997 and 2003; the rise of the University of Miami as a baseball powerhouse; and the emergence of many homegrown Major League stars like Steve Carlton and Alex Rodriguez.

 

Paul George is historian at HistoryMiami. To order a copy of this photo, please contact HistoryMiami archives manager Dawn Hugh at 305-375-1623, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

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