Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Baseball Spring Training Dream Won't Go Away in N. Florida

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Baseball Spring Training Dream Won't Go Away in N. Florida

Article excerpt

Hope springs eternal in the human breast. . . . Visions of

spring training again dance in the star-struck eyes of the


Plans for a two-county baseball complex are dangling before

Duval and St. Johns County officials. The fields would be a

tandem vessel into which major league teams would drop for rites

of spring and minor league teams would call home in

regular-season play.

Jacksonville City Councilman Dick Kravitz, a soul stitched in

horsehide, and Brian Teeple, executive director of the Northeast

Florida Regional Planning Council, posed the dream before the

Jacksonville Economic Development Commission last week. It sails

now through the parlous mist of plausibility, not so wild a

dream perhaps, but a dream nevertheless, and a little far out,

if not so wild.

Major League Baseball is somewhat locked up, spring

trainingwise, in South Florida and Arizona, although Kravitz

detects a chink in Toronto Blue Jay plans. Minor league spring

training? A school holds all minor league play has become spring


Jacksonville is a tad north for major league demands, and be

assured demands there would be, such that would make the

football Jaguars real pikers in the demand department.

Yet once, in another time, major league spring training

flourished in Jacksonville, as everyone knows, with the

Philadelphia Athletics, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York

Yankees calling Jacksonville home in the early part of the


Less celebrated are the minor league tenures in Jacksonville of

the Baltimore Orioles and the Jersey City Giants of the 1940s

and the Atlanta Crackers and the improbably named Toledo Glass

Sox of the 1950s.

And all but forgotten is Jacksonville's locus in a very

constellation of minor league training camps in the early 1950s

-- multi-team complexes housed at Jacksonville Beach and

Fernandina Beach and Albany, Waycross, Thomasville and Douglas,

Ga. …

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