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Payne Park
Tin Can Tourists convention at Payne Park- Sarasota, Florida (6600303555).jpg
Payne Park in 1936
Address 2050 Adams Lane
Location Sarasota, Florida
Coordinates 27°20′03″N 82°31′45″W / 27.3340696°N 82.5290683°W / 27.3340696; -82.5290683Coordinates: 27°20′03″N 82°31′45″W / 27.3340696°N 82.5290683°W / 27.3340696; -82.5290683
Public transit Sarasota County Area Transit
Owner City of Sarasota
Type Stadium
Genre(s) Baseball
Field size
  • 1924–1962
  • Left field – 375 ft (114 m)
  • Center field – 500 ft (150 m)
  • Right field – 375 ft (114 m)
  • 1963–1990 (Final)
  • Left field – 352 ft (107 m)
  • Center field – 415 ft (126 m)
  • Right field – 352 ft (107 m)
Acreage 29
Surface Grass
Scoreboard Yes
Construction
Broke ground October 18, 1923
Opened February 1, 1924 (1924-02-01)
Renovated 1950, 1962
Expanded 1962
Closed April 1988
Demolished November 1990
Construction cost $18,000 ($202 thousand in 2016 dollars)
Tenants
  • 1924–1927
  • 1926
  • 1927
  • 1929–1932
  • 1933–1942; 1946–1958
  • 1959
  • 1960–1988
  • 1961–1965
  • 1989

Payne Park is a former baseball field from 1924 to 1990 in Sarasota, Florida. The stadium and field were built on a portion of 60 acres (0.24 km2) of land donated by Calvin Payne and his wife, Martha in 1923. Payne Park today is a 29-acre (0.12 km2) public park used for recreational events.

History

Ballpark

The ballpark was erected in 1924 and was a long time spring training and minor league site for baseball clubs such as the Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants. The Los Angeles Dodgers played their home spring training games at Payne Park in 1959.

The park ceased its association with professional baseball in 1989 with the construction of Ed Smith Stadium and the ballpark was demolished. Until 1963, the ballpark's dimensions were 375 feet (114 m) down the foul-lines and 500 feet (150 m) to center-field.

The ballpark was refurbished on multiple occasions. Prior to Spring Training 1951, the City of Sarasota added 600 permanent bleachers, increasing capacity to just over 4,000. The size of the press-box was doubled as well.

Norman Rockwell's 1957 painting The Rookie is set in the Red Sox' spring training locker room, which at the time was located at Payne Park.

The White Sox moved their spring training games from Tampa to Sarasota in 1960. Prior to spring training 1963, The City of Sarasota changed the ballpark's dimensions to 352 feet (107 m) down the foul-lines and 415 feet (126 m) to center field to match the White Sox' Comiskey Park dimensions.

The Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers played the last major league spring training game at Payne Park on March 30, 1988. The Sarasota White Sox began play in 1989 at Payne Park until its demolition in November 1990.

Public park

Payne Park Hist Marker front
Historical marker located at former stadium location

The City of Sarasota reopened the former ballpark-site as Payne Park on October 6, 2007 as a 29-acre (0.12 km2) public park space. The public park was built at a cost of $8.8 million, funded by a county-wide penny surtax.

It features a public skateboard park, Frisbee golf course, tracks for walking and riding bikes, lakes, and a cafe serving lunches and refreshments. In 2012, the city opened expansion to the park including a circus playground featuring a small waterpark on site.

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