Grant Field
Grant Field, Dunedin, Florida.jpg
Little League Baseball at Grant Field in Dunedin, Florida in the 1950s
Location373 Douglas Avenue
Dunedin, FL 34698
Coordinates28°0′13″N 82°47′11″W / 28.00361°N 82.78639°W / 28.00361; -82.78639Coordinates: 28°0′13″N 82°47′11″W / 28.00361°N 82.78639°W / 28.00361; -82.78639
OwnerCity of Dunedin Parks & Recreation Department
OperatorCity of Dunedin Parks & Recreation Department
Capacity1,200-2,000 (1976)
3,417 (1977-1989)
Field sizeLeft Field – 345 ft
Left-Center – ft
Center Field – ft
Right-Center – ft
Right Field – 301 ft (1977-1983)
SurfaceGrass
Construction
Broke ground1930
Opened1930
Closed1989
Tenants
San Antonio Missions (TL) (Spring training) (1950s)
Buffalo Bisons (IL) (Spring training) (?-1962)
Dunedin High School (1961-?)
FIL Tigers (FIL) (early 1970s)
Dunedin Blue Jays (FSL) (1978-1979, 1987-1989)
Toronto Blue Jays (Spring training) (1977–1989)

Grant Field was a baseball stadium located in Dunedin, Florida. It was the longtime home of Dunedin amateur baseball and the first spring training home of the Toronto Blue Jays, as well as home to the Dunedin Blue Jays of the Class A Florida State League. It was closed in 1989 and replaced with TD Ballpark built on the same site.

History

The field was built in 1930 and was expanded in 1934 as a WPA project with a $250 grant from the Federal government.[1] It was named in honor of Dunedin mayor Albert J. Grant who oversaw its construction and dedication on November 22, 1938.[2]

Grant Field served as the spring training home of the Texas League San Antonio Missions in the 1950s and the International League Buffalo Bisons in 1961 and 1962.[3] The Detroit Tigers Instructional League team played at Grant Field in the early 1970s.[4]

Many Major League players worked out together at Grant Field in February and March 1976 when Major League Baseball owners locked out the players from spring training until March 19, 1976.[5]

Toronto Blue Jays Spring Training

The Toronto Blue Jays announced on August 26, 1976 they had selected Dunedin as their spring training home. Dunedin was a 30-minute drive from the Tampa airport with daily flights to and from Toronto and nearby to other Major League spring training sites including the Phillies in Clearwater, the Mets and Cardinals in St. Petersburg, the Reds in Tampa, and the Pirates in Bradenton.

Grant Field was located near the downtown and the city improved the ballpark with new seats, fences, and clubhouses. The city increased seating by approximately 1,200 to 2,000, and brought trailers to the site to house the team's front office staff.[6]

The Toronto Blue Jays' first exhibition game ever and at Grant Field was scheduled for March 10, 1977 against the Philadelphia Phillies, but was cancelled due to rain. Instead, the first game was March 11, 1977 against the New York Mets. Wire services reported, "Spectators who arrived too late to purchase tickets inhabited areas down the foul lines, outside the outfield fences and some even took seats in the Babe Ruth League grandstand located down the right field line, some 500 feet away from home plate." Bill Singer started the game for the Blue Jays and surrendered a lead off homerun to the Mets' Lee Mazzilli. The Blue Jays came back and won 3-1 in front of 1,988 fans.[7]

A new home clubhouse was constructed beneath the third base grandstand prior to the 1985 season.[8]

In 1990, at a cost of approximately $2.4 million, the City of Dunedin razed Grant Field's grandstand and built a new stadium called Dunedin Stadium at the same location. The new stadium increased capacity to 6,106. The playing field and team clubhouses did not change.

References

  1. ^ The Ultimate Minor League Baseball Road Trip: A Fan's Guide to AAA, AA, A, and Independent League Stadiums. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 194. ISBN 1599216272.
  2. ^ Knight, Graham (May 21, 2009). "Dunedin Stadium". ballparkpilgrimages.com. Ballparkpilgrimages. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  3. ^ Luisi, Vincent; De Quesada, A.M. (1999). Dunedin. Arcadia Publishing. p. 94. ISBN 9780738500591.
  4. ^ Carson, Ken; Millson, Larry (2016). From Hockey to Baseball: I kept them in stitches. FriesenPress. p. 91. ISBN 978-1460280119.
  5. ^ "Phillies fit for late start". St. Petersburg Times. St. Petersburg, FL. March 20, 1976. p. 4-Pinellas Times.
  6. ^ Macleod, Robert (March 3, 2015). "Keeping the Blue Jays' annual coastal migration to Dunedin". The Globe and Mail. Toronto, Ontario. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  7. ^ "Jays' opener a 3-1 success". St. Petersburg Times. St. Petersburg, Florida. March 12, 1977. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  8. ^ Pahigian, Josh (2013). Spring Training Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to the Grapefruit and Cactus League Ballparks, 2d ed. McFarland. p. 27. ISBN 9780786471959.