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Area's Spring Training History Chronicled in Fascinating New Book

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Jimmie Foxx at Payne Park

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Michael Jordan at Ed Smith Stadium

BRADENTON – Arcadia Publishing's latest Images of Baseball offering takes a look at the rich history of spring baseball in the Manasota area. Through an impressive array of photos, Spring Training in Bradenton and Sarasota, chronicles the days of such legendary figures as Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron and even Michael Jordan, when they played at local ballparks during the preseason.

Beginning with the St. Louis Cardinals and McKechnie Field in 1923, the area has been at the center of spring training, as it became a major part of the very fabric of professional baseball in the United States.

In this impressive new collection that will not only charm local fans, but anyone who loves the game, baseball historian Raymond Sibaldi – who also authored the series' Fenway Park edition – expertly guides readers through the sprawling and often convoluted history of teams affiliated with the area.

In baseball, spring headquarters can seem like a game of musical chairs, as teams are lured to switch cities by new facilities and other promised perks. But the transient nature of the beast has been good to Sarasota and Bradenton, blessing the area with regular appearances by countless legends like Roberto Clemente, Carlton Fisk, Johnny Bench, Willie Stargel and Pete Rose when their teams were encamped in one of the towns.

Sibaldi, who taught history in Bradenton for over two decades, has a teacher's knack for constructing a fluid and coherent account of nearly 100 years of lore from McKechnie and Braves Field in Bradenton, to Pain Park and eventually Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota.

The days of the Cardinals, the Braves, the Buccos, Red Sox, White Sox, the Big Red Machine and even the recent arrival of the Baltimore Orioles are all covered through incredible photos and detailed captions.

Images of Baseball: Spring Training in Bradenton and Sarasota is available at area bookstores, independent and online retailers, or through Arcadia publishing online.

Eddie Mathews, Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron at Braves Field in Bradenton
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McKechnie Field: Bradenton's Brightest Diamond

Published Saturday, May 29, 2010 2:01 am


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