Music - A pirate looks at 40 by Jimmy Buffet
Photographed in 1995 using film.
McKechnie Field - Opened in 1923 and still in use. Renovated in 1993 and 2013. Known as City Par (1923 - 1926), Ninth Street Park (1927 - 1947), Braves Field (1948 - 1961) and McKechnie Field from 1961 till present.
Location - 1611 9th St. West Bradenton, Florida
Baseball has been played on this site for well over 100 years now. Before the current park was built in 1923, the first 9th Street park occupied the site. It was used by the Bradenton Growers of the Florida State League. The site was also part of the Manatee County fairgrounds and a 9 hole golf course.
In 1950, McKechnie hosted the first black player for spring training as Sam Jethro was a member of the old Boston Braves.
The site has been used as a spring training base since 1923. The Cardinals, Red Sox, Boston Braves, Phillies and Kansas City A's all trained here. The Pirates moved here in 1969 and have been training at McKechnie ever since.
The park is the oldest spring training site. And one of the oldest still in use for baseball. Prior to a massive renovation in 1993, the park was made of wood and amenities were, well, barren to say the least. To keep the Bucs in Bradenton, the city pretty much demolished the park, and all the old dorms and rebuilt it into a very nice facility. More renovations took place in 2013. These renovations were more fan friendly, I.E. concession stands, new scoreboards, etc etc..
Bradenton is not that far south from Tampa. Traditionalists call McKechnie field the "Fenway Park of spring training stadiums."
In 2017, McKechnie Field was renamed LECOM Park.