McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Florida, is the oldest active major-league spring-training facility in the country. Opened in the spring of 1923 with Commissioner Keneshaw Mountain Landis in attendance, it has played host to six different major-league teams, with the Pittsburgh Pirates calling it home since 1969.
The New York Giants traveled to Sarasota in 1924 as the first of five teams to venture to its confines. These two cities, both situated on the Gulf Coast of Florida, boast nearly a century of baseball history and have seen the game's all-time greats.
The Pirates and Bradenton have a lease that runs until 2037. Sarasota and the Baltimore Orioles lease does not end until 2040. It is clear that both cities and franchises will celebrate the 100th anniversary of spring training in these cities. In the case of the Pirates, it will be in the very same ballpark—the oldest operating spring-training facility in all of baseball.
Highlights of Spring Training in Bradenton and Sarasota:
• Bill “The Deacon” McKechnie
• From Bradentown Ball Park to McKechnie Field
• Payne Park
• Ed Smith Stadium
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