Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ghosts of Bradenton's field of dreams

So who were the Bradentown Growers?

Bradenton Herald columnist Vin Mannix has captured that piece of history in his story today. If you haven't read it yet, and you have that all-American love of baseball, you owe it to yourself to spend 10 minutes to walk through historic memories of the first minor league baseball team to call Bradenton home.

Today, the festivities have started as the Bradenton Marauders get ready for their first official game. The spirits of 90+ years at McKechnie are gathering with pride and nostalgia. We'll have full coverage later this evening and tomorrow -- photos, stories, columns and videos -- here at and in the Herald.

Back to Vin's tale today. The favorite passages for this St. Louis Cardinals' diehard fan, and newspaper person to boot? Check out the true origins of McKechnie Field, revealed at about 30 inches into the story:

The Growers played at Ninth Street Park, where McKechnie Field was built four years later for the St. Louis Cardinals...

The atmosphere of a Growers’ opening day victory over Lakeland was captured in the April 12, 1923, Manatee River Journal by attorney Dewey A. Dye, who moonlighted as a sports writer:

“The gayety of the afternoon was contributed to by fair attendance, a concert by the Bradentown Band prior to its departure for the April Follies in Jacksonville, and splendid weather conditions. The park was bathed in sunlight and flooded with warmth of the variety that fills the soul of a ball team with delight.”

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?!

-- Joan

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