Now home to the North American Soccer League’s Tampa Bay Rowdies and the host ballpark of an annual international baseball event, Progress Energy Park has a storied place in Major League Baseball history.
Better known in baseball history circles as Al Lang Stadium, the historic field is named after the former mayor of St. Petersburg who convinced legendary owner Branch Rickey to move the St. Louis Browns here for spring training in 1914. Rickey became more widely known as the Brooklyn Dodgers owner who broke the color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson in 1945.
The current ballpark was built in 1947 and served as the spring training home of several Major League teams and the regular season home of multiple Florida State League teams, the last of which was the St. Pete Devil Rays, who played at the stadium from 1998 to 2008.
Interestingly, the site where Progress Energy Park sits was once called St. Petersburg Athletic Park and served as the spring training home for the Boston Braves and the New York Yankees from 1923 until after World War II. Hall of Famers like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig once played there.
Though it no longer hosts a Florida State League affiliate or a Major League team during spring training, Progress Energy Park is still alive with professional soccer and amateur baseball events. The parking lot hosts the Downtown Saturday Morning Market through May.
Estelia Mesimer and her team at Keller Williams Realty in St. Petersburg appreciate their city’s heritage. Their office is located across from the Museum of Fine Arts, and they have a myriad of listings of high-end homes that are in the St. Petersburg area and a short distance from the cultural attractions.
For more information on Estelia Mesimer and her team, and to learn more about the high-end homes she represents, visit www.estelia.com.
You can reach Estelia at (727) 686-2859 and at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her office is located in downtown St. Petersburg at 111 2nd Ave. NE, Suite 400.