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RIP: Tinker Field

Tinker Field

Sad, sad news to report: Tinker Field, the former spring home of the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins and other MLB clubs, will be torn down in the next 90 days.

We visited Tinker Field just last week, and it certainly looked like the final days of the historic venue, which opened in 1923 and renovated in the 1930s. Heavy equipment used for the Citrus Bowl expansion was sitting in the outfield and causing plenty of damage. The ballpark had been used for summer-collegiate ball the last two years; the Orlando Rays of the Class AA Southern League last played there in 1999. With the Citrus Bowl concourse expansion going directly into the Tinker Field outfield (cutting the right-field line to 245 or so feet) and an aging grandstand with plumbing dating to the original ballpark opening, Orlando officials decided to pull the plug on the historic venue.

Three MLB teams trained at Tinker Field since it opened: The Cincinnati Reds in 1923-1930 (when the bottom postcard was created), the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1934-1935, and the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins in 1936-1990. The Griffith family was closely associated with Tinker Field, running minor-league franchises during the regular season as well. There’s still a bust of Clark Griffith in the Tinker Field concourse. It was named for former Chicago Cubs infielder Joe Tinker of Tinker to Evans to Chance fame, who retired to Orlando and was involved in efforts to bring spring training to the area.

Orlando officials say they’ll rebuilt the ballpark across the street at McCracken Field, but it won’t be the same.

More on the ballpark and its history from Ballpark Digest.

Tinker Field

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