Monday, May 10, 2010

Remembering the Tampa Tarpons

Although this sparse crowd might outnumber some weekday baseball games at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, this group of hearty fans appear to be taking in some summer afternoon baseball at Al Lopez Field.

The minor league Tampa Tarpons began playing at Al Lopez Field in 1957 as members of the Florida State League and enjoyed an affiliation with the Cincinnati Reds from 1961-1987. Tampa captured the league title in their inaugural season of 1957 as well as four years later in 1961, when they were led by a young Pete Rose. Rose hit .331 that season and registered 30 triples, a league record which stands to this day.

Other notable Tampa Tarpon alumni included several key cogs in the 1970s “Big Red Machine” such as Ken Griffey, Sr., Johnny Bench, Dan Driessen, Rawly Eastwick, and Dave Concepcion. Several members of the 1990 World Series champion Cincinnati Reds such as Tom Browning, Rob Dibble, and Paul O’Neill also spent some time wearing the red and white at Al Lopez Field in the early 1980s.

Today, Raymond James Stadium – home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and University of South Florida Bulls -- occupies the former site of Al Lopez Field.

1 comment:

  1. Hello;
    Interesting reading since I played on the 1957 team for the Tampa Tarpons. Great year, I have a few stories to tell. when we won the second half of the season Charlie Gassaway my coach said lets not play for such small prize money lets go all or nothing which we did. We won and I got $100, enough for airfare back home to New York.

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