X

Get Social With Us

like watch follow

X

Receive Email Updates

Sign up today and receive our newsletter and more directly to your inbox.

Email
Name
X

Search Sarasota History

contact us follow us newsletter sign up search this site

Payne Park

Articles: Sarasota History

Author: Ann A. Shank, former County Historian
Photo Credit: Sarasota County History Center
Credit: Sarasota County History Center

Sarasota History - Payne Park photo

Payne Park began as a dream in the mind of Calvin N. Payne. When reporting on Payne's 1921 purchase of 60 acres next to the downtown golf course, The Sarasota Times launched the action, assuming that the land would be used to expand the golf course. That was not to be, however, for Calvin and Martha Payne agreed in the fall of 1923 to give the land to the city for a park. Before the official transfer was complete, Mayor E.J. Bacon proclaimed a "community work day" to create a fair ground and a baseball diamond. Reportedly, union carpenters, bricklayers and painters joined lawyers, business people and other residents to help Payne Park take shape. A barbecue lunch was served.

The new baseball diamond, shown under construction in this photo, met one of the stipulations of John McGraw, owner of the New York Giants, for bringing his team to Sarasota for spring training. Thus began Sarasota's continuing relationship with major league baseball. The Giants arrived in February 1924 and season tickets for reserved seating sold for $1. The first game of the season attracted 2,400 fans. The Giants left Sarasota after only three years, due primarily to McGraw's soured real estate dealings in Sarasota. In 1933 the Boston Red Sox took their place and stayed until 1958. The last tenant of Payne Park for spring training was the Chicago White Sox, who first arrived in 1960. After 29 years they moved to the new Ed Smith Stadium on 12th Street.

A little-remembered tenant of Payne Park in the 1920s was Sarasota's first radio station. WJBB, with its main studio in the Sarasota Terrace Hotel (now the County Administration Building), located its two transmission towers and control house in Payne Park. It was a non-commercial station owned and operated by The Financial Journal. On the air from December 1927 to January 1929, WJBB carried programming arranged by the Sarasota County Chamber of Commerce.

Today, the baseball diamond is gone, but there are tennis courts, a skate board park, and paths for walking and jogging. Calvin Payne's dream is still being realized, but in 21st century style.


You Might Also Like

Baseball Legend Ted Williams' Time in Sarasota

By: Ann A. Shank, former County Historian

From the time Ted Williams drove up to the Sarasota Terrace Hotel in "an old jalopy" as a Boston Red Sox rookie, until the Sox concluded their spring training games in Sarasota, Williams was a popular subject in the local press and community.

See More

Payne Park

Payne Park was host to many of Major League Baseball's most renowned figures from 1924, when the reigning champion of New York Giants of the National League opened spring training, until 1988, when the Chicago White Sox of the American League played their last spring game. The stadium was torn down in 1990.

See More

Payne Park

Payne Park was host to many of Major League Baseball's most renowned figures from 1924, when the reigning champion of New York Giants of the National League opened spring training, until 1988, when the Chicago White Sox of the American League played their last spring game. The stadium was torn down in 1990.

Watch Now

Payne Park Photo Op

A publicity photo taken in downtown Payne Park in Sarasota, Florida.

See More