St. Petersburg landmarks
By Marc Topkin, Times Staff Writer
Published February 10, 2008
The Al Lang Stadium site has been the focus of spring training in St. Petersburg for the past 60-plus years. But it's just one of a half-dozen historical sites in St. Petersburg:
- Sunshine Park, built on the northern end of Coffee Pot Bayou, was the first game site for the St. Louis Browns and Philadelphia Phillies from 1914-18.
- Then came Waterfront Park, just north of the current Al Lang site, from 1922-47.
- The new Al Lang Field was opened in 1947, then renovated and rechristened in 1977 as Al Lang Stadium. (The teams played at Campbell Park in 1976.)
There have also been three primary facilities:
- Crescent Lake Park, which opened in 1925 near downtown, was named for Miller Huggins (in 1931) then renamed for Casey Stengel (in 1962). For decades it was the training base for the Yankees and the Mets and, as the Huggins-Stengel complex, is still used by the city.
- The old Busch complex in northeast St. Petersburg was the Cardinals' base of operations from 1965-87 and has since been demolished and replaced by youth league fields and a par-3 golf course.
- The Naimoli complex in northwest St. Petersburg is still used by the Rays, having started as the Payson complex in 1968 when used by the Mets and the Busch complex when used by the Cardinals.
Information from researchers Mary Mellstrom and Caryn Baird and Times files was used in this report.