Since the days of Babe Ruth, Major League clubs have sought refuge in the warm Florida climate while preparing for the upcoming season. At one time or another, South Florida has been the spring home of the Giants, Reds, Browns, Athletics, Yankees, Braves and Pirates and is currently the site for the Cardinals, Mets, Expos and Orioles.
But while the professional game was mostly a springtime guest, the amateur programs became nationally prominent. At the University of Miami, Hurricanes manager Ron Fraser built, over 30 years, what many consider the model collegiate program. Not only did the team prosper on the field, becoming a regular participant in the College and winning two national championships, but Fraser proved that a collegiate program could also be successful at the gate. Armed with a never-ending series of promotions, Miami has packed in the fans at home and has become the envy of many Minor League teams in the process.
At the same time, various high school and junior college programs in the state have churned out a never-ending stream of blue chip prospects and Major Leaguers, the result of a year-round affinity for playing the game.
South Florida's interest in baseball was further solidified by the influx of Cubans since the late 1950's. In the mid-1950's, Havana was host to a legendary Triple-A entry, the Sugar Kings. Starting with Minnie Minoso, a host of Cuban players such as Cookie Rojas, Bert Campaneris, Luis Tiant and Tony Perez made their way to the Major Leagues and opened baseball's collective eyes to the vast wealth of talent available in the Caribbean.
That tradition continues today with the play of such Cuban-American products as Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez and Jose Canseco, who made his professional debut with the Class A Miami Marlins in 1982. Other Major Leaguers who wore a Minor League Marlins uniform include Dennis Martinez, Eddie Murray and former Marlins catcher Benito Santiago. With the 1997 arrival of Alex Fernandez to the Marlins, the vastness of this area's baseball is seen with a person who played high school, collegiate and now Major League Baseball in South Florida. The same can now be said of Marlins infielder Mike Lowell, a hometown product playing for the local Major League team.
From Florida Marlins the team changed their name to "Miami Marlins" on November 11, 2011 and after playing for 19 years in Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, the Miami Marlins finally changed their ballpark to Marlins Park in Little Havana, Miami, Florida in 2012. Marlin Tickets.com is not associated with the MLB or any of its associates.
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