The Tampa Baseball Museum celebrates the sport's historical role in our community

Baseball took off in the area when Cubans arrived to work in Tampa's cigar factories in the late 1800s. Many of the immigrants were avid baseball players and fans. As a result, the sport became a big part of Tampa and Hillsborough County culture. The local love for our National Pastime continues today.

This passion is on display at the Tampa Baseball Museum. The museum celebrates our local baseball history and the sport's tremendous and lengthy influence in Hillsborough County.

The collection has permanent exhibitions featuring 1,500 artifacts collected from current and former players and community members. Displays showcase the sport's influence in the area since the first local team formed in Ybor City in 1887. Exhibits highlight the area's hosting of big-league Spring Training, Negro League games, Minor League teams, exceptional Little League squads, and social club competitors.

The museum also pays homage to the community's famous Major League players and managers, including Al Lopez, Lou Piniella, Wade Boggs, Tony La Russa, Gary Sheffield, Fred McGriff, Luis Gonzalez, Tino Martinez, Dwight Gooden, Kevin Cash, and others. Not many know that an impressive number of professional players, including 89 Major Leaguers, began playing the game while growing up in Tampa and Hillsborough County.

Al Lopez family home turned museum

The museum is housed in the lovingly restored boyhood home of Al Lopez, a Tampa native and the County's first Major League Baseball player, manager, and Hall of Famer.

Tampa Baseball Museum exterior
The Tampa Baseball Museum is housed in the restored boyhood home of Al Lopez, a Tampa native and the County's first Major League Baseball player, manager, and Hall of Famer.

The former Lopez family home was built in Ybor City in 1905, about one mile from where it stands today. The Florida Department of Transportation acquired it as part of a highway expansion project and donated the structure to the Ybor City Museum Society, which spearheaded the Tampa Baseball Museum. The home was relocated in 2013 to its current site at 2003 N. 19th Street, Tampa, FL 33605.

Hillsborough County contributed greatly to the establishment of the Tampa Baseball Museum. Money allocated by the Board of County Commissioners through its Historic Preservation Challenge Grant program helped rehabilitate the Lopez home, pay for exhibits, and market the museum. Funds donated by the County will finance future exhibits intended to ensure repeat visits.

Image Caption: Minor League teams in Hillsborough County: The Tampa Smokers 1919-1954, followed by The Tampa Tarpons 1957-1989, and the Tampa Yankees from 1994-2018, then re-branded the Tampa Tarpons again.
Last Modified: 2/20/2024, 12:21:40 PM

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