LECOM Park

LECOM Park, formerly McKechnie Field, is a baseball field located in Bradenton, Florida. It is the spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Several notable members of the Baseball Hall of Fame such as, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Bill Mazeroski, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Mike Schmidt have played at LECOM Park during their careers. The stadium also hosts minor league baseball games for the Bradenton Marauders, the Pirates’ High-A club in the Florida State League.

LECOM Park nostalgic charms in its city neighborhood appeal to many baseball traditionalists and ballpark enthusiasts, and some consider the facility to be Florida’s version of Fenway Park. It’s built in a Florida Spanish Mission style, with white stucco on the main grandstand and cover bleachers over the reserved seating section. The Pirates and the City of Bradenton celebrated their 40th anniversary together during the 2008 spring training season, which included an agreement between the city and the Pirates to continue their partnership through 2037.

The field is currently the oldest stadium used for spring training as well as the second-oldest in the Florida State League (behind Jackie Robinson Ballpark, built in 1914). It is also the third oldest stadium currently used by a major league team after Fenway Park, built in 1912, and Wrigley Field in 1914.

The stadium is also host to an annual charity game between the Pirates and the State College of Florida, Manatee–Sarasota. Several improvements to the field were also made possible through the efforts of the Bradenton Boosters, a volunteer club of local residents that not only raises funds for ballpark improvements, but also operate LECOM Park on game day. Since 1979, members of the Boosters have volunteered as the Pirates spring training game-day staff. The booster club’s 120 members currently serve as ushers, program sellers, security personnel, merchandise sellers, and press box attendants throughout spring training season.

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