Steinbrenner Field

George M. Steinbrenner Field (formerly known as Legends Field[7]), is a baseball stadium located in Tampa, Florida across Dale Mabry Highway from Raymond James Stadium, home of the National Football League’sTampa Bay Buccaneers. The ballpark was built in 1996 and holds 11,026 people with an addition in right field built in 2007.[8]

George M. Steinbrenner Field serves as the home of the Tampa Yankees, the New York Yankees’ affiliate in the Class A Advanced Florida State League, and is the Yankees’ spring training home.[9]

Tampa was the first spring training site in Florida, beginning in 1913 with the Chicago Cubs.[10] In the ensuing decades, the city hosted several different Major League Baseball teams for spring training and was home to several different minor league squads during the summer, first at Plant Field near downtown and later at Al Lopez Field near West Tampa. This era came to an end in 1988 when, after almost 30 years in Tampa, theCincinnati Reds moved to new training facilities in Plant City, Florida and transferred operation of the Tampa Tarpons, their local minor league affiliate in the Florida State League, to the Chicago White Sox. In 1989, the Tarpons moved to Sarasota, Florida and Al Lopez Field was razed, leaving the city with no professional baseball teams and no large baseball venue.

In 1993, the Tampa Sports Authority announced a deal to build a new spring training stadium for the New York Yankees, who had been conducting spring training in Fort Lauderdale.[11] The original plan was to build the facility on the former site of Al Lopez Field, just south of old Tampa Stadium. However, due to objections from the Buccaneers, the new ballpark was instead built about a half-mile to the northwest, directly across Dale Mabry Highway from Tampa Stadium, displacing a Hillsborough County correctional facility.[12]

The ballpark and the surrounding training complex cost approximately $30 million to build and was financed entirely with public funds, mostly from Hillsborough County.[13][14][15] It hosted its first spring training game on March 1, 1996 when the Yankees opened spring training by hosting the Cleveland Indians.[11]

In 2006, Hillsborough County paid for a $7.5 million expansion to add more seats and amenities behind right field.[16] The addition opened in 2008.

The ballpark was known as Legends Field for the first dozen years of its existence. It was renamed in honor of George Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ owner and Tampa resident, on March 27, 2008, when Steinbrenner was in failing health.[9][17] He died in July 2010, and a life-size bronze statue of the late owner was placed in front of the stadium in January 2011.[18]

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