Payne Park

Payne Park is a former baseball field from 1924 to 1990 in Sarasota, Florida. The stadium and field were built on a portion of 60 acres (0.24 km2) of land donated by Calvin Payne and his wife, Martha in 1923.[2] Payne Park today is a 29-acre (0.12 km2) public park used for recreational events.

Payne Park
Payne Park in 1936
Address2050 Adams Lane
LocationSarasota, Florida
Coordinates27°20′03″N 82°31′45″W
Public transitSarasota County Area Transit
OwnerCity of Sarasota
Field size
  • 1924–1962
  • Left field – 375 ft (114 m)
  • Center field – 500 ft (150 m)
  • Right field – 375 ft (114 m)
  • 1963–1990 (Final)
  • Left field – 352 ft (107 m)
  • Center field – 415 ft (126 m)
  • Right field – 352 ft (107 m)
Broke groundOctober 18, 1923
OpenedFebruary 1, 1924 (1924-02-01)
Renovated1950, 1962
ClosedApril 1988
DemolishedNovember 1990
Construction cost$18,000 ($224,990 in 2021 dollars)[2][3]
  • 1924–1927
  • 1926
  • 1927
  • 1929–1932
  • 1933–1942; 1946–1958
  • 1959
  • 1960–1988
  • 1961–1965
  • 1989



The ballpark was erected in 1924 and was a long time spring training and minor league site for baseball clubs such as the Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants. The Los Angeles Dodgers played their home spring training games at Payne Park in 1959.[4]

The park ceased its association with professional baseball in 1989 with the construction of Ed Smith Stadium and the ballpark was demolished. Until 1963, the ballpark's dimensions were 375 feet (114 m) down the foul-lines and 500 feet (150 m) to center-field.[5]

The ballpark was refurbished on multiple occasions. Prior to Spring Training 1951, the City of Sarasota added 600 permanent bleachers, increasing capacity to just over 4,000. The size of the press-box was doubled as well.[6]

Norman Rockwell's 1957 painting The Rookie is set in the Red Sox' spring training locker room, which at the time was located at Payne Park.[7]

The White Sox moved their spring training games from Tampa to Sarasota in 1960. Prior to spring training 1963, The City of Sarasota changed the ballpark's dimensions to 352 feet (107 m) down the foul-lines and 415 feet (126 m) to center field to match the White Sox' Comiskey Park dimensions.[8]

The Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers played the last major league spring training game at Payne Park on March 30, 1988.[9][10] The Sarasota White Sox began play in 1989 at Payne Park until its demolition in November 1990.

Public park

Historical marker located at former stadium location

The City of Sarasota reopened the former ballpark-site as Payne Park on October 6, 2007 as a 29-acre (0.12 km2) public park space. The public park was built at a cost of $8.8 million, funded by a county-wide penny surtax.[11]

It features a public skateboard park, Frisbee golf course, tracks for walking and riding bikes, lakes, and a cafe serving lunches and refreshments. In 2012, the city opened expansion to the park including a circus playground featuring a small waterpark on site.[12]


  1. "Chisox To Find Comiskey-Sized Diamond Feb. 21". Sarasota Journal. January 17, 1963. p. 32 via Google News Archive.
  2. "Payne Park Historical Marker". 2000 Adams Lane, Sarasota, FL: Sarasota History Alive!. Sarasota County Historical Commission. 1996. Retrieved April 3, 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  3. Johnston, Louis; Williamson, Samuel H. (2023). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved January 1, 2023. United States Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the Measuring Worth series.
  4. Windhorn, Stan (March 1, 1959). "Assembly Line Fashion Production". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Sarasota, Florida. p. 15.
  5. "Chisox to Find Comiskey-Sized Diamond Feb. 21". Sarasota Journal. January 28, 1963. p. 32.
  6. "Bosox Greeted By A Shiny Payne Park". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. February 28, 1951. p. 1.
  7. Anderson, Chris (May 21, 2014). "Who was the rookie in Norman Rockwell's painting?". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  8. "Sox Here For Sixth Spring". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. February 28, 1965. p. 2.
  9. Hurley, Paul (March 31, 1988). "Sarasota's Payne Park goes the way of the dinosaur". Poughkeepsie Journal. Poughkeepsie, New York. p. 1D. Retrieved November 4, 2018 via
  10. Sherman, Ed (March 31, 1988). "Williams hurts ankle, may miss opener". Chicago Tribune. p. 56. Retrieved November 4, 2018 via
  11. "City Celebrates Payne Park Grand Opening". City of Sarasota. September 28, 2007. Retrieved July 3, 2010.
  12. "Payne Park". City of Sarasota Parks & Recreation District.
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