By Jane Feehan
The first major league baseball team to come to Fort Lauderdale for spring training was the Boston Braves under manager Billy Southworth. In 1945, Logan Brown* of the baseball committee of the chamber of commerce presented an agreement to the city with the Braves’ request to submit the first bid on an updated baseball park.
The city funded improvements on the Westside baseball park on Broward Boulevard, opening the doors for and welcoming the Braves. The Broward Hotel served as team headquarters but players stayed at various tourist accommodations. The Braves left after one season, citing lack of accommodations and too many distractions. The real reason was probably political: the arrest of Southworth after a minor traffic incident and an unhappy Boston newspaperman.
The ball park was used by a minor league team and the International League before and after the Braves briefly called Fort Lauderdale their spring training home.
*Brown owned Brown’s Restaurant, a popular dining spot for local politicians.
(USE SEARCH BOX AT TOP RIGHT TO FIND MORE FORT LAUDERDALE HISTORY or visit JanesHistoryNook.blogspot.com)
Miami News, Aug. 7, 1945
Miami News, Jan. 9, 1947
Weidling, Philip J. , Burghard, August. Checkered Sunshine. Gainesville: University of Florida Press (1966).
Tags: Fort Lauderdale spring training history, major league spring training in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale baseball history, Fort Lauderdale history, Boston Braves, film industry researcher