Parks # 45 and 46
What I Remember
This was the second of three straight “Double Days” that week. We saw the first few innings of a game in downtown Orlando then headed 22 miles south to Kissimmee to see the latter part of the game between the Baseball City Royals and Osceola Astros.
Tinker Field, which was named after one third of the famous double-play combination (Tinkers to Evers to Chance,) had an unusual visage…it sat right next door to the Florida Citrus Bowl and the football stadium towered over it like a giant among Lilliputians. That would have changed had Orlando been successful in its bid to become a major league city in the expansion of 1992 but the city’s longshot bid failed and the Double-A team left the city for good after the 1999 season.
Osceola County Stadium was representative of most of the stops in the Florida State League. It was a big spring training facility, the Astros trained there for 31 years, but for most of the summer it was largely empty. The sophomoric side of Bill Craib’s humor always loved the team name, though. The Osceola Astros are named after the county they play in not the town. But if they were named after the town of Kissimmee…I’ll let you figure out what their name would have been.
Birmingham Barons 2 Orlando Rays 0
Osceola Astros 1 Baseball City Royals 0
We found it pretty hard to tell whether a player we saw in the minors was going to make it to the major leagues but players at Double-A, which was the level of the Orlando Rays, usually had a pretty decent chance. It isn’t too surprising then, that Pat Mahomes, the starting pitcher that night for Orlando would go on to a 10-year major league career. What we certainly could not have known, though, was that his son of the same name would eventually be a superstar at another sport.