Now that the Tampa Bay Rays have ended their nail-biting journey though the postseason, baseball fans can turn their attention to another undertaking worthy of their support.
With each passing month, the organizers behind the creation of the Tampa Baseball Museum are moving closer to their goal of opening next spring.
Most recently, ownership of the West Tampa home where baseball legend Al Lopez lived was transferred to the Ybor City Museum Society, which will oversee its restoration and opening as a permanent museum dedicated to Tampa’s rich baseball history.
The home was moved in May to West 19th Street in Ybor City. If all goes as planned, museum organizers will display permanent and rotating exhibits that chronicle the people and events that link Tampa to Major League Baseball, and to the minor leagues, Little League and the Negro Leagues.
Lopez was a professional player and manager, and is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. But as City Council member Charlie Miranda likes to point out, he also established many of the youth programs and sports facilities in the area.
His path to baseball greatness was followed by more than 80 others from Tampa who grew up to play in the major leagues.
Baseball luminaries such as Wade Boggs, Lou Piniella, Tony LaRussa, Dwight Gooden, Tino Martinez, Fred McGriff and Gary Sheffield all hail from the Tampa area.
A preservation grant and in-kind donations have provided the funds needed to get a good start on refurbishing the home and opening the doors by the time Major League Baseball teams open spring training next year. The museum is always looking for memorabilia, and for corporate and individual donations.
Visit TampaBaseballMuseum.org to see how you can contribute.