Chronological Tour: Stop 259

McKechnie Field

Exterior of McKechnie Field from across 9 Street West, Aug-2003.

Notice the lack of light stanchions here. This was “rectified” in 2008.

A look out at the field from the press box.

Quick Facts: Rating: 4 baseballs
McKechnie Field itself was built in 1923, and the stadium was rebuilt in 1993. I lucked out at being able to see a game here, as the Pirates’ Gulf Coast League team was scheduled to play 18 blocks west at Pirate City but the fields were unplayable and the game was moved here. I returned and saw a regular-season Florida State League game in 2016.

The seating bowl reminds me an awful lot of Lake Olmstead Stadium in Augusta, with seating areas largely covered by a roof. There is a regular bleacher (uncovered) down the third-base line. One difference is that at McKechnie, the press box is located atop the home-plate grandstand rather than in it. The other huge difference when I was here in 2003, and the factor that kept the Florida State League out of the park for many years, was that it had no lights. The Pirates, who came here in 1969 after spending fourteen seasons at Terry Park in Fort Myers, could have had lights when the park was redone in 1993, but they chose not to install them until 2008.

The park finally got a full-season tenant for 2010, as the Pirates and Cincinnati Reds switched Class A affiliates. The Reds took over the Lynchburg Hillcats, while the Pirates assumed the old Sarasota team and moved it here. Sarasota’s park was being renovated for a new Baltimore Orioles complex.

In 2017, the field got a corporate name for the first time. LECOM is the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, which has campuses in Erie and Greensburg, Pa., as well as Bradenton. The home clubhouse was renamed to perpetuate the honor to Bill McKechnie, a former Pirates player (1907-12) and manager (1922-26) who was honored with the field name when the Pirates took over as its primary tenant. McKechnie had died in Bradenton in 1965.

Game # Date League Level Result
634 Tue 26-Aug-2003 Gulf Coast R GCL Braves 9, GCL PIRATES 1
1506 Tue 30-Aug-2016 Florida State A BRADENTON 8, Jupiter 1
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This page updated 6-Jul-2017