Joe Tinker (1880-1948) was an Orlando real estate developer and professional baseball player. While playing with the Chicago Cubs from 1906 to 1910, Tinker won four pennants, two World Series championships, and was part of a famous double-play combination with teammates Johnny Evers and Frank Chance. He managed the minor league Columbus Senators until 1919, when he moved to Orlando to manage the Orlando Tigers. His Orlando real estate firm thrived during the 1920s Florida land boom. Tinker promoted construction of a new baseball stadium to encourage spring training in Orlando. Construction began in December 1922, and Tinker Field was dedicated in April 1923. The all wood stadium seated 1,500 and the ballpark was said to be larger than Yankee Stadium. The field, which is thought to have been a baseball field since 1914, consisted of red Georgia clay and a grass outfield of Bermuda sod. In 1963, the stadium was rebuilt incorporating 1,000 seats from Griffith Stadium in Washington D.C., which had been built in 1911. Spring training was held at Tinker Field until 1990 and home teams included the Cincinnati Reds (1923-1933), Brooklyn Dodgers (1934-1935) and the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins (1936-1990).
(Continued on other side)
(Continued from other side)
On March 6, 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr. gave his "Integration Now" speech from the pitcher's mound to a crowd of approximately 2,000 people. This was Dr. King's only visit to Orlando and his only speech in central Florida. King was in Orlando attending a Southern Christian Leadership Conference and made appearances at a workshop at Shiloh Baptist Church and the rally at Tinker Field. King participated in the St. Augustine Movement in the summer of 1964, which played a major role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That same year, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence. Tinker Field was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 for its association with baseball and Joe Tinker, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946. Thousands of baseball players trained here, including Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Lou Gehrig, Warren Spahn, Hank Aaron, and Michael Jordan. In 2015, the baseball diamond and field were designated an Orlando Historic Landmark based on the site's association with civil rights and its significance to major league and minor league baseball in Orlando.