“1950, This picture was taken in Hemming Park downtown. The banner was given to the Major League Baseball team that won the most games in Florida. Mr. Harold Colee was president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.” LS
Cross referencing photographs in the Florida State Archives it appears that the gentleman on the right was Mr. Colee. I’m at a bit of a loss as to why this pennant was brought to Jacksonville. I contacted Nick Gandy with the Florida Sports Foundation hoping he could shed a little light on this. According to Gandy, in 1950 there were 10 of the 16 Major League Baseball teams holding their spring training in Florida. They were the Boston Braves (Bradenton); Boston Red Sox (Sarasota); Detroit Tigers (Lakeland); Washington Senators (Orlando); New York Yankees (St. Petersburg); Philadelphia Phillies (Clearwater); St. Louis Cardinals (St. Petersburg); Philadelphia Athletics (West Palm Beach); Cincinnati Reds (Tampa); Brooklyn Dodgers (Vero Beach). The other six teams, St. Louis Browns, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Giants, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs were elsewhere. He speculated that it was simply a promotional stop to bring attention to the teams holding their training in the state. Jacksonville did not host any teams in 1950 and the only team in town was the Jacksonville Tars, an unaffiliated minor league club with a loosing record. It was not until 1953 that Samuel Wolfson bought the Tars and replaced them with the Jacksonville Braves, the Class A affiliate of the newly relocated Milwaukee Braves.
Jacksonville does have the distinction of being the first Florida town to host spring training for Major League Baseball. In 1888 the Washington Nationals came to Jacksonville, traveling the farthest south any team had previously traveled, to prepare for the upcoming season. After the 48-86 season that followed, it was another 15 years before Major League Baseball returned to the state of Florida. An extended history of the Grapefruit League can be found at the Florida Grapefruit League website.
I have not found any record of who won the Grapefruit League Pennant in 1950 but later that year the New York Yankees won the World Series.
Tags: 012797, Bandshell, baseball, Grapefruit League, Harold Colee, Hemming Park, historic photograph, pennant, vintage photography