Historic Markers Across Florida

Cyrus Greene Park

Marker ID:  
Location: At Cyrus Greene Park, 2101 E Dr M.L.K. Jr Blvd, Tampa, FL
County: Hillsborough
Coordinates: N 27° 58.878    W 082° 26.090
  27.9813    -82.43483333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMT8ZQ


Cyrus Greene Park

(Side 1)
The City of Tampa acquired the Cyrus T. Greene property in 1931, which was named in honor of the executive secretary of the Tampa Urban League. By the 1940s, the baseball field created at Cyrus Greene was known as the 22nd Street Park. It served as the hime field for several semi-professional teams of the Florida State Negro Baseball League from the mid-1940s-1950s. These included the Pepsi-Cola Giants, Tampa Rockets, Tampa Grandstanders, Tampa Black Smokers, Tampa Blue Sox, Tampa Athletics, and the Tampa All Stars. In 1947, the Tampa Rockets won the League's championship. From the mid-1950s to the early 1960s, the Tampa Grays, of the African American West Coast Baseball League, played its home games on this field. Teams from the Negro League, including the New York Black Yankees and the Indianapolis Clowns, trained in Florida and Sometimes played in this park.

Several star players from Tampa whose home field was the 22nd Street Park played for Negro League teams during their baseball careers. Black players were restricted from Major League baseball until 1947, so the Negro League represented the highest level of accomplishment for black players. These great athletes included

(Side 2)
Hipolito Arenas, J.B. Broome, Clifford "Quack" Brown, Benjamin "Billy" Felder, John "Bey" Gibbons, Walter "Dirk" Gibbons, and Raydell "Lefty Bo" Maddix.
In 1968, Billy Reed, Benjamin Rouse, George Sullivan, and James Hargrett, Sr. organized the Belmont Heights Little League, whose games were played at Cyrus Greene Park. Belmont Heights reached the championship games of the Little League World Series in 1975, 1980, and 1981, and played in the semi-final round in 1973. Future major leaguers Derek Bell and Gary Sheffield both played on the 1980 team. A team from Belmont Heights, including future major leaguers Dwight Gooden, Floyd Yuma's and Vance Lovelace, played in the Senior League World Series game in 1979, and Belmont Heights won the Junior League World Series in 1982.

Cyrus Greene Park, known for many years as the 22nd Street Park, stands as a legacy to African American ball players from Tampa. Many of these athletes achieved great success both during and after segregation. Members of Tampa's community who inspired this marker hope that the future will also be bright for those who now play and for those who will play at Cyrus Greene Park.