Homestead ‘s baseball dream crashed because of the 1992 hurricane.
The end is seemingly near for a spring training complex that was never used by a Major League Baseball team in Homestead, Florida. The owners of the Cleveland Indians reached a deal to move the team’s spring training home from Tucson, Arizona to Homestead in 1993 on June 8, 1991. The ballpark would cost about $21 million with Homestead picking up a significant portion of the tab. But Hurricane Andrew hit on August 24, 1992 wiping out large portions of Homestead including the shiny new ballpark that was supposed to have Cleveland’s winter and spring headquarters complete with the stadium and other facilities. When damage assessment was complete, members of the Cleveland front office visited the city and decided that there was too much damage to the city and pulled out of the agreement. Cleveland found a suitable replacement in central Florida in Winter Haven in 1993 after Boston pulled up stakes and moved to Fort Myers. Ironically Red Sox ownership took a look at Homestead.
Homestead officials decided the best way to get the municipality back on its feet was to rebuild the stadium. The thought was get a baseball team into the park and show Homestead was open for business. It was too late though, teams were closing deals with other Florida and Arizona local governments and Homestead was unable to get a team. South Florida had a major league team in the Miami area by 1993. Spring training plants were opened north of the Miami metropolitan area or teams moved to Arizona. Cleveland did play the Florida Marlins in two games in the stadium to raise money for hurricane victims in 1993. In 1995, baseball free agents trained at the complex. Homestead would never get a second chance. The rebuilt structure suffered damage last year during Hurricane Irma. The end is near, demolishing bids are due on Tuesday.
Cleveland played just two spring training games in Homestead.