It started with a little boy dreaming of playing baseball. This boy, Al Lopez, became Tampa’s first Major League player, manager, and Hall of Fame inductee.
Now, the place where he dreamt - his childhood home - welcomes fans to celebrate Tampa’s 130+ years of baseball heritage.
In this home, 89 professional players and baseball greats from Tampa are honored, along with the people and places who shaped them: the early leagues and spring training, sun-soaked fields in West Tampa and Ybor City, World Series-winning Little League teams, coaches with deep rosters.
Realizing the right time to capitalize on a fleeting opportunity – then taking action. This is the story of both.
A story of a community, coming together, in brotherhood, in sisterhood, in the name of a piece of history they didn’t want to be forgotten and making it happen. The result: The Tampa Baseball Museum at the Al Lopez House.
Like a ballpark before a big game, the lights were dim, the stands – empty. Then something special happened. More than a dozen key players stepped onto the field, up to the plate and hit it out of the park.
Generations have long relished the bonds formed over a game called baseball.
The sport played a major role in shaping the Tampa Bay community and integrating the wide range of cultures and heritage in our region. The roots run deep, steeped in tradition.
A Tampa baseball team was first organized in 1878. In a town with less than 700 residents, hundreds watched the Tampa team take on other Florida teams. Less than a decade later, the cigar industry arrived in Ybor City, along with Cuban immigrants with a deep love for the game. Baseball was their universal language.
That’s what you’ll feel the moment you step inside one of Tampa’s finest vintage-era "casitas", Al's childhood home. Al Lopez, the first professional baseball player, manager, and Hall of Fame inductee, was a rare talent, and a genteel man known as "El Señor".
His fame never overshadowed his desire to leave a legacy for those who would come after. He paved the road to greatness with his strong and steady determination.
In this house, he spent countless hours dreaming about a game he so loved. Now, you can experience all that he, and other Tampa baseball legends, revered.
Run the bases with us and explore exhibits that will put nearly 135 years of local baseball heritage into perspective. Exhibits touch on every level of the sport from early, Negro, and local minor leagues, to the big names from Tampa who made the game great like Lou Piniella, Wade Boggs, Fred McGriff, Tino Martinez, Tony LaRussa, Kevin Cash, and Gary Sheffield.