In 1986, when the Cincinnati Reds visited Charlotte County to consider the possibility of moving their spring training from Plant City, team president Bob Howsam visited the empty plot of land that currently holds Charlotte Sports Park with general manager Woody Woodward.
A decade earlier, Sallade and Woodward had crossed paths when Woodward, once a shortstop for the Reds, coached Florida State’s baseball team in the 1970s. Sallade graduated from FSU in 1976 and spent two years as the play-by-play annoucer for Woodward’s Seminoles teams, building a relationship with the former major-leaguer.
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