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Updated: 03/22/2014 08:00:00AM

Baseball goes back to Florida’s beginning

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Former Detroit Tigers left fielder Willie Horton shares a moment with UF professor Dr. Kevin McCarthy at Tuesday's Baseball in Florida program at the Polk History Center in Bartow.


Dr. Kevin McCarthy, UF professor emeritus, told a full house about Baseball in Florida at Tuesday's Lunch N Learn program at the Polk History Center in Bartow.

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Florida was almost the original sandlot for baseball. It had the sand, lots of it, and its origins as THE game in Florida go back almost to the beginning of baseball, said Dr. Kevin McCarthy, professor emeritus at the University of Florida, on Tuesday at the Lunch ‘n’ Learn session at the Polk County History Center.

McCarthy, who has authored dozens of books about sports in Florida, told a full house how baseball came to Florida in the 19th century, primarily as entertainment for guests at Henry Flagler’s and Henry Plant’s hotels.

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