Professional baseball came to Tampa in 1899 thanks to Robert B. Plant who built this... the Tampa Hotel. On the grounds of this very ornamented lodging, Plant would build a huge track with a small grandstand, so that his hotel guests could enjoy some "sport" as part of their vacation package. His new facility… Plant Field, was the first professional athletic field in Tampa and would host horse racing, boxing, car racing, football and the very first professional baseball ever to be played in this part of Florida. Soon after the track was built, Plant placed a baseball diamond in the middle of the track. Plant, in all his business sense, expected that his diamond built in the middle of a horse racing track, would draw the best of Major League Baseball to his hotel to play. Your first thought might be, why a professional baseball team would leave their elaborate stadiums to come play in the middle of a horse and car racing track? Plant was undeterred… more than confident that ever this would become the center of professional baseball in Tampa. He was right… and professional baseball (both Major League Spring Training and Minor League Baseball) would call this their Tampa headquarters for decades to come.