With it's gorgeous surrounding lake views, the Venetian Gardens was built in 1937 to replace the aging wooden Spring Training ballpark "Cooke Field". The ballpark was renamed Pat Thomas Stadium after professional baseball left this facility (and later Buddy Lowe Field in honor of Leesburg's longtime high school coach). Throughout it's entire professional and Florida State League (Single-A) history however, this stadium was always known simply as the Venetian Gardens. Cooke Field would serve as a Spring Training home to the Philadelphia Phillies, but this new ballpark would never get that call. Instead it would serve as a Spring Training home to the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings when it opened in 1937. After that, the ballpark would go on to serve in parts of 4 different decades as a Single-A Florida State League ballpark.