From the Kurt Schweizer Collection
Before they could get to Havana, "Miami" would have to take on "Miami Beach" in round one who oddly enough were playing in the same league at Flamingo Park (now demolished). Though you would think that Miami Beach would be a larger draw for the league, Miami outdrew Miami Beach 3 to 1. 160,000 (2nd place again to Havana) to 47,000 in attendance for Miami Beach. Miami's strong pitching easily helped the Sun Sox to steamroll Miami Beach as the Sun Sox swept the Flamingo's in 3 games. In the finals... Miami would take on mighty Havana, who were always in the finals it seemed. It was pitching against pitching but Miami was ready for this battle. In their inaugural full season at Miami Stadium, the Sun Sox easily beat the Cubans 4 games to 1 and took home the first Florida International Championship to Miami Stadium. With Miami Stadium now fully "broken in", a new kind of baseball came to the ballpark... Major League Baseball. The Los Angeles Dodgers had been training in Vero Beach Florida at the old WWII Naval Air Station. They would continue on there, especially with new Holman Stadium about to debut in 1952... located on a wonderful PGA golf course... but would split the Grapefruit League exhibition season between Vero Beach and Miami from 1951 until 1958 (their last season here at Miami Stadium). Coming to this ballpark for the first time ever were... Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campinella, Preacher Roe, Carl Erskine, Ralph Branca and Don Newcombe. When the regular season got underway, these 1951 Dodgers would go on to become a first place team for almost the entire sason until the Giants tied for 1st place on the final day forcing a tie-breaker. Bobby Thompson would then hit a homerun dubbed the "Shot Heard Round The World" to win for the Giants and go on to the World Series.