Tucked away off Winter Park's main drag, Alfond Stadium at Harper-Shepherd Field has hosted baseball since 1926 and is home to one of the great traditional college-baseball tournaments, Baseball Week.
Owner: Rollins College
Online Ticket Sales: Yes
Teams: Rollins College Tars (Sunshine State Conference), Winter Park Diamond Dawgs (Florida Collegiate Summer League)
Address: 801 N. Orange Av., Winter Park, FL 32789
Directions: From I-95 S, take exit 260B to merge on I-4 W toward Orlando; take exit 87, Fairbanks Ave.; staying left at the fork, follow signs for Winter Park/Rollins College/FL-426 E; take a left on W. Fairbanks Ave.; make a right on N. Orange Ave. The ballpark is on the right.
Parking: You'll find a small parking lot past the ballpark entrance, There's also plenty of street parking on Orange Avenue and the streets surrounding the ballpark.
Written By: Jesse Goldberg-Strassler (October 2012)
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There’s a proud baseball history in Winter Park, Florida, located just a little over four miles northeast of Orlando. Though Alfond Stadium at Harper-Shepherd Field officially re-opened with a freshly erected bleachers and grandstand on March 8, 1983, its land had been used as a baseball field by the Division II Rollins College Tars since 1933 -- complete with rickety bleachers and modest facilities -- and by the local baseball partisans of Winter Park since 1926. That initial game in 1983 saw Rollins College host the Pittsburgh Pirates, four years removed from a World Series title, who would go on to finish second in the National League East.
The ballpark currently serves as the stomping grounds for both the Tars (a nickname for sailors), part of the talented Sunshine State Conference, and the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs, one of five teams competing in the wood bat Florida Collegiate Summer League.
Alfond Stadium at Harper Shepherd Field additionally hosts the oldest regular-season baseball tournament in the country, Baseball Week, dating back to 1948. Iconic Tars skipper Joe Justice originated the tournament, says the Rollins College website, “as an opportunity for the Tars to face some nationally prominent teams in early season competition.” That first season saw the Bradley Braves and Clemson Tigers visit Rollins. In subsequent years, such powerhouse programs as Michigan, Ohio State, Duke, Alabama, Vanderbilt, and Virginia would also come down to Winter Park. Cincinnati Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan is the most prominent Rollins product in professional baseball today; former Twins infielder John Castino also played at Rollins. Other notable Rollins College alumni include Buddy Ebsen, Mr. Rogers (yes, the Mr. Rogers) and former Reds/Nationals GM Jim Bowden.
The ballpark is worth a drive if you're in Orlando for spring training or other tourism. The focus is on baseball -- a small concession stand sells hot dogs and snacks -- and the raised backstand will give you a good view of the action. Winter Park is one of those lovely Florida community that's kept its charm, just a few blocks away from the downtown strip on Fairbanks Avenue and Rollings Collins, which sits on the shores of Lake Virginia. Beer lovers will enjoy Shipyard Brew Pub, located at 200 W. Fairbanks Av.
Image courtesy of Rollins College.
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