(1919-1920, 1923-1924, 1926)
|Minor league affiliations|
The Bradenton Growers were a professional baseball team based in Bradenton, Florida. A charter member of the Florida State League, they played from 1919 to 1926. The ballclub was founded by team president and majority owner Robert M. Beall, Sr., founder of the department store Bealls. The Growers originally played their home games at Ninth Street Park and moved into McKechnie Field, then known as City Park, when it was constructed in 1923.
Many of the Growers rosters include players' names with question marks, last names only, and no dates of birth or hometowns. However, several notable Growers did make it into the majors. Logan Drake played from 1922-1924 as a relief pitcher for the Cleveland Indians. Walter Cleveland "Lefty" Stewart played 10 seasons in the majors for the Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Browns, Washington Senators, and Cleveland Indians. He also pitched in game 1 of the 1933 World Series for the Senators. Another Grower, Gene Elliott, played for New York Highlanders in 1911 before playing in Bradenton. Hank Johnson, a Bradenton native, also played for the Growers in 1925. He would go on to win the 1928 World Series, as a member of the New York Yankees. Other major leaguers include Joe Buskey and Al Niehaus, Mike Kelly and Dixie Parker.
They wore short-billed caps and their white uniforms bore an elegant B over their hearts. While the primary color of the Growers' uniforms is not known, baseball historians from the Manatee Adult Baseball League feel that the color of the uniforms was green and that their design was based the design on the uniforms worn by the 1919 University of Miami baseball team.
The Growers would be the last Florida State League team based in Bradenton. The city would not be home to another FSL team for the next 84 years. Finally on April 8, 2010, the Bradenton Marauders, the High-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, began play at McKechnie Field. On June 28, 2009, members of the Manatee Adult Baseball League, dressed in Growers uniforms for a game at Tropicana Field following a between the Tampa Bay Rays and Florida Marlins. On May 31, 2012, the Bradenton Marauders dressed on Growers uniforms during a 2-1 win over the Fort Myers Miracle for Turn Back the Clock Night at McKechnie Field.
- Mannix, Vin (April 8, 2010). "Bradentown Growers were Marauders' forerunners". Bradenton Herald. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
- "Hennery Johnson. Yankee Recruit. Treats Sarasotans Roughly, 10-1". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. November 11, 1925. Retrieved January 31, 2012.
- Mooney, Rodger (June 28, 2009). "Lefty, Growers coming back to life". Bradenton Herald. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
- "Pittsburgh Pirates Unveil Name and Logo For New Bradenton Florida State League Team". Pirates News Release. December 15, 2009. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
- Lembo, John (June 1, 2012). "M's Turn Back the Clock starter just fine in the present". Bradenton Herald. Retrieved June 19, 2012.