Carpenter Complex

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Carpenter Complex
Full name Paul Owens Training Facility at Carpenter Complex
Former names Carpenter Field
Location 651 Old Coachman Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
United States
Coordinates 27°58'18"N 82°43'54"W
Capacity 500
Field size

Left - 340 ft.
Left-Center - 370 ft.
Center - 400 ft.
Right-Center - 370 ft.

Right - 340 ft.
Surface grass
Construction
Broke ground 1966
Opened March 5, 1967
Renovated 1987, 2009
Construction cost $250,000
Tenants
Gulf Coast League Phillies (Gulf Coast League) (1984-present)

The Carpenter Complex is a complex of four baseball fields in Clearwater, Florida. It opened as 'Carpenter Field' in 1967. It is the Florida home of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball operations, spring training site for the Phillies’ minor league players, home to the Gulf Coast League Phillies, and adjacent to Bright House Field, spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies and regular season home of the Clearwater Threshers. While the Complex is now adjacent to Bright House Field, the Phillies, until 2004, played spring training games a short drive away, which gave the Complex its own identity in the Phillies organizational structure and the team's recent history.

The Complex has four fields, each named for Phillies Hall of Fame players (all of whom trained with the Phillies in Clearwater and also were the first four Phillies to have their uniform numbers retired), the Rich Ashburn Field, Robin Roberts Field, Mike Schmidt Field, and Steve Carlton Field. In 2004, the Phillies officially renamed the Complex, the Paul Owens Training Facility at Carpenter Complex, which honored Paul Owens' memory but also served to distinguish the training fields from the primary spring ballpark, Brighthouse Field, which is also at Carpenter Complex.

History and Renovations[edit]

The Carpenter Complex was dedicated on March 5, 1967 at which Clearwater Mayor Joe Turner surprised Phillies owner and president Bob Carpenter by naming the new field in his honor. The complex was financed by a no-interest $250,000 loan from the Phillies to the City of Clearwater which was to be repaid over a ten-year period.[1] The complex was built on the site of a former city trash dump. Through the years, settling garbage has left dips and holes in the field and has required repairs on the clubhouse buildings.[2]

During the 1987-1988 off-season, the City of Clearwater renovated the Complex along with Jack Russell Stadium in exchange for the Phillies' commitment of an addition eight years in Clearwater. Improvements included the additions of four covered batting tunnels, new lockers, and new fencing for all four fields.[3]

During the summer of 2009, the Carpenter Complex was gutted and reconstructed with new offices, new locker rooms, larger training room, and an elevated observation walkway that now allows coaches and scouts to walk around to any of the three fields. The major league Phillies enjoyed these new renovations for the first time during Spring Training 2010.[4]

Teams[edit]

The Carpenter Complex is home to the Gulf Coast League Phillies. The GCL Phillies played some games at the Joe DiMaggio Complex in Clearwater in 2009 while the Carpenter Complex was renovated.[5] In December 2010, the Penn State Nittany Lions practiced at the complex prior to their appearance in the 2011 Outback Bowl at nearby Raymond James Stadium.[6]

Many Florida Winter Instructional League teams - both affiliated with and not affiliated with the Phillies - played their home games at the Complex at what was then called 'Carpenter Field in the late 1960s and 1970s.

In December 2010, the Penn State Nittany Lions practiced at the complex prior to their appearance in the 2011 Outback Bowl at nearby Raymond James Stadium.[7]

Identification with Paul Owens[edit]

Paul Owens became increasingly identified with the Carpenter Complex due to his success with the franchise which coincided with the opening of the Complex in 1967 through the 2003 season, the final season at Veterans Stadium, where his teams achieved so much success. His death has a particular resonance with those who had worked with and under Owens at the Complex. In 1955, Owens was named the Olean Oilers's playing manager. The following year, Oleans became a Phillies' affiliate and Owens moved into their organization. He eventually became director of the Philadelphia farm system. On June 3, 1972, he replaced John Quinn as the Phillies' general manager. His farm system produced players including Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski, Bob Boone, Larry Bowa, Oscar Gamble, and Dick Ruthven. He remained with the Phillies as a senior adviser and special scout until his death, in 2003, at age 79. He worked many hours at the Complex, sitting atop the fields, smoking cigarettes, and watching prospects.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Albury, Chuck (1967-03-06). "Clearwater Dedicates Minor League Complex". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  2. ^ Steinle, Diane (1987-08-19). "City is considering repairs to field house at complex". St. Petersburg Times. p. 5. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  3. ^ Reinwald, Pete (1988-02-20). "Phillies return to renovated quarters". St. Petersburg Times. p. 1. 
  4. ^ Murphy, David (2010-02-17). "Aumont looks like a starter; Complex Renovated". Philadelphia Daily News. p. W-23. 
  5. ^ Hagen, Paul (2009-07-08). "Phillies former prospect Mathieson slowly making way back". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved 2009-07-08. [dead link]
  6. ^ Bill Conlin (2010-12-23). "Greatness at work in Clearwater". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved 2010-12-23. 
  7. ^ Bill Conlin (2010-12-23). "Greatness at work in Clearwater". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved 2010-12-23. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 27°58′18″N 82°43′54″W / 27.97167°N 82.73167°W / 27.97167; -82.73167