FAMU baseball coach Bob Lucas and high school teammate Jim Jackson
I’m in Florida for a few days looking at properties. Regular readers of this blog know that my wife and I are planning a move to the Space Coast area of Florida, which includes Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island and other nearby towns.
No, I’m not going to any spring training games, although the Washington Nationals are 20 miles down the road in Viera. But we did drive up to Daytona Beach today for a college game.
I’ve been writing here for a couple years now about the Statesville Owls, one of two Angels minor league teams in their inaugural 1961 season. Bobby Lucas, an infielder on that team, is now the head coach for Florida A&M University (FAMU) baseball.
The above photo is of Coach Lucas with Jim Jackson, a high school teammate. Jim never got a chance to play pro ball, probably because of his size. He drove up from Cape Canaveral with his wife to see Bob and the FAMU Rattlers.
Bethune-Cookman University was the opponent and the home team. Both institutions were originally all-black universities but have now integrated.
The game was played at historic Jackie Robinson Ballpark. The first baseball field on the site was built in 1914 and known as Daytona City Island Ballpark. It was renamed after Jackie Robinson in 1989 to note its place in professional baseball as hosting the first racially integrated game, as this was the first park in Florida where Robinson was allowed to play with the Dodgers in his first spring training.
FAMU plays Bethune-Cookman University today at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.
I’ll be back in California late Tuesday.