FORT MYERS, FLA. – You take a right out of the back entrance of the Twins' complex onto Plantation Road and drive straight 8.5 miles, and you have traveled 90 years in time.
Terry Park is the historic baseball ground that was a spring training home for four major league teams, starting with Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics in 1925.
Dr. Marshall Terry and his wealthy wife, Tootie McGregor Terry, started development of the Fort Myers Yacht and Country Club in 1906. They built a 600-foot pier to dock boats a few blocks away on the Caloosahatchee River.
There was a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts and a historic clubhouse that stood until 1980. There was also a baseball field with a small grandstand.
The Terrys' country club failed in 1914. They donated the buildings and 25 acres to Lee County in 1921.
A 1,500-seat grandstand was built and a field was laid out to Mack's specifications to bring his A's to the wilds of Lee County, with its 7,000 residents in 1925.
The A's remained through 1936, then Mack turned nomadic, holding 1937 spring training in Mexico City.
The Cleveland Indians were lured away from New Orleans in 1940 but stayed only a couple of years. The Indians were such short-timers that they get little note at the current Terry Park.
Connie Mack's grandstand was destroyed by fire in 1943. An $80,000 ballpark with a V-shaped grandstand holding 2,500 was built by the locals to bring the Pittsburgh Pirates to Terry Park in 1955.
The Pirates stayed through 1968 before leaving for Bradenton. They were replaced by the expansion Kansas City Royals from 1969 through 1987. There were bleachers added over time to increase capacity to 5,100.
Hurricane Charley damaged the grandstand in 2004. It was replaced by the current grandstand that holds 1,000 and was designed to look old. There are three adjacent fields, named for George Brett, Roberto Clemente and Mack.
The fields are well-used, particularly in the spring by college teams from the north.