Standing outside of St. Pete Museum of History

Standing at the front entrance of the St. Petersburg Museum of History. The museum is a short walk from the Spa Beach.

On Sunday morning, November 8,  when we jumped out of our SuperShuttle at the Tampa Airport to return to the San Francisco Bay Area, I remarked to my dad that we must have been the only visitors to  St. Petersburg, Florida, who never spent a single moment at the beach.

Known as “Sunshine City,” St. Pete holds a Guinness World Record for experiencing the most consecutive days of sunshine — a total of 768 days that began in 1967!

Even though the temperature hovered in the high 80s during our visit and the humidity was unlike anything I had endured before, we just didn’t have time to enjoy the sunshine.

From the moment we left our hotel each morning at 8:30 a.m., we were out all day, meeting people and touring the streetscape. During the 72 hours we spent in St. Pete:

  • We took walking tours of two of the city’s historic neighborhoods, downtown and 22nd Street South (aka The Deuces);
  • Went behind the scenes at Al Lang Stadium, the spring training home of the New York Yankees (1947-1961) and the St. Louis Cardinals (1947-1997);
  • We’re led on a private tour of the city’s most famous hotel (Vinoy Park);
  • And I conducted close to a dozen interviews that included retired Yankee outfielder, Hector Lopez, who played alongside Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, and two of the surviving children of Dr. Ralph Wimbish, the central figure of my forthcoming book.

The beach will just have to wait. The business of research comes first.


 

Me and my traveling partner.

Me and my traveling partner.

Built in 1926, the Vinoy Park Hotel is the city's most famous hotel. It's guests have included Yankee great Babe Ruth, U.S. President Calvin Coolidge, and, more recently, tennis superstar Serena Williams.

Built in 1926, the Vinoy Park Hotel is the city’s most famous hotel. It’s guests have included Yankee great Babe Ruth, U.S. President Calvin Coolidge, and, more recently, tennis superstar Serena Williams.

Surrounded by Barbara (Wimbish) Griffin and Ralph Wimbish, Jr., the children of Dr. Ralph M. Wimbish, the central figure of my next book, "Under One Roof."

Surrounded by Barbara (Wimbish) Griffin and Ralph Wimbish, Jr., the children of Dr. Ralph M. Wimbish, who is in the framed picture and is the central figure of my forthcoming book, Under One Roof: The Yanks, The Cards, and a Doctor’s Battle Over  the Integration of Spring Training.

As my cousin from New York reminded me that I interviewed 136-home run hitting, two-time World Series champion Hector Lopez.

After interviewing the 136-home run hitting, two-time World Series champion Hector Lopez.

Lunching with the St. Pete Intellects @ Chief's Creole Cafe following the walking tour of the 22nd Street South neighborhood. (L to R) Preservation Guide Peter Belmont, Author and journalist Jon Wilson, my dad, me, Chief's Creole Cafe owner Elieu Brayboy

Lunching with the city’s intellects @ Chief’s Creole Cafe, following the walking tour of the 22nd Street South neighborhood. (L to R) St. Pete Preservation guide Peter Belmont, author and journalist Jon Wilson, my dad, me, and Chief’s Creole Cafe owner Elieu Brayboy.

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