Pirates swings into 50th year in Bradenton

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The Pittsburgh Pirates, the city of Bradenton, Manatee County and the Manatee County Public Library System recently announced plans to celebrate the 50th year of Pirates baseball in Bradenton.

Bradenton has hosted the team for spring training since 1969 and the Pirates maintain a year-round presence in the area.

Plans include creating a traveling exhibit, “Baseball in Manatee County: 50 Years of Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training.”

The exhibit will include baseball history as far back as the 1920s, with the primary focus being the half-century the Pirates have trained in Bradenton.

Community members with memorabilia relating to the long history of baseball in Bradenton, especially the Pirates, are encouraged to submit items to the libraries for temporary display.

People can contact David Breakfield at david.breakfield@mymanatee.org about their photos and memorabilia.

The traveling display will be at the Island Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, in May, The first showing, in February, will be at the Central Library in downtown Bradenton.

Additionally, the Pirates are assembling a pop-up museum exhibit inside LECOM Park. The exhibit will include multimedia displays to highlight the roots the Pirates have in Bradenton and Manatee County. Access to the pop-up museum will require a game ticket to Pirates spring training and Bradenton Marauders games.

The annual Pirates Pep Rally on Old Main Street in downtown Bradenton will be 5-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, and feature live music by The Yesterdayze and autograph sessions with Pirates.

LECOM Park will host 16 Pirates spring training games, starting with a visit from the New York Yankees at 1:05 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24.

The Bradenton Marauders will play 70 home games at LECOM Park, 1611 Ninth St. W., Bradenton, April through August.

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