MIAMI – The dream has become a reality.
An historical marker recognizing the old Bobby Maduro Miami Stadium was installed Tuesday on the land the ballpark once occupied.
The former baseball stadium was the original Florida spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles. It was torn down in 2001 to make way for the Miami Stadium apartments.
For Abel Sanchez, who grew up in Miami, the historical marker designation is a dream come true.
Sanchez was eager to preserve the memories that he had of the ballpark when he was a bat boy for the team, so he created a GoFundMe page in May in the hopes of raising enough money to get an historical marker for the site.
The $2,500 campaign was a success, with the final $900 donated by the owners of the apartment complex that replaced the old ballpark.
Two workers from Parkland-based Turin Construction Corp. volunteered their time to help with the installation. The company also donated its equipment to ensure that the marker was properly installed.
"It feels right," Sanchez told Local10.com as he stood in front of the new marker. "It's long overdue."
The stadium, which was located at 2301 NW 10th Ave., was the spring home to Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers (1950-57) and later the Orioles (1959-90). The original Miami Marlins, a Triple-A team in the International League, played there from 1956-60.
Built in 1949 by Cuban millionaire Jose Aleman Sr., the stadium was renamed in 1987 in honor of Roberto "Bobby" Maduro, the former owner of the Havana Cubans.
The Florida Department of State's State Historical Marker Council reviewed and ultimately approved the application, forever cementing the stadium's place in Miami history.