The Magic of Pixie Dust!

Roy Hobbs Baseball

Editor’s Note: Roy Hobbs staffers Ken Breen and Glenn Miller along with JetBlue Park public address announcer Ted Fitzgeorge gave a presentation on Fort Myers spring training history on February. Ted served as MC. The event was the program for the Southwest Florida Historical Society’s annual Cracker Dinner.  This condenses version of their talk.

Novelist Bernard Malamud, who wrote the novel “The Natural,” once said that the “whole history of baseball has the quality of mythology.”


Roy Hobbs World Series participants share the myth stage with some luminous names. They also walk through the same fields of pixie dust as the legends.

Pixie dust? We will explain.

Major League Baseball spring training began in Fort Myers in 1925 with the arrival of the Philadelphia A’s at Terry Park.

What about pixie dust?

Theoretically, and I hope everybody realizes we are speaking tongue-in-cheek, moving an MLB team to Fort Myers has a transformative impact.

The A’s were terrible before moving to Fort Myers in 1925 and sprinkling pixie dust on their spikes.

Their last winning season before 1925 was 1915. They had 4 seasons in which they lost more than 100 games.

In 1925, they went 88-64 and finished second in the American League.

They went on to win the pennant in 1929, 1930 and 1931 and the World Series the first of those 2 seasons. In each of those seasons they won more than 100 games.

What about the Cleveland Indians?

They came to Fort Myers in 1940. The last time they had finished as high as second was 1926.

The last time they won as many games as 89 was 1921.

What did they do in 1940? They went 89-65, finishing second in the American League only 1 game behind the first-place Detroit Tigers.

Then in 1955 came the Pittsburgh Pirates, an awful team in the early 1950s.

They lost more than 100 games in the 1952, 1953 and 1954 seasons. The 1952 team was 42-112. They finished last each season.

The Pirates moved to Fort Myers and things started looking up immediately. Sure, they still finished last but lost only 90 games in 1955.

They were on their way. They finished second in 1958. The last time they finished second was 1944.

They won the 1960 pennant and then beat the Yankees in a 7-game World Series. It was their first pennant since 1927 and their first World Series title since 1925.

The Pirates left for Bradenton in 1969 and have been there ever since.

They were replaced at Terry Park in 1969 by the expansion Kansas City Royals. Expansion teams usually struggle for many years. Not the Royals.

They had that pixie dust working for them.

They won 7 division titles between 1976 and 1985 and the World Series in 1985. Their last year at Terry Park was 1987.

In 1990, the Minnesota Twins were last in the American League West with a 74-88 record. The 1990 Twins trained at Orlando’s Tinker Field.

In 1991, they moved to a new facility called the Lee County Sports Complex.

Pixie dust worked its magic. The Twins not only won their division in 1991 with a 95-67 record, going from worst to first, but they went on to win the World Series in 7 games over the Atlanta Braves.

Another Pixie Dust challenged loomed.

In 1992, in their final year training in Winter Haven, the Boston Red Sox finished last of 7 teams in their division.

In 1993, their first year in Fort Myers, they inched up to fifth. It wasn’t much. But it was an improvement.

It took a while, but the Pixie Dust worked its magic, even against the Curse of the Bambino.

After not winning a World Series since 1918, the Red Sox won it all in 2004, 2007, 2013 and 2018.

Don’t mess with Pixie Dust!

See you this fall in Fort Myers. Don’t forget to bring your pixie dust.

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