J.P. Small Memorial Stadium

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J.P. Small Memorial Stadium is a former Negro Leagues ballpark in Jacksonville, FL that was home to the Jacksonville Red Caps of the Negro American League and before that of the Negro Southern League. It was known under a number of different names, including Red Cap Stadium, Durkee Field and Barrs Field.

After the demise of the Negro Leagues it was owned by the City of Jacksonville Recreation Department as a venue for amateur baseball. It is located in the Durkeeville historical African-American neighborhood of Jacksonville .

It was first built in 1912 and even though it was substandard by professional baseball standards, it was the home park of the Jacksonville Scouts of the Florida State League in 1921 and was used by various major league teams as a spring training site. After being purchased by the city in 1926 and becoming the city's first municipal recreation park, it hosted the Jacksonville Tars of the Southeastern League from 1926 to 1930. After it burned down and was rebuilt in enlarged form in 1936, it served as the home ballpark of the Red Caps in addition to the re-formed Tars who joined the South Atlantic League in 1938.

As a venue for professional baseball, it was replaced by Sam Wolfson Baseball Park in 1955 but continued to host amateur baseball for both high schools and colleges. However, it fell into disrepair and was scheduled for demolition in the late 1970s when it was saved by the city council and renamed for a prominent local educator, J.P. Small. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2013, where it goes under the name Joseph E. Durkee Athletic Field.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Gary Gillette: "J.P. Small Memorial Stadium (a/k/a Red Cap Stadium, Durkee Field, Barrs Field)", in "Still Standing: Where to See Extant Negro League Ballparks", in Sean Forman and Cecilia M. Tan, eds.: The Negro Leagues Are Major Leagues: Essays and Research for Overdue Recognition, Baseball-Reference and SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2021, p. 78. ISBN ISBN 978-1-970159-63-9