Osceola County Stadium History
In 1985 Osceola County Stadium became the Spring Training home of the Houston Astros when the team relocated from Cocoa Beach to Kissimmee. When the complex opened, the venue was considered “state-of-the art” and the best of its kind in Florida. The complex’s unique “cloverleaf” design has served as a blueprint for many teams as they began building new facilities over the years.
In addition to moving the Houston Astros to Osceola County, the organization moved their Florida State League Club from Daytona Beach and renamed them the Osceola Astros. In 1995, the Club changed its name to represent their home city and became the Kissimmee Cobras. The Cobras won the Florida State League championship in 1999. The Single A Club participated in the Florida State League from 1985-2000. At the close of the 2000 season, the Astros farm club had promoted 97 players and coaches to the major leagues.
Osceola County Stadium has hosted numerous large events outside the professional baseball realm. The Senior Little League World Series was hosted here from 1985 until 2001, when the series relocated to Bangor, Maine. The stadium was the first home to the local high school bowl game called the “Scholarship Bowl,” which provided local high school athletes with scholarships from the event’s proceeds. In addition, several Baseball Fantasy Camps have given individuals an opportunity to play alongside some of baseball’s greatest stars such as Brooks Robinson, Willie Stargell, and Bob Gibson to name a few.
From 1993 to 2006, the Florida Junior College hosted their annual qualifying tournament for their World Series at Osceola County Stadium. For two years, the Trans-American Athletic Conference baseball tournament was also held at the facility. It also hosted the early-season Olive Garden Classic tournament for several top collegiate baseball programs such as Georgia Tech, Florida State and LSU.
Since 2000, the facility has focused more on amateur tournaments, hosting several AAU and independent tournaments. More recently, a partnership between Osceola County and United States Sports Specialty Association (USSSA) has resulted in over 1,000 games a year played at the complex and opened opportunities for event growth by partnering with the nearby high schools to host larger events.
The Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring was the second longest tenured tenant at Osceola County Stadium. Each year since 1994 through 2011, the Academy brought in more than 100 individuals from all over the world who have aspirations of becoming professional umpires. Since its inception in 1989, the Academy has the highest percentage of actual placements in professional baseball of any umpire training program, not including umpires placed by independent leagues and college division I, II and III.
Osceola County Stadium has also hosted concerts dating back to the first in 1986 when Jerry Reed and Reba McEntire shared a stage. The Four Seasons followed that performance in 1987 and other performers appearing here have included Exile, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and Sawyer Brown.
Renovations help keep Osceola County Stadium in the forefront of facilities. The most recent major renovation was completed in 2003. The 5,300-seat stadium now has all armchair seating, a new press box, and separate major and minor league clubhouses with state-of-the-art training facilities. Other exceedingly popular and fan-friendly additions include “Autography Alley” and party deck space for private functions.
With this remodeling, Osceola County Stadium was quickly recognized as one of the very best “fan friendly” parks in the Grapefruit League, and the perfect place to watch a Spring Training game.
The Osceola County Stadium has made a definite impact on the county’s overall economic health during the last 28 years.
In 2014, all activities at the Stadium complex accounted for a total of 37,843 room nights in the county, equivalent to a total economic impact of $37,759,325. Sales taxes reimbursed to the county from the state of Florida totaled $217,594; and the county local option sales tax contributed another $253,729.
Osceola County Stadium gives back to the Osceola County community in many ways. We support organizations like Give Kids the World, the Kissimmee Valley Livestock Show & Fair, the Children’s Home, Autism Speaks, American Cancer Society, the Osceola Council on Aging, March of Dimes, Multiple Sclerosis groups and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Throughout their 31-year partnership, many team members of the Houston Astros have made personal appearances at schools, hospitals, grand openings and more. The team also regularly contributes used equipment to local sports groups and high schools.
Currently, Osceola County Stadium is home to the Florida Fire Frogs, the Advanced-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves who compete in the Florida State League. The Fire Frogs inaugural season begins at Osceola County Stadium on April 6, 2017.