Al Lang Stadium was originally built in 1947 and named in honor of the former Mayor of St. Petersburg who helped bring spring training baseball to the area. The Sunshine City has a long tradition of baseball culture, with the field at Crescent Lake first being a spring training site in the 1920’s for the NY Yankees of the Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio era. Babe Ruth loved his time in St. Pete and donated 250K to help start the All Soul’s Children's Hospital which became St. Jude's Hospital.
Jack Kerouac grew up in Lowell, MA fifty miles from Fenway Park, was a lifelong sports fan, a former collegiate football player at Columbia University. Despite his age and drinking, was still an incredibly fast and powerful runner. Jack would insist on racing Cliff Anderson, a local friend 20 years younger than Jack, and always beat him.
As early as age 11, Kerouac had developed a fantasy game that he would play by himself in the backyard, using a toothpick to hit a marble. This evolved into a card based game with dreamed up fantasy baseball leagues naming teams after colors (Chicago Blues, Boston Grays, New York Greens) or cars (Pittsburgh Plymouth's, St. Louis Cadillacs, Washington Chryslers) and play entire seasons out on paper.
Kerouac spent a lot of time at this stadium watching spring training games, one can imagine him spending his final birthday at the age of 47, watching a spring training baseball game on March 12, 1969 where the World Series champs Detroit Tigers were thrashed 12-0 by The New York Mets on a cold rainy day. For in-depth details on Kerouac's love of baseball check out this article on MLB.com by Dan Cichalski.