Browns host walk-in practice and museum tour at historic JP Small Memorial Stadium


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Browns hosted a practice and museum tour Thursday at JP Small Memorial Stadium, a century-old baseball park that has a history in the world of professional baseball and football.

Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb, Satchel Paige and “Cool Papa” Bell all played on the grounds, and in 1915 the park was the site of the first-ever college football game between Georgia and Florida. The Jacksonville Red Caps, a Negro League baseball team, called the stadium home in 1938 and from 1941 to 1942. It was also the site of several minor league baseball teams in the 1960s and a center for spring training for several MLB teams during the first decade of its existence.

The Browns conducted light practice in the outfield wearing shorts and t-shirt jerseys. After training, they took a lesson in the history of the stadium and took a short tour of the museum under the stadium stands.

“Instead of having a hotel visit, we had an outfield visit,” said head coach Kevin Stefanski. “There’s so much history here, and walking around here and seeing the people who have passed through here, whether it’s Babe Ruth or Satchel Paige or Hank Aaron, is pretty special.”

The Browns arrived in Jacksonville a day early Wednesday for the experience, which took place a day before their preseason opener against the Jaguars. The visit and tour was another opportunity Stefanski wanted to use to bond as a team, something he has emphasized for players throughout the offseason.

During minicamp in June, the Browns toured the Cleveland Cavaliers training facility and traveled to Canton for a tour of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a practice session at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

“It feels like a field trip, like we’re back in school in a classroom and we’re all together,” said safety John Johnson III. “Every time you do something like that, (the chemistry) gets better and better. It’s about being comfortable with your teammates, talking to guys you may not be like. -not being as close and in different groups of positions. That always helps.”


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