Pittsburgh Pirates in Deerfield Beach
So Very Close
Construction had already begun on a spring training facility for the Pittsburgh Pirates when the Florida Supreme Court, in 1966, halted the sale of $1.5 million in bonds that would have financed it. Legal agreements had already been approved and executed in 1965 to bring their minor and major league teams to Deerfield Beach. Despite the efforts of many local leaders, a plan to bring the Pittsburgh Pirates training camp to Deerfield Beach fell short.
With the bond secured by franchise fees and taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, the court ruled the city could not spend the public’s money for private use. Delford Richey, a young lawyer just out of law school, was hired by a group of citizens outraged over the debt the city was incurring. The case became a defining moment in his career.
The city’s case was made by City Attorney Robert Carlile who argued that Miami and Vero Beach had built training camps for baseball teams using bond funds. The city lost its appeal by a 4-3 vote of the court. The citizen representing the protesting group was Paul Brandes.