Florida Sports Hall of Fame opening in Port St. Lucie

Florida Sports Hall of Fame opening in Port St. Lucie

Sports fans who know their geography can easily identify Cooperstown and Canton has the homes for the baseball and football Hall of Fame.

A Treasure Coast city could one day be on that list, now that it's host to some of Florida's finest athletes.

An outfit worn by Chris Evert and an orange jacket of original Tampa Bay Buccaneer owner Hugh Culverhouse are two of the hundreds of sports mementos about to go on display at the MidFlorida Event Center in Port St. Lucie.

This is the new home of the Florida Sports Hall of Fame.

"These are athletes that have strong ties or either played for Florida based colleges or athletic teams," said Rick Hatcher, executive director of the Treasure Coast Sports Commission.

Formerly housed in a Polk County visitors' center, these artifacts needed a new home when the Waterskiing Hall of Fame wanted that space.

So Hatcher sensed an opportunity.

"This whole thing turned around in about 90 days," Hatcher said.

A former cafe at the event center has been transformed with a thousand square feet of memorabilia.

As for Hatcher’s favorite personal piece, it's the Dick Howser statue.

"I had the opportunity of playing for Florida State his only year of coaching for Florida State," Hatcher said.

Right now, only 20% of all the memorabilia in the Florida Sports Hall of Fame is on display, so it offers plenty of opportunity for expansion.

"Our goal is to see this thing grow in space as well as memorabilia items," Hatcher said.

The Hall of Fame is celebrating 60 years in existence and future enshrinement classes will be announced here in Port St. Lucie.

Admission is free, and the official ribbon cutting happens this Thursday, and the room will be open Wednesdays through Sundays.

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