Rogers Hornsby was once asked what he did in the winter when there’s no baseball. “I stare out the window and wait for spring,” the baseball great replied.
Spring training is almost as old as baseball itself. The best evidence points to spring training first taking place in 1870, when the Cincinnati Red Stockings and the Chicago White Stockings held organized baseball camps in New Orleans. Other baseball historians argue that the Washington Capitals of the National League pioneered spring training in 1888, holding a four-day camp in Jacksonville. In either case, the roots of spring training history go deep, and the specific origins really don’t matter.
By 1900, spring training was firmly established as a baseball ritual, with most American and National League teams heading out of town so players could train and managers could evaluate.
Early training sites include the St. Louis Cardinals in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma; the New York Yankees in New Orleans and later Phoenix, when the team was owned by Del Webb; the Chicago Cubs in Los Angeles when owned by William Wrigley Jr.; the St. Louis Browns and later the Kansas City Athletics in San Diego as well the A’s were in West Palm Beach, Florida; the Pittsburg Pirates in Honolulu and other teams joined in by the early 1940s.
Spring training in Florida began in earnest in 1913, when the Chicago Cubs played in Tampa, and the Cleveland Indians in Pensacola. One year later, two other teams moved to Florida for spring training, the real start of the Grapefruit League.
Spring Training baseball under the warm Arizona sun has been a tradition for devoted fans since 1947, when two teams, the Cleveland Indians and the New York Giants, came to prepare for the regular season.
With Cactus League clubs clustered in the Valley of the Sun and Grapefruit League teams dotting the Florida coasts and center of the state, Spring Training offers one of baseball’s great traditions while bringing fans close to the game and under the sun.
Whether attending games or team practices, fans experience an atmosphere with fewer barriers between spectators and players with daily games scheduled at centrally located stadiums.
Managers take a look at the players and determine the final roster based on their performance. The great thing about Spring Training games is that you’ll get to see many of your favorite team’s players during one game.
Since 2010, major league teams have been equally divided during spring training, with 15 teams in Florida and 15 teams in Arizona. All but six of the major league teams have gone to spring training in Florida at one time or another.
RV travelers who want the best in resort-style amenities can choose from numerous Good Sam park locations across Arizona and Florida. Each location offers unique amenities and activities, such as swimming pools, spas, fitness centers, sports courts, organized activities, professional entertainment, Wi-Fi access, Cable TV, dog parks, and more.
Please Note: This is Part 1 of a 2-part series on Baseball Spring Training
In the beginning, there was no baseball. But ever since there have been few beginnings as good as the start of a new baseball season. It is the most splendid time in sports.
—B.J. Phillips, Time Magazine (1981)