The History Of Spring Training

Al Lang Field, St. Petersburgh.jpg

Ever wonder how spring training started, or why?  Well, here’s a little history lesson after watching a recent repeat of Ken Burn’s Baseball on the MLB Network.

The Early Years

Stories are a bit conflicting with some claiming the first spring training taking place in Hot Springs Arkansas in 1886, by the Chicago White Stockings (today’s Chicago Cubs) and team President, Albert Spalding and Hall of Famer Cap Anson.  Others claim that it was started back in 1870 by both Chicago and Cincinnati Red Stockings down in New Orleans.  A third story starts with the Washington Capitals in 1888, holding a four-day camp in Jacksonville.  Regardless of which story you hear and believe, we know that teams started training down south in the late 1800’s to prior to the start of their seasons.

Now back in the early years of spring training, most players could not survive on just a baseball salary, so they’d go home after the season and find a job somewhere.  Those jobs would take a toll and players would be out of shape and out of practice by the start of the season.  When it came to playing spring games, it meant mostly against colleges, semi-pro, and at times another Major League team.

In the early 1903, Connie Mack had his Philadelphia Athletics train in Jacksonville, however after a disappointing season; Mack blamed the outcome on the tropical weather and teams focus and didn’t return for 11 years.  One of my favorite stories around the A’ in Florida, was about a very eccentric star pitcher named Rube Waddell who wrestled an alligator while down in Florida.

Continue reading on Sons of ’84

Advertisements

About Shaneo42

I am an amateur blogger but avid Detroit Tigers fan which started out around the age of 7 during the 1984 Tiger season. That year catapulted me to love the game and want to write about it as much as possible. I played some high school ball, rode some pine in college and co-created and wrote Pepper Baseball Blog for eight years. It's time for a fresh start for myself, the blog, and our readers hopefully as I write about the Tigers, Baseball, and my hobby Baseball cards. I hope you enjoy!

Posted on March 6, 2017, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: