Major League Baseball's Spring Training in Florida, 1901-2001


  • Jonathan I Leib


On March 22, 1888, over one thousand spectators watched at a baseball field located on the outskirts of Jacksonville as the National League's Washington Capitals and New York Giants played Florida's first spring training baseball game (McCarthy 1996). In 2001, 20 of Major League Baseball's 30 teams participated in Florida's annual baseball rite of renewal, spending six weeks in late February and March training for the upcoming baseball season at 19 spring training sites across the state.' Along with providing a warm weather base of operations for professional baseball players to prepare for the upcoming season, Florida spring training has long provided pictures of sunshine and palm trees to northern residents locked in the icy grip of winter's cold and snow.