Florida Spring Training History
Big league baseball, the spring training version, is a Florida tradition dating to the early years of the century. Nearly all the immortals — from Ruth to Hornsby to Mays and Clemente and most recently Jeter and Cabrera — have trod the basepaths of St. Petersburg, Bradenton and points south and north in the state. There have now been over 130 Years of Major League Baseball Spring Training in Florida.
Thirty-five different Florida sites have held spring training. All but six of today’s major league teams trained in Florida (Anaheim Angels, Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks).
The Florida cities with the most years of spring training are St. Petersburg and Tampa (87 years), Bradenton and Clearwater (76 years), Lakeland (75 years), Sarasota (74 years), Fort Myers (64 years), West Palm Beach (63 years), Orlando (62 years), Vero Beach (58 years) and Winter Haven (55 years).
Here’s a look back decade by decade: