Robinson: Meet me in Waxahachie: Offbeat spring training cities

From SABR member Eric Robinson at The Hardball Times on February 27, 2018:

In 1993, the then California Angels moved their spring training facilities to Tempe, Arizona, from Palm Springs, California, creating a generation of fans who know only of teams preparing for the season in either Florida’s Grapefruit League or Arizona’s Cactus League. The trend had begun decades before with teams centralizing in these two regions to take advantage of their ample sunshine, minimal rain, infrequent winter storms, and the presence of other teams to provide competition. Prior to this, major league teams convened for spring training in such disparate places as seaside resorts, spa towns like Hot Springs, on California islands, and even international locales like Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

Cities featuring spa resorts were common locations for spring training beginning in the 1880s. Cap Anson brought the Chicago White Stockings to Hot Springs, Arkansas, in 1886, and its popularity grew from there, hosting 10 different major league teams between 1886 and 1928. This includes familiar names such as the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds, as well as franchises associated with bygone sporting eras such as the Cleveland Spiders and St. Louis Browns.

While Hot Springs was the most frequented, other spa towns like Marlin Springs, Mineral Wells and Hot Wells–all in Texas–were also popular destinations. The teams enjoyed the supposed healing powers of the mineral water treatments and the presence of hotels that could host them.

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Originally published: February 27, 2018. Last Updated: February 27, 2018.