Whirty: Spring training was different for Negro League teams

From SABR member Ryan Whirty at Philly.com on March 26, 2015:

Once the first warmup pitch thwacked into the catcher’s mitt at the Phillies’ spring training camp in Clearwater, Fla., last month, the team embarked on nearly two months of rigorous workouts and getting the once-over from their manager, Ryne Sandberg, and his coaches.

Everything is strictly regimented, with virtually every minute of every day planned out, all in the collective effort to get ready for a new Major League Baseball season. And that same scene is happening all across Florida and Arizona as dozens of franchises put their players through the paces.

Contrast that, however, to the goings-on 75 years ago, as the Philadelphia Stars of the Negro National League coalesced – or, perhaps more accurately, trickled in from across the country virtually at their leisure – for their 1940 spring training, which itself didn’t even take place in the Florida warmth or Arizona sun, but rather, right here in Philly.

Unlike the Phillies of today, the Stars didn’t know whom they’d have in their 1940 lineups until practically opening day. There were no strict schedules of exhibition games as modern MLB teams have; the Stars practiced against whomever they could, whenever they could. And that usually meant barnstorming ventures throughout the South, taking on all comers, from tiny-town bush leaguers to fellow NNL squads.

Read the full article here: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/Spring_training_was_different_for_Negro_League_teams.html

Originally published: March 26, 2015. Last Updated: March 26, 2015.