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westofyou
03-06-2007, 11:05 AM
Officially spring arrives on March 21st at precisely 12:07 A.M. EST, the Sun will cross directly over the Earth’s equator. Unofficially spring arrived to baseball fans the day pitchers and catchers reported early and all the northern writers bared their white legs to the southern sun.

As far as I can tell the Cincinnati Reds in the early 1920’s were the first team to have their pitchers arrive earlier than the position players to prepare for the season.


http://www.baseballminutia.com/images/early.gif

In light of the Reds recent pitching staffs (lack of) success it’s somewhat ironic that a tradition in attaining an edge founded during the franchises most dominant pitching era is now embraced by all of the western hemisphere as the ultimate symbol of winters impending demise.

If I was feeling like Roger Angell and awash in the sun of Florida or Arizona I would perhaps fill the page with descriptions of movement, placement and wood whipping through the air, or of leather, and the grunting of a pitcher getting his running in. But I’m not feeling that way at all, so instead I’ll just sit to the sound of the cold rain of March in the PNW and patiently wait for the feeling of spring to reach here.

The Thrill of the Road

The origins of spring training have always been debated, some say it was the Red Stockings New Orleans trip of 1870 with Cincinnati winning 5 games and outscoring opponents 220 runs to 31. Others claim it could have been Hot Springs in 1888 with Cap Anson and the boys stopped in to get the winter starch out and regain their form after falling from 2 straight championships to 3rd in 1887.

http://www.baseballminutia.com/images/cap.gif
Others whisper that it was really more in an aid to drying out after a winter of partying in an era that was just starting to examine alcohol excess and its ramifications. One thing for sure is the early spring training trips were really more about barnstorming a countryside that never saw pro players for a share of the gate, teams would play just about anybody in the early days, town teams, college boys, factory teams as long as there was an admission price a cut of the gate at the end of the day. Another tale of spring trainings genesis can be found in Reds history, some could lay claim to this being the first spring
training; one thing is for certain it was the Reds first spring training and it was at the same time the White Stockings where airing it out in Arkansas.

http://www.baseballminutia.com/images/images.jpg
Enter Gus Schmelz manager of the Reds,who had the same idea as Anson in the late winter of 1887-1888 and approached the Reds owner proposing a team trip through Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama in an attempt to generate income for the team and prepare them for the 1888 season.After finishing in second place in 1887. Schmelz only planned on turning over 3 players from the 1887 squad.


http://www.baseballminutia.com/images/1888.gif

The team made a little money on the six week trip ($76 per man) however the trip did improve the teams play that season good enough to come in with a .597 winning percentage the 4th best winning percentage in the first 58 years of the team (19th overall in team history)

But alas that was only good enough for fourth place in the league. The next spring no trip was planned. Gus also was the only MLB manager to ever have a beard, he later managed Columbus in the American Association in fact Gus is now a life long Columbus resident and can be found in Green Lawn Cemetery, drop by and pay your respects if you are ever in the neighborhood (http://tinyurl.com/lbkrp).

After the trip south in 1888 the Reds kept close to home prior to each season, it was Manager Buck Ewing’s idea to change that when he and Business Manager Frank Bancroft arrange for the team to get their game in line in New Orleans in 1896 From then on the Reds could be counted on to congregate at some point prior to the season and get ready for the annual race to what most often was the bottom half of the standings. Spring Training for the Reds was held at the following sites.

After the trip south in 1888 the Reds kept close to home prior to each season, it was Manager Buck Ewing’s idea to change that when he and Business Manager Frank Bancroft arrange for the team to get their game in line in New Orleans in 1896 From then on the Reds could be counted on to congregate at some point prior to the season and get ready for the annual race to what most often was the bottom half of the standings.

Spring Training for the Reds was held at the following sites.


* New Orleans - 1896 - 97, 1900
* Cincinnati (1901-1902);
* Augusta, Ga. (1903)
* Dallas (1904)
* Jacksonville (1905) - Cincinnati’s first trip to Florida
* San Antonio (1906)
* Marlin Springs, Texas (1907)
* St. Augustine, Texas (1908)
* Atlanta (1909)
* Hot Springs, Ark. (1910-1911)
* Columbus, Ga. (1912)
* Mobile, Ala. (1913)
* Alexandria, La. (1914-1915)
* Shreveport (1916-1917)
* Montgomery, Ala. (1918)
* Waxahachie, Texas (1919)
* Miami (1920)
As mentioned before many teams hoped to make some cash from their spring trip, for the Reds it was never more so than in 1920 following the teams first World Championship, dubious as it may be the players who achieved it wanted some payback. The Reds began a long Barnstorming trip north in Miami as the 1919 World Series champs, they scheduled 18 games in hopes of generating $72,000 in salary increase due to their success. After the glamour of Miami and the cheers of being the champs the Reds returned to Texas the following year in hope of improving on their 3rd place finish in 1920.


* Cisco, Texas (1921)
* Mineral Wells, Texas (1922);

Mmmm Grapefruits



* Orlando (1923-1930)
* Tampa (1931-1987)
* Plant City (1988-1997)
* Sarasota (1998-????)


http://www.baseballminutia.com/images/tinker_field_12.jpg

The original 1,500-seat wooden Tinker Field was built in 1923 and served as the spring-training home of the Cincinnati Reds from 1923 through 1930, The Reds traded sites with the Senators in 1931 and began their relationship with the city of Tampa Bay (A relationship that Marge Schott would ruin so she could line the pockets of a friend who owned land in Plant City... but that's a different story for another time) Orlando then was the Senators spring time home for many years, while Tampa became known as the Reds home away from home.

The Reds arrival in Florida was paralleled by the rise of the southern real estate boom and the emergence of golf as the baseball player’s favorite legal hobby. Former Reds manager Bob O’Farrell was said to care more about getting his game in than the team, after the ninety-first game of the 1934 season he didn’t have to worry about it anymore, since he was canned for his lack of caring.

That's what a bad baseball team can do to anyone, make them not care.

dabvu2498
03-06-2007, 11:13 AM
WOY-Good stuff, as usual.

But you forgot one spring site: Bloomington, IN 1943-45

westofyou
03-06-2007, 11:30 AM
WOY-Good stuff, as usual.

But you forgot one spring site: Bloomington, IN 1943-45

Yep... I did... I'm actually working on a piece for the Limestone Leagues of the war years and I couldn't find the exact dates this morning.

Best thing about the Limestone leagues?

Teams that practiced in "Fieldhouses" were thought to have the edge coming out of ST.

dabvu2498
03-06-2007, 11:35 AM
Yep... I did... I'm actually working on a piece for the Limestone Leagues of the war years and I couldn't find the exact dates this morning.

Best thing about the Limestone leagues?

Teams that practiced in "Fieldhouses" were thought to have the edge coming out of ST.

One other thought:


* Jacksonville (1905)
* San Antonio (1906)
* Marlin Springs, Texas (1907)
* St. Augustine (1908) - Cincinnatiís first trip to Florida


1908 was not Cincinnati's first trip to Florida.

Also, I've read conflicting articles that 1908's Spring was in San (St.) Augustine, Texas, not Florida. MLB's site has 1908 site as Texas, even.

http://pressbox.mlb.com/pressbox/events/spring_training.jsp?content=st_homes

OK, I'm done fact-checking. Sorry, WOY.

westofyou
03-06-2007, 11:50 AM
One other thought:



1908 was not Cincinnati's first trip to Florida.

Also, I've read conflicting articles that 1908's Spring was in San (St.) Augustine, Texas, not Florida. MLB's site has 1908 site as Texas, even.

http://pressbox.mlb.com/pressbox/events/spring_training.jsp?content=st_homes

OK, I'm done fact-checking. Sorry, WOY.

Cha... you're right, I have the "First Trip" distinction wrong... the Reds made the first appearance of a MLB team in Cuba, following the 1908 season.

dabvu2498
03-06-2007, 11:56 AM
Cha... you're right, I have the "First Trip" distinction wrong... the Reds made the first appearance of a MLB team in Cuba, following the 1908 season.

I'd read about that and I also found an exhibition game against the St. Petersburg (FL) Saints mentioned in this article: http://www.floridagrapefruitleague.com/history.html , which led me to believe that they had trained in Florida, not Texas in 1908.

:dunno:

westofyou
03-06-2007, 12:11 PM
I'd read about that and I also found an exhibition game against the St. Petersburg (FL) Saints mentioned in this article: http://www.floridagrapefruitleague.com/history.html , which led me to believe that they had trained in Florida, not Texas in 1908.

:dunno:
Well Bancroft was a big barnstormer, chances are good that they started in Texas and ended up in Fla and then moved up through the south on a barnstorming trip.

dabvu2498
03-06-2007, 12:16 PM
Well Bancroft was a big barnstormer, chances are good that they started in Texas and ended up in Fla and then moved up through the south on a barnstorming trip.

I'd say you're right.

Also, somewhere I've read something about them training in Puerto Rico in the mid 30s. Any truth to that? Or was this also barnstorming? Or am I crazy? Or just wrong?

westofyou
03-06-2007, 12:38 PM
I'd say you're right.

Also, somewhere I've read something about them training in Puerto Rico in the mid 30s. Any truth to that? Or was this also barnstorming? Or am I crazy? Or just wrong?

They split the camp that year, 1 month in PR and then on to Tampa.

The Dodgers trained in Cuba and the DR the late 40's because of their black players, the status of the black player in the Jim Crow South was tough, that's also the reason Arizona came in vogue in that ear... Veeck and the Indians had plenty of black players as did the Giants

Reds Nd2
03-06-2007, 06:48 PM
Good stuff guys.

vaticanplum
03-06-2007, 09:14 PM
WOY-Good stuff, as usual.

But you forgot one spring site: Bloomington, IN 1943-45

My grampa ran away from home once...would have been about mid-1930s, I'm guessing. He and his friend made their first night stop in Bloomington, Indiana and slept in the minor-league ballpark that night, just walked right in and crashed (place was not locked and nobody was there). He has said it was the home of the Bloomington Bluebirds. I could look it up, but offhand, woy, do you or anybody else know anything about this team?

westofyou
03-06-2007, 09:30 PM
My grampa ran away from home once...would have been about mid-1930s, I'm guessing. He and his friend made their first night stop in Bloomington, Indiana and slept in the minor-league ballpark that night, just walked right in and crashed (place was not locked and nobody was there). He has said it was the home of the Bloomington Bluebirds. I could look it up, but offhand, woy, do you or anybody else know anything about this team?

That would be the Three I League (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa)

Check out the Spalding Guides for more info (page 244 of the 1939 version)

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/spaldinghtml/spaldinghome.html

vaticanplum
03-06-2007, 09:56 PM
That would be the Three I League (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa)

Check out the Spalding Guides for more info (page 244 of the 1939 version)

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/spaldinghtml/spaldinghome.html

Wow, thank you!

KronoRed
03-06-2007, 10:43 PM
Great stuff WOY