Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

100 years of spring training in Tampa Bay

Spring training in the Tampa Bay area started as a fling.

The Chicago Cubs first came to Tampa for a six-week stay in 1913, then St. Petersburg landed the St. Louis Browns the next year.

The teams met for the area's first major-league exhibition on Feb. 26, 1914, at Tampa's Plant Field (on the grounds of what is now the University of Tampa) then again — after crossing Tampa Bay by steamship — the next day in St. Petersburg, at a park on Coffee Pot Bayou. The Cubs won both, by the way, 3-2.

It was the start of a rich tradition — one now 100 years old — that has seen 17 teams hold spring training around the Tampa Bay area, with three still here: The Phillies in Clearwater, Blue Jays in Dunedin and Yankees in Tampa.

Designed to attract fame and fortune, or at least attention and tourists, spring baseball also affected change, such as ending segregated housing in St. Petersburg.

Some of the game's greatest names and most colorful characters became seasonal residents of the Bay area, from Babe Ruth to Stan Musial to Pete Rose.

The Mets were born there, as were the Blue Jays and Devil Rays, three expansion clubs gathering for the first time. So too were many memories for fans, taking advantage of the intimate settings and relaxed atmosphere, to get closer to players than anywhere else.

17 teams have trained in the Tampa Bay area

Teams that trained in the Tampa Bay area won 37 World Series championships — 21 by the Yankees; 5 by the Cardinals; 4 by the Reds; 2 by the Blue Jays, Mets and Phillies, 1 by the Senators.



St. Petersburg 1915-18

Clearwater 1947-current


St. Petersburg, 1925-42, '46-50, '52-61

Tampa 1996-present

Blue Jays



St. Petersburg 1938-42, '46-97


Tampa 1931-42, 1946-87

Plant City 1988-97


St. Petersburg, 1962-87


St. Petersburg, 1998-08


Clearwater 1923-32, '36-40


St. Petersburg 1922-37

Twins (Senators)

Tampa 1920-29

White Sox

Tampa 1954-59


Tampa 1913-16

Orioles (Browns)

St. Petersburg 1914, 1992-95

Tarpon Springs 1925-27


Clearwater 1942, '46

Red Sox

Tampa 1919


Tampa 1930


St. Petersburg 1951

100 years of spring training in Tampa Bay 02/25/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 5:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays vs. Cubs in Joe Maddon's return to Trop


    Joe Maddon's return to the Trop will be the main story tonight, but there is still a baseball game to be played, between a Cubs team surging toward another division title with six straight wins and a Rays team struggling to keep alive a longshot bid for the second AL wildcard spot.

    RHP Chris Archer will be on …

  2. Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs could run into their nemesis


    Greg Auman finishes wrapping up the Bucs' win against the Chicago Bears and looks ahead to Sunday's game at Minnesota, where Tampa Bay could run into nemesis Case Keenum, in our latest Cannon Fodder …

    Bucs outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) sacks Los Angeles Rams quarterback Case Keenum (17) during a 2016 game. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  3. Strange case: Bucs could face nemesis Case Keenum again


    Who, you might wonder, will be the first NFL quarterback to beat Jameis Winston three times?

    Case Keenum of the Minnesota Vikings drops back to pass in the first half Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. [Getty Images]
  4. USF men's basketball gets off lightly with NCAA


    Former USF men's basketball coach Orlando Antigua, center, with former assistants Oliver Antigua, left, and Rod Strickland during a game at the Sun Dome on Nov. 9, 2015. (Octavio Jones, Times)
  5. Adam Foote, left, said there have been a few eye-opening moments in his first NHL training camp, but is feeling more comfortable every day.