Dickson: A brief history of spring training: the war years and beyond

From Paul Dickson at The National Pastime Museum on March 2, 2018:

As the Second World War intensified, baseball faced strict travel restrictions, especially when it came to spring training. This was a cost of keeping baseball alive while the nation fought on two fronts. During wartime, American trains were filled with supplies and troops, so transporting baseball players and their fans seemed to be a frivolous use of precious resources.

The agreement worked out between Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis and Joseph B. Eastman, director of the federal Office of Defense Transportation, was that beginning in 1943 spring training had to be held close to the teams’ home bases, north of the Potomac and Ohio rivers and east of the Mississippi. (The Cardinals, White Sox, and Cubs were limited to training in Missouri, Indiana, or Illinois.)

This area became known as the Landis-Eastman Line, or the Potomac Line. The New York Yankees ended up training in Asbury Park, N.J.; the Brooklyn Dodgers hiked up the Hudson River to Bear Mountain, the location of the United States Military Academy at West Point; the Washington Senators prepared for the season in College Park, Maryland; while the Red Sox trained at Tufts College in nearby Medford, Massachusetts. The ball fields in many of these locations were covered with snow when the teams arrived so that the teams played their exhibition games in field houses they shared with college teams.

Read the full article here: https://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/brief-history-spring-training-war-years-and-beyond

This page was last updated March 2, 2018 at 10:44 am MST.