11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;

12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

— Ernie Harwell’s famous Voice of the Turtle reading at the beginning of the Tigers’ first broadcast each spring. Another version on YouTube. [Song of Solomon 2:11-12; King James Version of the Bible]

The Rites and the Sites of Spring—Where Hope Always Springs Eternal

There have been scores of books written about spring training, of course, as well as countless thousands of articles. Naturally, most focus on the players and the teams, but a few have endeavored to tell the history of the magical interlude in the baseball calendar when the world is sunny and the future rosy.

The history of spring training, however, is rarely approached with the same analytical eye that is cast on other aspects of the National Pastime. It is a snap to find on the Web good quality information about–and plenty of photographs of–Major League Baseball parks, both current and former. 

Former spring training sites and ballparks are another matter. The Wikipedia entry is incomplete in many ways and also contains a substantial amount of inaccurate information. 

The Spring Training Project will document each of the cities and the ballparks used by all major leagues in the 20th and 21st centuries. Along with the well-known, long-lasting sites and venues, little-known and forgotten cities and ballparks used for spring training will be described. In addition to the spring homes of American and National League clubs, the spring camps of the short-lived Federal League (1914–1915) and of the seven Major Negro Leagues will be catalogued, with photos printed if any are known to exist.

As part of the ongoing effort to give proper historical respect to the Major Negro Leagues, for the first time ever a comprehensive history of spring training in the Negro Leagues will be given its due alongside the other major leagues.

From the small, rickety wooden grandstands protected by chicken wire of the early 1900s to the beautiful, scaled-down big-league parks that today house the 30 MLB clubs in Arizona and Florida, the Spring Training Project will set a new standard for an important chapter in baseball history.