Ted Williams, hitting a grapefruit in Sarasota during batting practice in March 1940.

Ted Williams, hitting a grapefruit in Sarasota during batting practice in March 1940.

Major League baseball spring training has a long history in our area, as this image of “The Splendid Splinter” Ted Williams, hitting a grapefruit in Sarasota during batting practice in March 1940, shows. That fruit was lobbed to him by Boston Red Sox manager Joe Cronin. But the Red Sox were not our first team; earlier clubs in Sarasota included the New York Giants (1924-1927) and Indianapolis Indians (1929-1932). The Sox (1933-1958) were followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers (1959), Chicago White Sox (1960-1997) and Cincinnati Reds (1998-2009) before the arrival of the Baltimore Orioles in 2010. Spring training for 2021 began at the end of February and is set to continue through the end of March at Ed Smith Stadium, Bradenton’s LECOM Park and CoolToday Park in North Port.

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