1869 New York politico William Marcy "Boss" Tweed sends the amateur New York Mutuals to New Orleans, the first recorded instance of a baseball teams heading south for spring training. No record exists of whether or not the trip was paid for with money Tweed extorted from city contractors, but that would be the smart-money bet.
1885 Cap Anson takes a newspaper reporter along when he brings the Chicago White Stockings to Hot Springs Arkansas. The news stories, and the White Stockings subsequent success, popularize the idea of southern spring training trips and soon all big league teams are taking them, with reporters along to send stories back to the chilly north.
1920s The Grapefruit League is born. Former St. Petersburg Mayor Al Lang works to consolidate all of spring training in Florida, attracting the Braves and the Yankees to his city, and helping attract nearly a dozen other major league teams to long-term spring home in other Florida cities.
1934 The Detroit Tigers train for the first time in Lakeland, Florida, where, but for the World War II years, they have trained ever since. It is the longest continuous association between a major league team and its spring training city.
1943-45 Wartime travel restrictions force Major League Baseball to hold spring training within fifty miles of teams' home cities.
1947 The Cleveland Indians and New York Giants move their spring trainings to Tucson and Phoenix Arizona, becoming the first teams to regularly train in Arizona, beginning what will ultimately become the Cactus League.
1948 The Brooklyn Dodgers hold spring training at an abandoned Naval Air Station in Vero Beach, Florida. The complex is soon known as Dodgertown, and the site will remain the team's home for 61 springs.
1952 The Chicago Cubs move their spring training to Mesa, Arizona, ending a 30-year stay on Catalina Island, California.
1965 Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley buys Dodgertown from the City of Vero Beach. He pays $130,000 for the stadium, practice fields, naval air barracks and 110 acres. The Dodgers become the only team to ever own its spring training complex. In 2001, under new ownership, the team will sell the complex back to the city and county, and lease it back for their final eight seasons in Florida.
1977 The Florida legislature passes a law allowing counties to impose a 1 or 2 percent Tourist Development Tax on hotel stays, the money to be used to stimulate and support tourism in the counties. In 1985, Osceola County uses money raised from this "bed tax" to build a new spring training complex for the Houston Astros. Over the next fifteen years, using bed-tax money, Florida will build or completely renovate fifteen different spring training complexes.
1991 Arizona passes a tax on car rentals in Maricopa County (Greater Phoenix), the money to be used for the construction and improvement of spring training facilities. The legislation and the improved facilities it brings stabilizes the Cactus League, which had feared extinction if it did not find a way to compete with the new, publicly built facilities of the Grapefruit League.
2009 Two new, two-team spring training complexes open in Glendale and Goodyear, Arizona, built with more than $150 million in public money. The Dodgers, Indians and Reds leave Florida to train in the new complexes; when the Reds arrive in Goodyear in 2010, the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues will have an equal number of teams for the first time in history.