“It’s the fans that need spring training. You gotta get ‘em interested. Wake ‘em up and let ‘em know that their season is coming, the good times are gonna roll.” — Baseball philosopher/announcer/Hall-of-Fame reveler Harry Carey.
SURPRISE, Ariz. — It was in the spring of 1951 when Del Webb — the then-New York Yankees co-owner — temporarily moved the team’s spring training operations to Arizona. This gave Webb, who spent his working days developing a real estate empire, a chance to check out his team (which featured Joe DiMaggio in his final season, and Mickey Mantle in his first). One of those real estate developments occurred in Sun City, which sits adjacent to Surprise, another rapidly growing community, which just happens to be the site of one of the Cactus League’s most appealing ballparks.