Play Ball!

Baseball’s Legends of the Spring: Vintage Photos From Spring Training

Ted Williams sunbathes, the Babe gets a big one, Mr. October in winter, and two Yanks before their historic race to 60. A look at the best of the Boys of Summer in the sunshine leagues.

Mark Kauffman

Mark Kauffman

Take Me Out—Please!

Is there a more glorious set of words than pitchers and catcher report? For more than a century, the Boys of Summer have flocked to sunny spots to get ready for the coming season. Here, a look at some of the game's greatest players—from Babe Ruth and Ted Williams to Roger Maris and Hank Aaron—tuning up in spring training in the weeks before Opening Day.

At left, a St. Louis Cardinals player's spiked foot coming out of sliding pit during spring training drill at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 5, 1955.

George Tiedemann

Mr. October in Winter

Outfielder Reggie Jackson keeping the fans happy during New York Yankees Spring training in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Feb. 27, 1978.


The One and Only Pete Rose

Pete Rose of the Philadelphia Phillies runs hard for home plate with hair flying as he scores the Phils' first run in an 11-1 win over the New York Mets at Al Lang Field on March 25, 1979.

Diamond Images


March 1960: Members of the St. Louis Cardinals stretch  at Al Lang Field.

Kidwiler Collection

On Again

Owner George Steinbrenner and Manager Billy Martin of the New York Yankees watch the team during workouts in March 1977 in Ft. Lauderdale.

Sports Studio Photos

Bronx Bombers

In this undated photo, New York Yankees Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio drill during spring training.

Mark Kauffman/Sports Illustrated/Getty

Sun Birds

A view of St. Louis Cardinals players during a spring-training game against the New York Yankess at Crescent Lake Field, in St. Petersburg, on March 10, 1955.

The Sporting News

Hall of Famer

Sparky Anderson, manager of the Detroit Tigers, watches the activity on the field during spring-training drills circa 1988 in Lakeland, Fla.

Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics/Getty

The Commissioner

Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis, commissioner of baseball, watches a spring-training game in St. Petersburg, Fla., between the New York Yankees and the Boston Bees, on March 15, 1937.

Ray Stubblebine/AP

Let's Go

Members of the New York Mets spent a few minutes of the opening day of their spring training camp pushing against a fence at Payson Field, Feb. 24, 1979, in St. Petersburg.


Ghosts of the Game

March 4, 1937: These five big leaguers were pictured at the Deaville Cabana Club at Miami Beach, where they were preparing for the training season to open. From left to right, Goose Goslin, star slugger for the Detroit Tigers; Dizzy Dean; Lyn Lary, Cleveland Indians shortstop; Jimmy Foxx, Boston Red Sox; and Hank Greenberg, hard-hitting first baseman for the Detroit Tigers.


Ready for Action

In Phoenix, New York Giants third baseman Hank Thompson loses his baseball cap in a midair leap, March 8, 1950.

Louis Van Oeyen/Western Reserve Historical Society/Getty

Those Cubbies

In Macon, Georgia, March 1906: Napoleon Lajoie holds two lion cubs during a break from spring training. The Cleveland Naps had selected Atlanta for their spring-training headquarters.


Before the Season of 60

The spring before these two had a historic home-run race that electrified America, Mickey Mantle, left, and Roger Maris of the New York Yankees did a little bench warming as they visited the spring-training camp in St. Petersburg. Feb. 25, 1961.


Sultan of Swat

Babe Ruth, mixing business with pleasure, on Feb. 12, 1926, off the coast of St. Petersburg.

Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics/Getty

Bound for Cooperstown

Edd Rousch, outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds, checks the temperature near the dugout during a spring-training game in Mineral Wells, Texas, in March of 1922.

Bill Chaplis/AP

Teddy Ballgame

Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox, sunning himself in centerfield before reporting to his first day of spring training at Sarasota, Fla. on March 6, 1949.

The Sporting News, via Getty

Dodger Blue

Manager Tommy Lasorda of the Los Angeles Dodgers addresses his players during a spring training meeting in Vero Beach, Fla., circa 1985. Non-roster pitcher Tom Brennan is seated next to Lasosrda.


The Pioneer

Jackie Robinson, first baseman of the Brooklyn Dodgers, returns an autograph book to a fan in the stands, during the Dodgers' spring training in Ciudad Trujillo, now Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic, on March 6, 1948.


The Last Hero

Atlanta Braves outfielder Hank Aaron swings a bat at home plate during spring training in March 1974.

Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty

Over Here

A fan waits in the stands for the Los Angeles Dodgers to take batting practice in spring training in March 1989 in Vero Beach, Fla.

Focus On Sport/Getty

On Deck

First baseman Willie McCovey of the San Francisco Giants stands at the batting cage waiting his turn to hit, circa mid-1970s, in spring training in Phoenix.