Phillies have Veeck to thank for spring home

Thanks to Bill Veeck, Clearwater, Fla., became the Phillies' Spring Training home in 1947.

Veeck had bought the Cleveland Indians in June 1946 and decided to move their camp from Clearwater to near his ranch in Tucson, Ariz.

When asked by Clearwater city officials to reconsider, Veeck reportedly asked for time to think about it. In the meantime, officials received responses from two big league clubs, the Phillies and St. Louis Browns, and two Minor League teams, Newark and Kansas City.

After the Browns decided to head for Miami, the Phils accepted an invitation to move from Miami Beach to Florida's west coast.

A couple of days after camp opened, Veeck reportedly headed to Clearwater to negotiate sharing Athletic Field with the Phillies, as his Indians were hampered with daily dust storms in Arizona.

But on March 7, the Phils agreed to exclusive use of the park for nine more seasons, ending Cleveland's hope of returning.

Available records indicate that the Phillies' Spring Training home in 1901 truly was home -- Philadelphia. Nineteen other cities hosted the team's spring camp before it settled in Clearwater. No other National League team has trained in the same city as long.

1901: Philadelphia
1902: Washington, D.C.
1903: Richmond, Va.
1904: Savannah, Ga.
1905: Augusta, Ga.
1906-08: Savannah
1909-10: Southern Pines, N.C.
1911: Birmingham, Ala.
1912: Hot Springs, Ark.
1913: Southern Pines
1914: Wilmington, N.C.
1915-18: St. Petersburg
1919: Charlotte, N.C.
1920: Birmingham
1921: Gainesville, Fla.
1922-24: Leesburg, Fla.
1925-27: Bradenton, Fla.
1928-37: Winter Haven, Fla.
1938: Biloxi, Miss.
1939: New Braunfels, Texas
1940-42: Miami Beach, Fla.
1943: Hershey, Pa.
1944-45: Wilmington, Del.
1946: Miami Beach
1947-present: Clearwater

Clearwater ballparks

Athletic Field (1947-54)
First game: March 11, 1947 -- Detroit Tigers 13, Phillies 1

Jack Russell Memorial Stadium (1955-2003)
First game: March 10, 1955 -- Phillies 4, Tigers 2

Bright House Field (2004-present)
First game: May 4, 2004 -- Phillies 5, New York Yankees 1

Larry Shenk is the vice president of alumni relations for the Phillies. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.