Seven Spring Training Pioneers Set to Enter New Cactus League Hall of Fame on Feb. 25, 2014
February 19, 2014
Seven key figures in the history and development of spring training baseball in Arizona will be honored as the first class inducted into the new Cactus League Hall of Fame on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, the day before the League launches its 68th season of baseball in the desert.
Cleveland Indians owner Bill Veeck, Jr.; New York and San Francisco Giants owner Horace Stoneham; Mesa residents Dwight Patterson and Ted and Alice Sliger; former Tucson State Senator Hi Corbett and former Arizona Governor Rose Mofford will be inducted during ceremonies planned as part of the annual Cactus League Kick-Off lunch held this year at the Chicago Cubs new training facility in Mesa.
The Cactus League Baseball Association will play host to the ceremonies. The Cactus League Hall of Fame is part of the Arizona Spring Training Experience sponsored by the Mesa History Museum. The 2014 induction ceremony was supported by a grant from HKS Architects in Phoenix.
Bill Veeck, Jr. – Owner of the Cleveland Indians, 1946 - 1949
Mr. Veeck is credited with helping to start the Cactus League when he moved his team to Tucson from Florida in 1947. Roland Hemond, a former colleague and recipient of the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Buck O’Neil Award, will accept the award on behalf of the late Mr. Veeck and his family.
Horace Stoneham – Owner of the New York/ San Francisco Giants, 1936 - 1976
Mr. Stoneham is credited with helping to start the Cactus League when he agreed to move his team to Phoenix from Florida in 1947. Peter David Stoneham and Jaime Rupert will accept the award on behalf of their late grandfather.
Dwight Patterson – Mesa Rancher and Businessman, 1912 - 1999
One of the Cactus League’s biggest civic boosters, he is credited with bringing the Chicago Cubs to Mesa in 1951 and then bringing them back from Scottsdale in 1979. Ann Patterson Cleghorn will accept the award on behalf of her late father.
Ted and Alice Sliger – Owners of Mesa’s Buckhorn Baths, 1935 - 2010
The Sligers’ Buckhorn Baths and Mineral Springs became a favorite pre-spring training retreat for select members of the New York/San Francisco Giants as well as other famous baseball players of the era. Mesa Historian Vic Linoff will accept the award on behalf of the late couple.
Hi Corbett – Tucson’s Arizona State Senator, 1953 - 1964
Mr. Corbett is credited with working to help bring the Cleveland Indians to Southern Arizona, giving rise to the Cactus League. J. Knox Corbett IV will accept the award on behalf of his late great grandfather.
Hon. Rose Mofford – Arizona’s Governor, 1988 - 1991
Gov. Mofford is credited with saving the Cactus League when all seven teams almost pulled up stakes for Florida. Her actions to appoint a task force not only led to the retention of Arizona’s spring training industry, but also set the stage for explosive growth in both Cactus League teams and attendance. Accepting the award on her behalf is former staff member Geoffrey Gonsher.
Members of the new Hall of Fame will be enshrined on the Hall of Fame’s website until a permanent museum and Hall of Fame can be built. Future classes of civic leaders, supporters and players will be determined annually based on fan voting via social media channels. The Cactus League Hall of Fame can be found online at www.AzSpringTrainingExperience.com when the site launches late next week.