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Cactus League 1980's - 2000

1980 – The Cactus League has managed to grow itself into an eight team league (Major League expansions since 1960 accounts for half of those teams).  A labor dispute in spring 1980 disrupts training for the fifth time since 1969. 

 

Spring training baseball remains relatively stable in the 1980s, as some teams move to new towns.  As the decade draws to a close, concern that the Cactus League may come apart leads to a new governor’s special commission. 

 

The early 1990s see the loss of one of the original teams as the Cleveland Indians leave for Florida – they are replaced at Hi Corbett Field by the National League expansion Colorado Rockies.  Other teams move around to new ballparks in the 1990s as the Cactus League adapts and modernizes to stay competitive with its larger Grapefruit League rival in Florida. 

 

Perhaps the biggest boost happens when Arizona lands its own expansion team in the late 1990s – the new Arizona Diamondbacks move into a new Tucson ballpark with the Chicago White Sox (who finally move to Arizona to train 84 years after reporters asked Manager J. J. Callahan about that possibility during a barnstorming stop in Mesa).