Photo originally published in March 1968.
Even though the calendar and the weather still say winter, it's already spring for baseball fans: The Minnesota Twins' spring training season is now underway.
It's the team's 29th year in Fort Myers, Fla. But the ties between the Twins and Florida go back much further than that.
The team started training in the Sunshine State in 1936, when they were the Washington Senators. They played at Tinker Field in Orlando through 1990 before moving to its current home at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers. (The team trained in Maryland during World War II, when rail travel was limited.)
Spring training started for obvious reasons: to help get players in shape for the upcoming season. It was a big deal for Florida, which drew big-name sports stars in an era when they had none of their own.
Spring training is big business now, with 15 teams training in Florida as part of the Grapefruit League (the other 15 are in Arizona's Cactus League) and quaint baseball fields have been replaced by major sports complexes. Last year, nearly 111,000 fans attended a Twins spring training game, putting the team in the top three in the Grapefruit League for attendance.
If you've had enough of winter — and who hasn't? — there's still time to catch a game in Florida. Spring training ends March 26, and the Twins open up the regular season two days later at Target Field.