January 12, 2017

They were not only exceptional players; the 2017 inductees into the Cactus League Hall of Fame were also pioneers who helped change the face of sport and society. Willie Mays, Larry Doby, Monte Irvin and Ernie Banks were African Americans who helped break baseball’s color barrier in the 1940s and ‘50s. They became star players who also helped establish the Cactus League.

Near the end of spring training in 1990, MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent came to Arizona Gov. Rose Mofford with an ultimatum, according to former Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jim Bruner. “Major League Baseball loves Arizona, but the Cactus League facilities are not very good,” Bruner said Vincent told Mofford. “If we didn’t do something to clean up the mess, the teams would look at other options.”

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