Former Cactus League Stadiums: Geronimo Park
Our first of several features on former Cactus League spring training facilities, some of which still exist and some do not.
Geronimo Park, Apache Junction, AZ was the first spring training home of the expansion league Houston Colt .45s. It opened in the fall of 1961 with a construction cost of $150K. The first game was played on December 5, 1961; the Colts dropped a 5-3 decision to San Francisco in winter league play. The first spring training game at Geronimo Park was held on March 12, 1962.
Geronimo Park Dugout and Bleachers, Photo Courtesy of astroland.net
The team only played their spring ball at Geronimo Park for two seasons, then moved to Cocoa Beach, FL where the Colts/Astros trained at Cocoa Expo Sports Center until 1984. Along with the move to the east coast, the team name was changed to the Houston Astros.
Geronimo Park lay dormant for seven years, withering, becoming victim of the elements with no maintenance performed and harmful vandals causing damage to the club house and other areas of the park.
Geronimo Park – Vandalized Clubhouse, 1965, Photo Courtesy of astroland.net
The park was sold to the Mesa School District in 1969 and was dismantled.
The Loyal Order of the Moose sits on the former site in a suburban neighborhood and I imagine very few residents in Apache Junction even remember or recognize that major league baseball was once played there.
Geronimo Park – Current Site – Loyal Order of the Moose, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey. Depending on how and in which direction the bleachers faced, fans had a beautiful view of the Superstition Mountains.