Nestled away about an hour south of Phoenix sits Casa Grande. Commonly thought of as the halfway point between Tucson and Phoenix, Casa Grande is a small city of just over 50,000 residents. While no professional baseball team currently resides in Casa Grande, during the spring or otherwise, the city of Casa Grande does lay claim to its own piece of baseball history. Tucked away in the western part of Casa Grande resides the Francisco Grande, a luxury golf resort with deep roots in Arizona’s Spring Training tradition. That was our golf destination today.
Constructed in 1959 by then San Francisco Giants owner Horace Stoneham, the Francisco Grande was the pinnacle of modern baseball experiences. Named after both the city of San Francisco and Casa Grande, the resort played host to the San Francisco Giants and was designed to offer both guests and players with a high-class experience. Everything about the amenities screamed baseball, from the baseball bat shaped swimming pool, to the baseball diamond shaped flowerbeds, to the overhang on the hotel tower designed to look like the brim of a baseball cap. Coaching platforms oversaw the practice fields and gave the coaches a bird’s eye view of practices. The amenities at the practice facilities were so unique that some called the fields more like a “baseball factory” than actual fields.