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  • Writer's pictureMeg Minard

Former Cactus League Stadiums: Kino Sports Complex

Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey

Our next of several features on former Cactus League spring training facilities, some of which still exist and some do not.

Kino Sports Complex, Tucson, AZ

TEP Park (now known as Kino Sports Complex), the former spring training home for the Chicago White Sox and the Arizona Diamondbacks, opened in Tucson, AZ in 1998. Both teams played their spring games there for over a decade. The complex name changed to Kino after the agreement with Tucson Electric Power ended in early 2011.

In addition, minor league baseball graced the diamond at the sports complex. The AAA Tucson Sidewinders called TEP Park their home from 1998 – 2008 prior to moving to Reno. And, when the beloved Portland Beavers were sold, they became the Tucson Padres and relocated to Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium for three years before moving to El Paso for the 2014 season.

Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium – Tucson Padres Game Aug 2012, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey

Designed as a comprehensive sports complex, the park has three main areas: North, Main, and South. The spring training diamond – Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium – is in the Main Complex. The North and South Complexes expanded after the spring training moved northeast to the Phoenix area in the late 2000’s/early 2010’s. That development and expansion continues today.

When built in 1998, TEP Park was the best of the new spring training ballparks. It provided plenty of training fields for the Diamondbacks and the White Sox and had modern facilities for the two clubs. A majestic view of the Santa Catalina Mountains is featured beyond the outfield seating berm.

The field and seating bowl are below street level; a concourse allows fans to circle the entire ballpark without losing sight of the field. A press box, luxury boxes and eight sections of club seats furbish the upper deck. Plus, the complex has multiple practice diamonds, batting cages and practice pitching mounds. Fans capture a nice view of the complex when walking the pedestrian bridge over Ajo Way. Plenty of parking is available without having to cross a bridge.

Kino – Seating – Aug 2012, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey

Today, Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium hosts a dozen or more youth and amateur baseball tournaments. The electric, entertaining, and popular Mexican Baseball Fiesta is held here each fall. Plus, the facility also hosts a number of community events such as:

  • Autism Walk

  • High school graduations

  • Centurions of Southern Arizona annual fundraiser

  • KFMA Day Rock Concert

  • Corporate and Company events

  • TMC Girls on the Run 5K

The ballpark itself hasn’t changed that much since 1998 (the green seats are a little sun faded and the nets spread more down the baselines), though the complex has greatly expanded. The sports complex hosted the Tucson Saguaros baseball team the 2023 summer season.

First, in 2013, the North Complex, used for soccer, made its debut. The FC Tucson of USL-1 host their matches here and MLS holds their spring training at the complex in the spring.

Kino North Complex, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey

Next, beginning 2020, Phase One of the South Complex opened with rugby, football, and lacrosse fields and lighted pickle ball courts.

All-in-all Tucson does a fabulous job continuing to use the ballpark and enhance the sports complex for the city, various sports and community organizations and the residents of Tucson, Pima County, and Southern Arizona.

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