Former Cactus League Stadiums: Sun City Stadium
Sun City Stadium, Photo courtesy of Sun City Historical Society
Our next of several features on former Cactus League spring training facilities, some of which still exist and some do not.
Sun City Stadium, Sun City, AZ opened in 1971 in one of many Del Webb retirement communities. It first hosted the Sun City Saints, a nationally known girls’ softball team. In 1972, the San Francisco Giants played a few weekday games there. They averaged almost 50 percent better attendance in the brand-new stadium than in their own Phoenix Municipal Stadium over a similar span that year.
Sun City Stadium served the Brewers well for several years but eventually became outdated, as its size was relatively small (3,000+). It had a small clubhouse for the players, shared with the visiting team on game day. Practice facilities were available, but they were not located next to the stadium–something required in newer facilities being built in Arizona.
Limited automobile parking was available. Unique for spring training, many Sun City residents came to the game via their golf carts and parked behind the top row of the bleachers with their view down towards the field.
Sun City Stadium Golf Carts, Photo courtesy of Sun City Historical Society
The stadium was located at the bottom of a large amphitheater with batters hitting south toward the wall/railroad tracks (Grand Avenue/Highway 60). It had bleachers and a tall chain link fence ran behind home plate and the seating. The backstop was brick and stood about 4 ft high. A fence was also placed in front of both dugouts to prevent fouls from knocking out the players. A small press box stood at the top of the concourse up behind home plate.
Sun City Stadium Aerial, Photo courtesy of Sun City Historical Society
After the Brewers left, Sun City made attempts to continue using it for softball, senior professional baseball, and amateur baseball, with minimal success. After being sold, a property developer razed the stadium in the early 1990’s.
Today, The Place at Fountains at Sun City, a 55+ apartment complex, sits on what once was the stadium property. One can almost feel and envision the game being played in its plush green, sunken courtyard. The fountain in the middle of the courtyard could easily have been the pitcher’s mound and the walkway surrounding the yard, the baselines. Residents still get to watch a train rumble across the tracks as it did when the Brewers played baseball there.
Concourse from where Sun City residents watched the game in their golf carts (first base side)
Freight train passing beyond what would have been third base side
View from where right-center field was located.
Special thanks to Ben Roloff and the Del Webb Sun Cities Museum and to Russ at The Place at Fountains at Sun City.