The Florida State League was originally established as a Class D League in 1919 with teams in Tampa, Orlando, Sanford, Lakeland, Bradenton and Bartow. There had been earlier attempts, but this is the date generally most given for the league’s formation.
Cities often grow because they have a fine harbor, an excellent climate, and a railroad junction. For these reasons the City of Tampa grew, and became the largest Gulf port in the state of Florida. But West Tampa, just across the Hillsborough River from Tampa, grew, not of the geographical or climatic possibilities, but because one “Tampan” (Hugh C. Macfarlane) saw an opportunity, and grasped it.