The Tampa Baseball Club of 1884-1885, winners of the South Florida Baseball Championship. Standing, center: Oliver Andreu, Secretary-treasurer. Top row, L-R: W.A. Legate, Charlie Livingston, John A. Jackson, J.A.M. Grable, E.L. Lesley. Bottom row, L-R, Ed Drake, J.C. McKay, B.A. Brown, Al Knight. The team members not present when the photo was taken were A.W. Cuscaden and George A. Bell.–Excerpted from the Tampa Daily Times, November 12, 1924.
Before spring training became the Florida mainstay it is today, baseball began taking root in the Tampa Bay area late in the 19th century. A.M. de Quesada's book, Baseball in Tampa Bay, notes how Union and Confederate soldiers brought the game to the Sunshine State when they returned home from the Civil War. Tampa had a team in the first short-lived Florida State League in 1892.