Just surfing before stepping out for the day when I came across this interesting little nugget in a travel piece about Hana, Hawaii in the San Francisco Chronicle:
At the end of World War II, San Francisco industrialist Paul Fagan built the first-ever Hawaiian hotel outside Waikiki. He could hardly have chosen a more obscure location: It had been only 20 years since Hana, on the island of Maui, was linked to the outside world by a rough dirt road, and it would be almost two decades more before it was paved.
To get publicity for his venture, he enlisted the help of the San Francisco Seals baseball team, which he also owned. He brought the team to Hana for spring training and invited along a boatload of sportswriters who could be counted upon to churn out feature stories about “heavenly Hana” for readers back on the mainland.
“The place beggars description,” wrote Harry Borba in the old San Francisco Examiner in February 1947. “The Seals should pay for the privilege of training in such indescribably beautiful surroundings.”
I know it’s not practical in this day and age, but I’ve always been taken by the idea of teams just sort of disappearing to some warm and isolated locale for spring training. They used to do it all the time, spending a month or two doing deep knee bends or whatever in some far off town in the cotton fields somewhere, and then barnstorm their way back home for opening day. The spring training reports of the time read like dispatches from a far off land. I’m guessing they whetted the appetite of the bugs and cranks something fierce. And when the hometown nine made their first appearance in April, I imagine it truly was a dramatic unveiling.