The Francisco Grande dates back to 1959 when San Francisco Giants owner Horace Stoneham developed the property as a spring training camp for his popular Major League Baseball team. Then Arizona Governor Paul Fannin attended the dedication before the first exhibition game in 1961, as did National League president Warren Giles, to an overflowing crowd. Optimism swirled like desert dust devils when Willie Mays hit a 375-foot home run off Gaylord Perry in the forth inning of the first ever game at Francisco Grande. "Francisco" was taken from the San "Francisco" Giants and "Grande" was taken from Casa "Grande"; thus the name "Francisco Grande." While Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal were honing their Hall of Fame skills, the Resort became an exclusive and intimate desert hideaway for Hollywood elites. Legends such as John Wayne, Dale Robertson, Pat Boone, and Gale Gordon made the Francisco Grande their home away from home.
After the Giants were enticed to move to Scottsdale, the California Angels used the facility from 1982 until 1984. The next two years saw the transformation of the baseball fields into football fields, which were used as the training camp headquarters for the USFL's Arizona Wranglers and the Denver Gold.