Friday, August 17, 2012

San Francisco Giants' Francisco Grande Motor Inn - Casa Grande, Arizona

In honor of the San Francisco Giants' first World Series win since 1954 I am posting a few postcards and a matchbook from their former Spring Training home. Here's a little history from the Francisco Grande website:

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.

There are several unique architectural facts concerning our Resort. Our famous swimming pool is in the shape of a baseball bat, and the hot tub is shaped like a baseball. The parking area in front of the hotel where Willie Mays parked his pink Cadillac with "Say Hey" plates was originally designed like a baseball diamond and the flower beds were constructed to resemble bats and balls. The overhang on the north side of the tower was built to resemble the brim of a baseball cap. The stairwells on the south side of the building were built to resemble those in a stadium at the time of construction. From the Sunset Terrace, you will notice the coach's observation tower; a round two story structure which was used by coaches and members of the press to view the action of players during practice. With your imagination, you can see the four baseball diamonds with some of the sport's best known players (then and now) as they practiced in their "Field of Dreams".

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.

                                   Francisco Grande Motor Inn Matchbook, originally uploaded by Drive-In Mike.

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