Baseball Legends Honored in Hot Springs


A dedication of the final two markers in the Hot Springs Historic Baseball Trail has been set for March. Hot Springs has many ties to baseball history, which is documented in town via the trail. As part of the project, historical markers have been placed across the city to highlight the places where American baseball legends trained and played. More than a third of Baseball Hall of Famers, including legendary players such as Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, and Cy Young, spent their spring training in Hot Springs.

The special event will be spread over two days, March 23-24, and on the lineup are visits to town from baseball legends Ferguson Jenkins and Al Hrabosky. According to details provided by Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, three generations of the Babe Ruth family, including his grandson, Tom Stevens, great-grandson, Brent Stevens, and great-great granddaughters will also attend the event.

On Friday, March 23, the final two plaques on the Hot Springs Historic Baseball Trail will be unveiled. One will honor legendary Hall of Fame catcher Bill Dickey, who has connections to Arkansas and played for the New York Yankees with players such as Babe Ruth. The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture has an interesting entry on him if you might want to know more about his career. The other will honor pitcher Robert Moses “Lefty” Grove.

On Friday evening there will be a panel discussion with Baseball Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins and former Major League player Al Hrabosky the “Mad Hungarian” of St. Louis Cardinals fame.

On Saturday, March 24, there will be a ceremony at Whittington Park celebrating the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth’s massive home run at Whittington Park. The park has a special connection to baseball history because in 1918 Babe Ruth hit the first 500-foot-plus home run while playing a spring exhibition game there. The ball traveled 573 feet and landed in an alligator pit at the nearby Arkansas Alligator Farm. At the ceremony, the Ruth Family will be joined by the noted Babe Ruth and baseball historian/author Bill Jenkinson and the Babe Ruth expert and historian Tim Reid.

Later in the day there will be a panel discussion on the life of Babe Ruth called “The Life of the Sultan of Swat”.