|Babe Ruth, in this 1920's picture from the Arkansas Gazette, was one of many in the line-up of baseball stars who frequented the Spa City, enjoying golfing, horse races, thermal baths and other pursuits in Hot Springs during the Good Ole Days. (picture courtesy of the Garland County Historical Society.)|
Take Me Out to the Ball Game.
Who says that Florida is the best place for spring training for professional baseball? Near the turn of last century, baseball teams from all over the country came to Hot Springs for spring training. Historians tell us that the Chicago White Stockings (the forerunner of the Chicago Cubs) came to Hot Springs as early as 1886. One of their famous players of that time was Billy Sunday, who later became a famous preacher. The White Stockings practiced on a diamond that is now the Boys' Club, and in 1887 the word got around to other teams that Hot Springs was the place to come for spring training. Cy Young came here in 1892, and Connie Mack came down with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1896. Babe Ruth came to Hot Springs several times from 1915-1920. Baseball was so popular here that a minor league team called the Hot Springs Bathers practiced on a lot on Whittington Avenue in the 1930's.
Of all of the cities in the U.S. - why Hot Springs? Hot Springs has a mild climate, especially during the spring, and it had some options that no other town could mimic. Where else could you get a hot mineral bath to soothe the aching muscles of an athlete? (this was before the invention of the Jacuzzi or Tylenol) Where else could you find entertainment (including casino, gambling) to add pleasure to months of grueling athletic training? Hot Springs!
Hot Springs - a place to have a ball, while playing ball!
Dr. Rando PhD of Wit
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