Hot Springs Baseball Weekend, a two-day event scheduled for March 23-24, will feature descendants of baseball legend Babe Ruth, in addition to former Major League Baseball players Ferguson Jenkins and Al Hrabosky, according to a press release from Visit Hot Springs.
The Babe Ruth family will be present on March 23 for the dedication of two final markers for the Hot Springs Historic Baseball Trail, which traces the birthplace of baseball spring training in the city.
“We will be joined at this celebration by three generations of the Babe Ruth family, including his grandson, Tom Stevens, great-grandson, Brent Stevens, and the Babe’s great-great granddaughters,” Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, said in the release. “Babe Ruth’s daughter, Julia Ruth Stevens, was invited but will be unable to attend. She will celebrate her 102nd birthday July 17.”
MLB teams began using Hot Springs for spring training in the late 19th century because its warmer client meant the teams could practice outdoors. The practice continued into the early 1940s, according to Encyclopedia of Arkansas.
One plaque on the trail honors catcher and National Baseball Hall of Fame member Bill Dickey of Little Rock, who played for the Yankees from 1928 to 1946. The other will honor pitcher Lefty Grove, who played for Philadelphia and later the Boston Red Sox from 1925 to 1941.
Also on March 23, there will be a panel discussion that evening with Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Jenkins and former St. Louis Cardinals player Hrabosky, known as the “Mad Hungarian” and now a television personality for Fox Sports Midwest.
On March 24, there will be a ceremony at Whittington Park celebrating the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth’s massive home run at Whittington Park, Arrison said. “It was a home run that was even longer than his St. Patrick’s Day shot that was the first home run over 500 feet.”
At the ceremony, the Ruth family will be joined by noted Babe Ruth and baseball historians Bill Jenkinson and Tim Reid, according to the press release.
Later that day there will be a panel discussion on the life of Babe Ruth called “The Life of the Sultan of Swat” with a number of guests, including the baseball historians involved with the research and development of the Hot Springs Historic Baseball Trail: Jenkinson, Reid, Mike Dugan, Mark Blaeuer and Don Duren. Journalist Rex Nelson will be the moderator for the panel discussion.