Babe Ruth’s family to attend completion of historic trail
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — The final two markers in the Hot Springs Historic Baseball Trail will be dedicated in March and descendants of one of the major league’s greatest will be in attendance.
“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,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, the trail’s sponsor.
Babe Ruth’s daughter, Julia Ruth Stevens, was invited but will be unable to attend, he said. She will celebrate her 102nd birthday on July 7.
The Sentinel-Record reports that the two-day celebration on March 23 and 24 will honor legendary catcher Bill Dickey, of Little Rock, and pitcher Lefty Grove with plaques at the entrance of Whittington Park along the route that traces the birthplace of spring training in Hot Springs.
“On Friday, March 23, we will unveil the final two plaques on the Hot Springs Historic Baseball Trail honoring the pitchers and catchers who trained and sharpened their skills in the Spa City,” Arrison said.
That same evening will be a panel discussion with Baseball Hall of Famer Fergusen Jenkins and former Major League player Al Hrabosky, the “Mad Hungarian” of St. Louis Cardinals fame, and a current television personality.
“We thought both of these players would be a great addition to the weekend’s festivities because we are celebrating the best pitchers and catchers that trained in Hot Springs,” he said.
Arrison said that even though these are the final two markers for the trail, Visit Hot Springs will continue to celebrate Hot Springs’ baseball history in other ways.
“We could keep putting up plaques, but would literally have a plaque on every corner with how much baseball history is here,” he said. “It’s time to start celebrating in other ways.”
On March 24, a special ceremony at Whittington Park will commemorate the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth’s massive home run at the same location.
“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,” Arrison said.
At the ceremony, the Ruth family will be joined by Babe Ruth and baseball historian/author Bill Jenkinson and the Babe Ruth expert and historian Tim Reid.
“We’ve been very fortunate from the start to have Bill Jenkinson a part of this project,” Arrison said. “He has a great relationship with Babe Ruth’s family, and his connection ultimately is what’s bringing his family to Hot Springs.”
Later that day there will be a panel discussion on the life of Babe Ruth called “The Life of the Sultan of Swat” with the special guests and all of 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 discussion.
“Overall, this will be a great weekend to celebrate spring baseball in Hot Springs,” Arrison said.
Information from: The Sentinel-Record, http://www.hotsr.com