Monday, October 27, 2014

Hot Springs, Arkansas: Babe Ruth's Home Run

Baseball teams early in the 20th century liked to come to Hot Springs for spring training. What's more, players often stopped there in the spring even if their teams were slated to prepare for the season somewhere else. So, many Hall of Famers passed through there.

On March 17, 1918, Babe Ruth took his turn at the plate at a park on Whittington Ave. (Street number is 870.)  He connected and sent the ball into deep, deep center field. It supposedly landed in a pond and became legendary for its distance.

The park is gone, but home plate is still honored with its placement in a parking lot of a business. Meanwhile, in deep center is an alligator farm. But the pond is still there, and it has been measured as 573 feet away from home plate. That would make it the longest home run in history. The alligator farm put up a sign to mark the occasion. The story of it is here.

Is it a true story? Hard to say, of course. That's a long way to hit a baseball, perhaps longer than is possible in the scientific sense. But it's certainly ought to be true. Ruth was about to be a pioneer in slugging baseballs, and maybe this showed everyone - including Ruth - the way.

Hot Springs has what it called an historic baseball trail. Players and locations are honored. Ruth's historical sign as part of the trail is in front of the alligator farm. We considered taking a look at the sign about the homer run inside the farm, but it was a little expensive and the man at the cash register didn't seem like he was willing to let us go take a look for free.  Can't say I blame him.

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