The following is from a Visit Hot Springs news release.
On the 128th anniversary of his birth, the world’s third bronze statue of baseball immortal Babe Ruth will be dedicated next year at the main entrance to Hot Springs’ Majestic Park baseball complex, where Ruth played in the early years of the 20th Century.
“Babe’s birthday — February 6 — is the perfect time for Hot Springs to erect this eight-foot bronze statue showing him watching after smashing another home run ball over the fence,” Visit Hot Springs CEO Steve Arrison said. “It will stand at the entrance to the complex, welcoming fans to Majestic Field — Where Baseball's Past Meets Baseball's Future."
There are only two other bronze statues of Babe Ruth in the world; one in Japan
and one at Camden Yards in Baltimore.
"Hot Springs’ statue will memorialize him, a baseball immortal who loved coming to Hot Springs for spring training in the early days of the city’s fame as The Birthplace of Major League Baseball Spring Training," Arrison said.
“It’s fitting that our statue will attract fans to the city where Babe hit his famous 570-foot home run at Whittington Park that sailed across Whittington Avenue and into a pond at the Arkansas Alligator Pond during a spring training game in 1918. He also played and trained at Majestic Park, as did other Hall of Famers such as Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron and dozens of others."
Ruth was born February 6, 1895, and 2023 also marks the 100th anniversary of the New York Yankees’ first World Series Championship as well as the year Yankee Stadium opened.
“As we say, our great five-field Majestic Park complex, where Hot Springs kids can enjoy playing baseball again and where we have a full schedule of spring and summer tournaments, is Where Baseball's Past Meets Baseball's Future,” Arrison said.
The Babe Ruth sculpture, created by Pennsylvania sculptor Chad Fisher, was funded by Hot Springs residents Dr. Robert Muldoon, M.D., the Hamby Family in honor of the late Daniel B. Hamby Jr., and Lee Beasley.
“These three donors have enabled us to create an artwork that will stand as an object of pride for our city and also as a guiding light for the kids of Hot Springs who will benefit for years to come from the healthy recreational opportunity Majestic Park will provide for them and future generations,” said Minnie Lenox, a member of the board of directors of The Friends of Majestic Park, the private nonprofit organization that led the drive to fund* the Babe Ruth statue as well as provide support for the complex.
“I am very excited about the new Majestic Park baseball complex,” Beasley said. “This is something that will benefit the kids in our area while bringing hundreds of families to our beautiful city that I am so proud of.
“I can remember spending many hours playing baseball on that very site. I am
happy that I can be a small part of something that will bring so much joy to kids
and families for many years to come.”
The idea for forming The Friends of Majestic Park was that of Mike Dugan, the late Hot Springs resident who was one of the country’s leading baseball historians and the person who led the effort to establish Hot Springs as The Birthplace of Major League Baseball Springs Training. Dugan passed away in early 2021.
“Mike would be thrilled beyond belief to see the installation of the Babe Ruth statue at Majestic Park, which was his fondest dream as a place for Hot Springs kids to enjoy the game that was his great passion in life,” said Susan Dugan, his wife and a member of The Friends of Majestic Park.
Noted Babe Ruth historian Bill Jenkinson, who also was instrumental in researching Hot Springs’ role in baseball history, has been consulting with sculptor Fisher on the statue project to ensure that every detail is accurate.
The sculpture will depict Ruth in his New York Yankees uniform just after he has swung the bat, watching as another home run sails toward the outfield fence. Arrison said the statue is certain to become a tourism attraction in its own right.
“Baseball fans from everywhere will come to see this monument to the most famous man who ever played the game,” Arrison said. “It will outlast all of us and stand tall in front of Majestic Park for future generations to remind them of the history of the site and our community.”
*No public funds were used to fund the statue.