Where Baseball's Past Meets Baseball’s Future
The history of Majestic Park, located at Carson and Belding Streets in the center of Hot Springs, is a rich and colorful one.
In 1909 the Boston Red Sox leased the property and it was named Majestic Park after their spring training headquarters downtown in the Majestic Hotel. Ruth attended his first spring training as a Red Sox player at the site in 1914.
From 1908 through 1918 the site hosted spring training games for the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals. Twenty Major League exhibition games were played at the park.
The Ray Doan Baseball School and the George Barr Umpire School were held at Majestic Park. Instructors included Dizzy and Paul Dean, Grover Alexander, Rogers Hornsby, Cy Young, Tris Speaker and Schoolboy Rowe. Legendary female athlete Babe Didrikson attended one of the schools.
Jaycee Park was built on the site in 1947 and served as the home field for the Hot Springs Bathers (Cotton States League) from 1947 to 1955. Jackie Robinson played in an exhibition game there in 1947.
In 1952, a game in the Negro League World Series was played at the site when the Indianapolis Clowns faced the Birmingham Black Barons. The Clowns featured an 18-year-old shortstop named Henry (Hank) Aaron.
Majestic Park is part of Hot Springs’ rich history as The Birthplace of Major League Baseball Spring Training. The Historic Hot Springs Baseball Trail includes a guided tour of locations throughout the city that were the sites of significant events during the late 19th Century and up until the mid-20th Century when Hot Springs was the favored training site for 50 percent of the members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Historical markers at these locations guide visitors through the colorful history of the game as it played out in Hot Springs. A block-long mural at Convention Boulevard and Malvern Avenue in the downtown area illustrates the legends of the game who played in the city.
Our park has another unique factor to being built here in our community. It was the home of the youth program for baseball for many years. In 2017 as it was a part of the local Boys & Girls Club that was forced to close due to lack of funding. When this club was closed the baseball program here was shut down as well. The community then passed a tax to bring back a park for the youth of our community to have a place to play baseball. So with the unique location of the park with all the history and all the things to do here in the National Park, the plan began to build a baseball park to provide a league for the kids to play baseball, and have a park to host many tournaments to bring visitors to Hot Springs. For our local league and as we are located in an area of many underserved children where 100% of the kids are on free lunch, we saw an opportunity to bring back a program to give these children something active to do. Our plan is to have a facility that can bring back a league for 600 – 700 kids as that was the peak of participation in the early 2000’s. Arkansas is a huge state for baseball as hundreds of teams currently play Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth baseball as well as USSSA leagues and tournaments.