HOT SPRINGS, Ar. — Babe Ruth moved Monday into Majestic Park. An 8-foot statue of the most famous person to play baseball now greets players, coaches and fans entering Hot Springs’ spectacular complex.
On the 128th anniversary of Ruth’s birth, the world’s third bronze statue was unveiled and dedicated where Ruth and other Hall of Famers played and trained in the early years of the 20th century. The magnificent statue was created by Pennsylvania sculptor Chad Fisher. It cost three local families (Dr. Robert T. Muldoon, The Hamby family in honor of the late Daniel B. Hamby Jr. and F. Lee Beasley) a total of $100,000.
Baseball historian Tim Reid of Boca Raton, Fla., was on hand Monday. He told tales of Ruth’s trips to Hot Springs. An estimated crowd of 400 greeted Reid, whose first response was: “What a glorious day for baseball history.
“It is such an honor and joy to be in Hot Springs where Babe Ruth was 100 years ago this month,” said Reid. “It was the year he led the Yankees to their first World Series, which was also the inaugural year of Yankee Stadium, ‘The House That Ruth Built.”
Historian tells tales about Babe Ruth
Reid went on to note that Ruth was the most famous man in America in 1923. Newspapers were reporting what he had for breakfast, how he dressed and took the baths. Ruth was referred to as “Hercules in Pinstripes; The Colossus of Clout; America’s Super Hero.”
Fisher wasn’t in attendance Monday, but told Visit Hot Springs and Friend of Majestic Park representatives of his experience in creating the statue.
“We at Fisher Sculpture believe in creating monuments to preserve the memory of the most exceptional individuals,” said Fisher. “The legendary stories of Babe Ruth are many and vast. We are personally attracted to his beautiful documented acts of kindness regarding his authentic caring for the well being of children, especially orphans. George Herman Ruth Jr. is a symbol of hope, growth and the will to dream.”
Ruth’s grandson takes part in ceremony
Present for the festivities was Tom Stevens, who journeyed from New Hampshire to celebrate his grandfather’s statue and longtime status in Hot Springs.
The 71-year-old Stevens was born three years after Ruth’s death.
“I heard all the stories about Babe from my mother (Julia) and grandmother (Julia),” said Stevens. “Babe had another wife named Dorothy, who I knew. I met a lot of people who crossed paths with Babe.”
Stevens was in the city Sunday, and watched two games played on the Babe Ruth Field at Majestic Park.
One of baseball’s great pitchers, Ruth got his chance to play every day in 1918 during a spring training game at Whittington Park. He hit a monstrous 573-foot home run into a pond at the Arkansas Alligator Farm across Whittington Avenue.
The Ruth family was in Hot Springs on March 17, 2018, to help mark the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth’s legendary home run.
Thanks to the three donors no public funds were necessary to make the statue, which Fisher claims will last 1,000 years.
(Writers for Visit Hot Springs contributed to this article)