Cardinals to Play in NLCS While Redbirds Legends Interact With Fans During Hot Springs Second Baseball Weekend Saturday | Hot Springs National Park Arkansas

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Cardinals to Play in NLCS While Redbirds Legends Interact With Fans During Hot Springs Second Baseball Weekend Saturday

Published: 10/10/2019

HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — “The stars are perfectly aligned, in more ways than one,” said Steve Arrison as he got ready for the Second Annual Hot Springs Baseball Weekend set for Friday and Saturday.

“The St. Louis Cardinals will be playing the Washington Nationals Saturday afternoon in the National League Championship Series while Card legends Al Hrabosky, Steve Carlton, Ted Simmons and Dick Hughes are participating in a panel discussion at the Hot Springs Convention Center,” Arrison said. “You couldn’t ask for better timing than that.”

“Of course, we will have big flat-screen TVs set up all over the Convention Center,” he added, “so that fans can enjoy the legends panel while still keeping up with the action on the field at the NLCS.

“What a great opportunity for baseball fans of all ages.”

All Baseball Weekend events are free and open to the public.

Cards legends Carlton, Simmons, Hrabosky and Hughes will be the highlight of two days of baseball history in the town that was The Birthplace of Major League SpringsTraining.

“By now, Hot Springs is recognized worldwide as the place where Spring Training got its start more than a century ago,” Arrison said. “And baseball fans of all types can spend two days in face-to-face interaction with some of the sport’s greatest stars.

“Steve Carlton, Ted Simmons, Al Hrabosky and Dick Hughes will take part in a panel discussion Saturday afternoon at the Convention Center, and fans can come see and listen to them discuss the Cardinals and baseball in general.”

The Simmons-Carlton-Hrabosky-Hughes panel discussion will begin at 4 p.m. Saturday [October 12] in Horner Hall at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

The weekend’s highlights will also include a guided tour of famous sites in Hot Springs that once were the scenes of legends such as Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner when Hot Springs became the Birthplace of Major League Baseball Spring Training early in the 20th Century.

 “Hot Springs’ role as an important landmark in the history of baseball in America has grown over the years with the increasing awareness that this place is where The Boys of Spring came to get ready for the regular season,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs. “Our first Baseball Weekend was widely acclaimed, and this year’s weekend will be even better.”

The weekend will begin at 4:30 p.m. Friday, October 11, when Hrabosky hosts “Afternoon With Al,” in which he will meet with youth baseball players in the Hot Springs Convention Center’s Horner Hall for discussions of the game.

Hrabosky  played from 1970–1982 for the St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves. He currently the color commentator on Cardinals’ regular season broadcasts on FSN Midwest. Hrabosky's nickname is The Mad Hungarian because of his unusual last name and colorful character.

Saturday’s full day of activities will begin at 10 a.m. with the meeting of the Arkansas Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) in Room 103 of the Convention Center.

At 10:30 a.m. local and regional baseball historians will conduct a guided tour of two of Hot Springs’ most famous ballparks from spring training: Whittington Park and Fogel Field. Those who take the tour will meet in front of the Historic Baseball Mural at the intersection of Malvern Avenue and Convention Boulevard for a briefing, then will depart for Whittington Park, located at the upper end of Whittington Avenue. Participants will need to furnish their own transportation to the ballparks.

At 1 p.m. at the Convention Center’s Horner Hall the first panel — “Legends in Hot Springs: Stories of Spring Training” —  will convene to discuss the great stories of Hot Springs training that have never been told.

“You always hear about the great players and teams, but this will give you a glimpse of what they actually did and experienced while in Hot Springs,” Arrison said. This panel will feature baseball historian Tim Reid from Boca Raton, Fla., historian and author Don Duren from Plano, Texas, historian Mark Blaeuer from Hot Springs, and historian Mike Dugan from Hot Springs.

At 2:30 p.m. in Horner Hall, there will be “We Made It,” a second panel of ex-major league players who hailed from the state of Arkansas. Some played for many years, some only for a short time, but they all have memorable stories of their experiences in the majors. Confirmed players are :

• Mike Beard, born in Little Rock and currently living at Hot Springs Village. A left-handed pitcher who appeared in 74 games between 1971 and 1977, most of those for the Atlanta Braves.

• Former Arkansas Tech pitcher Alan McDill, who played from 1997 - 2001 with the Royals, Tigers, and Red Sox.

•Rich Thompson, a Hot Springs resident, who pitched from 2007 - 2012 for the Angels and the Oakland Athletics.

• Henderson State University product Reggie Ritter, who played two seasons, 1986 and 1987, for the Cleveland Indians.

There will be an autograph session after the discussion. The panel will be moderated by Gregg Patterson and Mike Dugan.

At 4 p.m. will be the main event, “Lefty and Simba: Carlton and Simmons — A Look Back,” is scheduled in Horner Hall. It will feature a panel discussion with Carlton, Hughes and Simmons moderated by Hrabosky. That will be followed by an autograph session. For the autograph session, only two items per person will be allowed due to time constraints.

For more information call Steve Arrison at 501-321-2027.

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