Lesson #269: Hot Springs’ Spring Training

My mother is currently deployed in Arkansas and passed this bit of information along.

Her email*: “Did you know Hot Springs, Arkansas, was the premier baseball spring training site from the 1880s-1940s? The Chicago White Stockings, Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Red Sox and others came to soothe their aching muscles at the many bathhouses using Hot Springs National Park water.”

I did not know this, but let’s get down to the important stuff…

In alphabetical order, the teams whose Spring Training was held in Hot Springs:

Boston Red Sox – 1909-10, 1912-18, 1920-23

Brooklyn Superbas/Dodgers/Robins** – 1910-12, 1917-18

Chicago White Stockings/Cubs*** – 1909-10

Cincinnati Reds – 1910-11

Detroit Tigers – 1908

Philadelphia Phillies – 1912

Pittsburgh Pirates – 1901-13, 1920-23

St. Louis Browns**** – 1911

The earliest team to use Hot Springs as a spring training facility was the White Stockings, (NPR reports that in 1885 Cap Anson took his team — and a reporter — to Hot Springs for training, but I can’t find any research to back this up. It’s NPR though, so I tend to believe them…they likely had access to the newspaper archives.) the last were the Red Sox and the Tigers in 1923.  I don’t know where the 1940s number comes from because after 1900, Baseball Almanac (where the teams/dates are pulled from) is very thorough.

*Clearly a trivia piece she pulled from somewhere (probably the NPS site) because she doesn’t actually talk like this.

**They changed their name to the Dodgers after the 1910 season, then were the Robins from 1914-1931 before going back to the Dodgers — which, incidentally is short for Trolley Dodgers.

***The White Stockings changed their name to the Colts after the 1889 season, the Orphans after the 1897 season and then to the Cubs after the 1901 season.

***Now the Baltimore Orioles.

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