Imagine that it's 1918, and you're walking along this sidewalk about to enter the Arkansas Alligator Farm when you hear the roar of a crowd and suddenly a baseball flies over your head. That ball was hit from Whittington Park across the street, traveling over 500 feet, by a 23 year old pitcher for the Boston Red Sox named George Herman Ruth.
In 2011 using old photos, existing landmarks and modern technology, Ruth's mammoth blast was officially measured for the first time at an astonishing 573 feet, making it the first documented home run to travel more than 500 feet.
The alligator farm, which opened in 1902, and alligator pond still sit exactly where they did when The Sultan of Swat hit that monstrous dinger on St. Patrick's Day 1918.
According to noted baseball historian Bill Jenkinson, this day changed baseball forever because it was the first time The Babe played any position other than pitcher against a Major League team. Soon the Red Sox had Ruth playing other positions to get his bat into the lineup every day...and he established himself as one of the great ballplayers the game of baseball has ever known.
Without those events on St. Patrick’s Day in Hot Springs in 1918, Babe Ruth might be remembered merely as a Hall of Fame pitcher instead of a cultural institution.