13. Hot Springs Baseball Grounds

The Chicago White Stockings team arrived in the Spa City in the middle of March 1886 to prepare to defend their National League Championship. It is this trip which began what is now considered the first spring training in baseball. Eighteen people arrived in their traveling party and they began to practice daily on a makeshift field here on the corner of Ouachita Avenue at the site of what is now the Garland County Courthouse. The White Stockings were led by the great player-manager Cap Anson, who played first base and batted .310 in 1885 with 7 home runs and 114 runs batted in. According to speedy outfielder Billy Sunday in accounts from the day “Anson took us to Hot Springs to boil out. It was considered a startling, expensive innovation.” Chicago went on to win the National League again and other teams soon followed and Hot Springs became the Birthplace of Spring Baseball.