Sam Crawford was nicknamed Wahoo Sam because he was born in Wahoo, Nebraska. He played for the Detroit Tigers from 1903 through 1917 and was one of the top players from The Dead Ball Era of baseball. There was one twist to this great game that Crawford played in the Spa City…it almost didn’t happen!
Due to the Sunday Laws, for-profit games were banned in Arkansas on Sundays. The Sunday of March 5, 1911 (?) the prosecuting attorney sent a constable to the ball field at Whittington Park with orders to arrest management and players, and to prevent any games from being played as scheduled. Doc Owens, the manager of Whittington Park, volunteered himself for immediate arrest and was taken to the local Justice of the Peace where he was fine $18.50 for promoting the Sunday game. Only Owens was arrested and the game continued.
The incident infuriated the members of the Local Businessman’s League who threatened to take the matter to the Arkansas Capitol. Baseball brought many visitors to the Spa City, both spectators and players alike. The Washington Post reported that during this March in 1911, 250 major league ballplayers were in Hot Springs for Spring Training.
Sam “Wahoo” Crawford was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1957 after nineteen years in the majors. He ended his career with a lifetime batting average of .309 with 2,964 hits. He is the only player to have led the National and American Leagues in home runs.