8. Whittington Park

Whittington Park is the epicenter of baseball history in Hot Springs. More baseball was played on this field than anywhere else in the Spa City. The ballpark was built in 1894 for use by major league teams that were coming to Hot Springs for pre-season training. The Brooklyn Dodgers, the Pittsburg Pirates, the New York Giants, and the Philadelphia Athletics are several of the teams that conducted workouts at Whittington Park.

The original field was very large, measuring almost 600 feet to centerfield. It was built at the entrance to the Whittington Park Amusement Park with home plate facing what is now Weyerhaeuser Headquarters to the northeast. In 1910 a new grandstand was constructed, and home plate was moved to face The Alligator Farm which is across Whittington Avenue to the southeast. It is estimated that this change led to outfield dimensions of 400 feet to centerfield, 340 feet to the left field corner and the right field fence a paltry 260 feet away.

Right next to the ballpark sat a basketball court built at the request of Pirates manager Fred Clarke. This request probably had a lot to due with his star player Honus Wagner’s love of the game of basketball.

In 1935 the name of the park was changed to Ban Johnson Park in honor of Bancroft Johnson, founder of the American League and also a big booster of Hot Springs and all it had to offer. For Johnson first came to the Spa City to take the baths for his health.

Whittington Park hasn't seen professional baseball since 1942. All that remains are some of the bleachers that were carved into the side of the mountain to the north of the field.

Today the land is owned by Weyerhaeuser Corporation who has embraced the baseball heritage of this place in history.