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The Majestic Park baseball and softball complex in Hot Springs had just about every amenity a youth, high school or college player would want — diamonds, lights, grandstands and well-appointed dressing rooms, not to mention concessions.
And now it has a bronze statue of Babe Ruth, who swatted homers at the site a century ago when it was a spring training hub. There are just two similar bronzes of the Babe, one at Camden Yards in Baltimore, where Ruth began his career, and another in Japan.
The statue will draw tourists, but Majestic Park had already drawn the interest of many teams, said CEO Derek Phillips, who guided the five-field complex through its first season last spring and summer.
The idea for the complex came from Mike Dugan, the Hot Springs sports historian who died last year at 66 after helping develop the Historic Baseball Trail, which celebrates the town’s baseball history dating to the 19th century.
Phillips had worked for the local Boys & Girls Club when it had a baseball facility at the site, and when Visit Hot Springs and other groups pushed for a grand new stadium complex, he was a logical choice to run it.
“When they closed it for the Boys & Girls Club, they tore it down, so it had to be completely rebuilt,” Phillips said. “So we’ve been building since I started until pretty much right up until we started playing games in late January of 2022.” The grand opening meant that more than 800 local boys and girls once again had a place to swing the bat. The diamonds are named for Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Cy Young and Honus Wagner.
And believe it or not, he said, all games at Majestic Park last year, including the Great American Conference collegiate tournament and the Fastpitch America Softball Association World Series, added up to 2,022 games, a full count for the year 2022.
“We played six days a week from mid-March to mid-July, and I do think it was a successful season,” Phillips said. Business is looking good again this year. “We’re building our reputation as the premier place to play baseball and softball in Arkansas.”