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Each year in late July, a small town in upstate New York celebrates an event called Hall of Fame Weekend. The annual ceremony inducting the new members of baseball’s most prestigious hall of honor brings thousands of fans to Cooperstown, New York, not only to see the induction but for another chance to see and hear previous Hall of Fame honorees.
On Aug. 25 and 26, Hot Springs, Arkansas, will host its sixth annual Hot Spring Baseball Weekend. Although Arkansas is thousands of miles from Cooperstown and hundreds of miles from a big-league ballpark, Hot Springs will bring four Hall of Famers enshrined in Cooperstown to the Spa City for an event that has become Arkansas’ version of Hall of Fame Weekend. Hot Springs has become a year-round baseball destination, and the annual celebration weekend is the city’s signature baseball event.
There is a noticeable buzz around professional baseball this season. Attendance is up, and a host of young players have brought excitement to the game. The rules have been adjusted to create a faster game, and the response of even the most skeptical traditionalist has been favorable. This year’s event promises to be one of the most popular in the six years history of Hot Springs Baseball Weekend. Amazingly, all the events are free!
Hall of Famers: Wade Boggs, Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage and Steve Carlton, Guests at the Sixth Annual Hot Springs Baseball Weekend
Four members of the Baseball Hall of Fame highlight the Sixth Annual Hot Springs Baseball Weekend, on Aug. 25 and 26. Returning favorites Steve Carlton and Rich “Goose Gossage will be joined by Wade Boggs and Rollie Fingers who are guests at the popular event for the first time.
“What a great lineup of true baseball legends we have for fans this year,” said event chairman, Steve Arrison, of Visit Hot Springs. “With all the changes that were introduced in this game this year, I’m sure there will be plenty of interesting questions for fans to exchange with our guest celebrities.”
Local favorites Steve Carlton and Goose Gossage return to Hot Springs Baseball Weekend
Steve “Lefty” Carlton returns to Hot Springs Baseball Weekend in 2023. Originally a St. Louis Cardinal, Carlton was a three-time All-Star in St. Louis before spending most of his career as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. In 15 seasons with the Phillies, Carlton led the league in wins four times, winning 20 or more games five times. The 10-time All-Star would go on to win a total of four Cy Young Awards and a Gold Glove Award in 1981. On Sept. 24, 1983, he became just the 16th pitcher to win 300 games. Carlton was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1994.
Also back by popular demand, is Rich “Goose” Gossage, who has quickly become a local favorite. Gossage, a nine-time All-Star, retired after the 1994 season. The hard-throwing righthander, with an intimidating stare, finished a 22-year big-league career with nine different big-league clubs. His lifetime statistics include a 124-107 record and a 3.01 ERA in 1,002 games. Goose has 310 career saves. He logged 1,809.1 innings pitched and struck out 1,502 batters. Gossage was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008.
Perennial .300 hitter Wade Boggs and Hall of Fame relief pitcher Rollie Fingers, make their first appearance at Hot Springs Baseball Weekend
Wade Boggs, a 12-time All-Star third baseman, ended his 18-year (1982-99) major league career with 3,010 hits, a .328 batting average, and a .415 on-base percentage. Boggs reached base safely in 85 percent of his 2,432 career games. He spent most of his career with the Boston Red Sox, before finishing with the Yankees and Rays. In his last season with Tampa Bay, he became the 23rd member of the 3,000-hit club. Boggs was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2005.
Known for his signature handlebar mustache, Fingers was one of the most outstanding relief pitchers of the 1970s and 1980s. Fingers finished his career with 114 wins, 341 saves (a record at the time), 1,299 strikeouts, and a 2.90 ERA. The durable right-hander worked 1,701.1 innings in 944 major league games. In 1981, pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers, Fingers won the American League MVP Award and the Cy Young award. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2005.
Something for early arrivals: Friday: Showing of Documentary “Fastball” Saturday: Meeting of Arkansas Chapter of SABR (Guests Welcome) Sports Card Show in Plaza Lobby
Friday, August 25
7 p.m. – Free Screening of the documentary movie “Fastball”
Saturday, August 26
8:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. — Society for American Baseball Research Meeting (Non-members welcome) – Convention Center Room 102
10 a.m. – 3 p.m. — Baseball Card Show Open – Plaza Lobby
10 a.m. – 11 a.m. — Talking Baseball with Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers. Hot Springs Convention Center – Horner Hall
11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. — The Goose Is Loose – Hall of Famer Goose Gossage on the State of the Game
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. — Rex Nelson Talks Pitching with Hall of Famer Steve Carlton
3 p.m. – 4 p.m. — Wade Boggs: Stories from the Batter’s Box
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. — Ask the Pros featuring Goose Gossage, Wade Boggs, Steve Carlton, and Rollie Fingers
*Al Hrabosky had an unexpected situation arise and will not be at the 6th Annual Hot Springs Baseball Weekend*
Take the Hot Springs Baseball Trail
Visit Majestic Park
19-Hour Getaway to Hot Springs
Hot Springs National Park
SQZBX Brewery & Pizza in Hot Springs
Best Café and Bar is the Newest Gem in Hot Springs
Morrison’s Fried Pies in Hot Springs
Deluca’s Pizzeria is Simply Fantastic
Check out what else is going on in Arkansas during August!
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