Larry Foley, the filmmaker and University of Arkansas professor known for documentaries about unique aspects of Arkansas, has released the film, “The First Boys of Spring” to be shown at the Ouachita Center on the RMCC main campus in Mena.
According to Emmy-award winning Foley, the baseball tradition known as Spring Training started in 1886 in the Arkansas resort town of Hot Springs. That’s also where it became a tradition, over parts of eight decades, with fans getting a chance to see many of the greats of the game, players for teams including the Red Sox, Dodgers, and Pirates—and the Negro League’s Monarchs, Crawfords and Grays.
The First Boys of Spring features tales of baseball Hall of Famers who worked out, gambled and partied in Hot Springs, including Cy Young, Satchel Paige, Honus Wagner and baseball’s first superstar, Mike “King” Kelly. The young Babe Ruth was there too, belting a 573-foot home run into the Arkansas Alligator Farm while trying to convince Boston Red Sox management to play him every day, even though he was already the game’s dominant pitcher.
The documentary is narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Billy Bob Thornton, with photography direction by Jim Borden, editing by journalism professor Dale Carpenter, and an original musical score by UA professor emeritus James Greeson.”
The documentary will be shown at 6:30 PM., November 7th, in the Ouachita Center on the campus of Rich Mountain Community College following the activities and events of the Ouachita Arts Celebration in downtown Mena. Admission is free.