The First Boys of Spring


Tulsa Area Chapter of the
Arkansas Alumni Association
Proudly Presents the Tulsa Premiere of
The First Boys of Spring
A Film by Larry Foley
Narrated by Billy Bob Thornton
Thursday, June 23, 2016
7:00 p.m.
Circle Cinema Theatre
10 South Lewis Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74104

For parts of five decades, the immortals of America’s National Pastime trained on baseball diamonds and “boiled out the alcoholic microbes” of winter in the thermal baths of Hot Springs, Arkansas.  In 1886, the Chicago White Stockings were the first to trek south to Hot Springs, when the team’s owner and manager decided the boys needed a place to practice and get ready for the season ahead.  Other teams soon followed, including the Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Brooklyn Dodgers and many others.  Hot Springs was “wide open” in those days, frequented by famous and infamous characters.  And so came the greatest of the great, to play ball, for a month or so in late winter and early spring, including more than a third of all players enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, New York.  Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, Cy Young, Honus Wagner – the best who ever played the game – all worked out there.  And so did the legends of the Negro Leagues.  The likes of Satchel Page and Josh Gibson also came to train in this southern resort town, staying in different hotels, but working just as hard to get ready for their seasons when baseball was segregated.  There are fun stories told, like the time when Ruth blasted a ball out of Whittington Park and into the Arkansas Alligator Farm, a belt measured at 573 feet – the first tape-measure home run in history.  The Official Hot Springs Baseball Trail is part of the story, letting viewers know that while long gone, the old parks and hall-of-famers are honored today, long after the last cries of “Play Ball” vanished forever.


Larry Foley is professor and chair of the Walter J. Lemke Department of Journalism at the University of Arkansas and an Emmy Award-winning documentary film writer and producer.  Billy Bob Thornton, a native of Hot Springs and a baseball fan, is an Academy Award-winning actor, director, screenwriter, singer, songwriter and musician.


Arkansas Alumni Association and Circle Cinema Members – $10 / Non-Members – $12

Current and Accepted U of A Students – $10

Children Ages 2 through 11 – $8 / Youth Ages 12 through 17 – $9


Seating is Limited!


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Proceeds Benefit the Tulsa Area Chapter Scholarship Fund


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About the author - Serving the Circle since 2006.
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