Soak up baseball history at these museums
04/03/2014 12:00 AM
04/02/2014 4:04 PM
Dedicated baseball fans often take road trips to watch favorite teams play in storied stadiums around the country. But if the opening of the season has you craving even more, there are plenty of places to steep yourself in baseball lore outside the ballparks, from museums to historic homes.
Here are a few ideas for baseball destinations, ranging from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., to the Louisville Slugger factory in Kentucky.
Many teams have their own halls of fame or exhibit halls, often in or near the ballparks. But many of baseball greats also have destinations honoring them, whether it’s a birthplace, home, museum or statue.• In Baltimore, check out the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, located inside four row houses, http://baberuthmuseum.org, with the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards a few blocks away.
• In Fargo, N.D., there’s a Roger Maris Museum, www.rogermarismuseum.com.
• Mobile, Ala., has the Hank Aaron Childhood Home and Museum, www.hankaaronstadium.com.
• Royston, Ga., is home to the Ty Cobb Museum, www.tycobbmuseum.org.
• In New Jersey, visit the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center in Little Falls, http://yogiberramuseum.org/.
• The Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame at Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, in St. Petersburg, Fla., pays tribute to the Red Sox legend and others, www.tedwilliamsmuseum.com.
Williams is also depicted in a statue at Fenway Park in Boston, while a statue of Cardinal great Stan Musial stands outside Busch Stadium in St. Louis. In Brooklyn, N.Y., a statue of Brooklyn Dodgers teammates Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese commemorates their friendship across racial lines, located outside the Coney Island stadium where the minor league Cyclones play. Fans still leave baseballs at Robinson’s gravesite in Cypress Hills Cemetery on the Brooklyn-Queens border.
Ghosts of old parks: There’s a sign for Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, N.Y., where the Dodgers once played, but today it’s the site of an apartment complex and parking lot. Sections of Braves Field in Boston were incorporated into Boston University’s Nickerson Field. And in Hoboken, N.J., you’ll find markers in the vicinity of 11th and Washington for Elysian Fields, marking the spot where locals say the first organized baseball game was played.
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum: The museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., celebrates its 75th birthday this summer, with events planned for June 12 that include guests like Cal Ripken, and an Aug. 2 concert featuring Paul Simon. The museum tells the sport’s story through thousands of photos and artifacts, www.baseballhall.org.
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum: Located in Kansas City, Mo., the museum preserves the history of the leagues where black athletes played before the sport was integrated, www.nlbm.com.
World of Little League Museum: This museum in South Williamsport, Pa., reopened last year after a $4 million renovation. Its collection includes President George W. Bush’s Little League roster along with Little League jerseys worn by Gary Carter and Mike Mussina, www.littleleague.org/learn/museum.htm.
Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory: Located in Louisville, Ky., this company has been manufacturing bats since 1884. There’s a factory tour and a museum featuring bats gripped by baseball greats, www.sluggermuseum.org.
Field of Dreams: The field in Dyersville, Iowa, was the setting for the 1989 movie Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner. Fans can toss a ball around on the diamond carved from a cornfield from April to November, www.fodmoviesite.com.
Schrader’s Little Cooperstown: This exhibit at the St. Petersburg Museum of History in Florida showcases the world’s largest collection of signed baseballs — 4,600 of them valued at more than $2 million. It’s named for collector Dennis Schrader, www.spmoh.com/visit/exhibits/baseball/.
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