Categorized | N. America

#BaseballJourneyman to Cooperstown Part II

#BaseballJourneyman to Cooperstown Part II

I got to turn into #BaseballJourneyman to Cooperstown earlier this year. Over spring break I took off to the Hall of Fame so I could do some research. While there I had the chance to walk around the Hall of Fame and check it out. However, I did not get to spend as much as I would have liked in the Hall of Fame itself checking out the displays because I lost 2 days due to a snowstorm.

However, I saw some of the coolest things I’ve ever seen on my trips through the museum. And I thought I would share a few with you here. Forgive the not-so-great photos. I did not take  my good camera with me since it was more of a work trip, so all of my photos come with my phone. Besides if any of you have ever taken a nice camera into a museum it doesn’t always work out. There are usually too many reflective surfaces and not a lot of light. So without delay, here we go.

#BaseballJourneyman Cooperstown

One of the first things you see as you make  your way through the museum is a locker with things from each team. Being a die hard Atlanta Braves fan, thank you TBS, I couldn’t pass up a chance to snap a quick photo of their locker.

#BaseballJourneyman Cooperstown

It may be hard to read the plaque but it tells information about the team including year founded (1871), former locations, retired numbers, and world championships (4 times). Each team has this along with various items from the team which include Brian McCann’s bat, Tyler Flowers mask, and Billy Wagner’s shoes.

Keeping with the Braves theme, one of the coolest things I saw was a jersey made of baseball cards. It is a full-size replica of a Phil Niekro jersey made out of thousands of baseball cards cut and arranged just right. It comes from collage artist LaVern Brock, and I thought it was quite amazing.

Phil Niekro card jersey

Speaking of cards, I collected baseball cards when I was younger. I even had a small side business where I would sell cards at card shows. This was late 90s early 00s and it was a lot of fun. One card I would love to have come across, even just to see one, was the Honus Wagner T206.

Background of Wagner T206

The card was made by the American Tobacco Company as part of its T206 series between 1909 and 1911. However, Wagner did not want the production of the card to continue. I’ve read stories that said he did not like the fact it was a tobacco company making the card and others saying he simply wanted more money. For whatever reason, the card became very limited with just 50-200 being released. The exact number is unknown. While the card is not the rarest, it is among the most sought after. The most recent sale that I could find came in October 2016 when it sold for $3.12 million.

So as you can see there are extremely famous items in the museum and works of art. I will come back to art in a later post, but right now I want to talk about perhaps one of the strangest things I saw.

History in Cooperstown

I love history. In fact I am a high school history teacher, and I love my job. History encompasses so much, and I love historical places. And there are two places in Baltimore I’d love to visit that are no longer around. One is the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, and the other is a saloon on Frederick Street. Both no longer exist and both deal with George Herman “Babe” Ruth.

Ruth attended the school and this is where he began to play organized baseball. The saloon was once owned by Ruth’s father. Both places hold history that I would love to learn more about. However, both are long gone. But the Hall of Fame somehow has a piece of each building which I found interesting.

The top brick was part of the saloon owned by Ruth’s father. The stone came from the school Ruth attended.

I don’t want to make this an extremely long post, so I am going to end it here. However, I have more in the works including some things about women in baseball, the sport in Latin America, and I want to talk about some of the plaques I saw.

Read up on our other posts on the Hall of Fame here.

About Eric Bynum
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.

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