Baseball As America is open through March 6th 2004.


Baseball in America covers an expanse of historical subjects related to America's Game in seven themed galleries. Examine the impact of the game through the lenses of history, science, economics and popular culture as you explore each one.

Our National Spirit
Examine how much of our heritage, important historical events and common threads as a nation are linked to baseball.

Artifacts include:
• The Doubleday Ball. Legend has it that this was the first game ball used in the very first game in 1839 in Cooperstown. It is considered the game's most sacred relic.
• Opening day autographed balls thrown by U.S. presidents
• President Roosevelt's famous "Green Light" letter penned just weeks after Pearl Harbor telling a troubled nation at war that "it would be best for the country to keep baseball going" even during the darkest hours of WWII.
• A baseball pulled from the rubble of the World Trade Center after the September 11th attacks.


Ideals & Injustices
Trace the history of baseball through the eyes of minorities and
women as changing attitudes about race and equality shaped a nation.

Artifacts include:
• Ads and programs from the Negro Leagues
• Jackie Robinson's Dodgers jersey
• An angry letter sent to Hank Aaron as he closed in on Babe Ruth's home run record.
• A departmental manual from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League laying down the rules for "ladylike" behavior for women on and off the field.


Rooting for the Team

Discover the "sport" of baseball's rituals. Hot dogs, standing at the seventh-inning stretch, trading baseball cards, memorizing stats, and wearing team jerseys. It all makes us part of the team and is part of baseball's interactive experience.

Artifacts include:
• The original manuscript of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"
• Harry Caray's eyeglasses
• The San Diego Chicken costume
• Fan's scorecards and an early hot dog vending bucket


Enterprise and Opportunity.

Examine the business of baseball as it evolved from "just a game" to today's multibillion dollar enterprise encompassing franchises, cities, unions, media conglomerates, advertisers, equipment manufacturers, souvenir markets and more.

Artifacts include:
• Ball from the first game where admission was charged in 1858
• Baseball's most valuable trading card - a 1909 T206 Honus Wagner
• A ticket window from old Comiskey Park
• Examples of product endorsements ranging from Babe Ruth's picture on a store placard for Quaker Oats products to Ted Williams fishing line to a "Slammin Sammy (Sosa) cereal box


Sharing A Common Culture
Baseball permeates American culture, language, art, movies and comedy. In many ways it helps to define and unite us as a nation. Explore the multitude of ways that baseball touches all of us regardless of our interest level in the sport itself.

Artifacts include:
• A sampling of colloquial English phrases that are uniquely American with roots in baseball such as "ballpark estimate", "out of his league", "step up to the plate", "take a swing at it" and many more.
• Roy Hobbs' uniform as a member of the New York Knights from the film The Natural and his bat Wonderboy
• a baseball themed lunchbox
• a 1906 RCA Victor recording of De Wolf Hopper reading Casey at the Bat
• Normal Rockwell's The Three Umpires

Invention & Ingenuity
Learn how science and scientific principles and advancement have been integral team players when it comes to the evolution of baseball. See how the spirit of invention that nourished our nation's industrial and economic growth also contributed to the game's development.

Artifacts include:
• The earliest known catcher's mask (patented in 1878)
• The bat used by Babe Ruth to his record-breaking 60th home run in 1927
• Some oddball innovations that didn't make it to today's playing field such as the 1970s fluorescent orange baseball which was intended to increase ball visibility


Weaving Myths
See how both mythical and real-life legends of the sport of baseball have come to embody an era or an ideal in American culture.

Artifacts include:
• The farewell trophy given to Lou Gehrig by his teammates
• Dirt saved from the ground of Ebbets Field
• Bricks from the old Comiskey Park
• A pair of scuffed shoes worn by "Shoeless" Joe Jackson of
the infamous Chicago Black Sox.


To further explore this exhibition online, visit the Baseball As America website at The National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum and Museum.