Monday, July 20, 2009

Baseball Museum 16: Braves Hall of Fame and Museum

On July 16, 2009, when we went to the game at Turner Field we visited the Braves Hall of Fame and Museum that is part of the Braves ballpark attractions. The museum costs $2 per person, which is paid for in tokens obtained from a nearby booth. It is a small museum, but is way better than the Yankees one, so it is worth paying to see even if you are not a Braves fan.

The displays in the museum include milestones, such as John Smoltz’s 3,000th strikeout. This display lists all the players he stuck out on his way to his 3,000th and how many times he struck each player out. It also has a ball from his 3,000th strikeout game and photos. Most interesting to me was the game ticket and he did it against the Washington Nationals. Now the Nats are not that famous for making history other than being on their way to losing history chasing the 120 loss record this year, but it does seem a lot of history happens against them. For example, Randy Johnson got his 300th win against them earlier this season.

The beginning of the museum has displays of items related to the Braves in the Braves Hall of Fame. This includes John Sain’s glove from the 1958 World Series bronzed and Maddux’s jersey (note we visited the day before he was officially added to the Braves Hall of Fame). There is also a television here that shows a video that includes Braves Hall of Famers in action and interviews.

The next area of displays includes items and info about the Milwaukee Era of the Braves organization. One of the most interesting items in my opinion was the first issue of Sports Illustrated, which featured a photo of Eddie Mathews at Milwaukee County Stadium. The display also includes items such as World Series programs, Milwaukee Braves hat, a signed 1957 World Series commemorative bat, and a Cy Young award won by Warren Spahn.

There is then an area that includes a display case with the 1995 World Series trophy, a display about Braves from around the world, a display of the Braves players in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and a board with the franchise and Atlanta era leaders in various records. The record list is mostly older players, but Chipper Jones is the one current player that is in the top ten for the Franchise hitting records. He is at the top of the Atlanta era of the Braves hitting records and in the top ten Atlanta era stolen base records.

The next area features locker displays with memorabilia of various Atlanta Braves eras. This includes a more current one featuring Chipper Jones, a 1960s one, a 1970s one, a 1980s one, and a Hank Aaron one. The Hank Aaron one includes the ball and bat from when he broke Babe Ruth’s home run record by hitting his 715th home run. There are also lockers for every year between 1991 and 2005, except 1994. These lockers represent the Braves streak of winning their division. It may not seem like it is a continuous streak, but since 1994 was a strike season they count it as continuous despite no official division win title for that year.

Near the locker display area is a train car that you can go inside of. However, this train car is not wheelchair accessible, so Mik was not able to check it out. The train car shows how the team used to travel by train to all the games.

The final area is about the beginning of the Braves organization. This area shows the various uniforms worn by the team as it frequently changed names in its early years in Boston. The Boston era began in 1867 and the continuation of the team until today makes it the Longest Continuously Operated Franchise in Major League Baseball. By the time the team left Boston the name of Braves had stuck and has been the name ever since, but before it became the Boston Braves for the second time in 1941 they had several names. The names included Boston Red Stockings (1871-1882), Boston Beaneaters (1883-1906), Boston Doves (1907-1910), Boston Rustlers (1911), Boston Braves for the first time (1912-1935), and Boston Bees (1936-1940). Besides just displaying the various Boston uniforms there is also some other memorabilia from the Boston era of the team such as World Series 1948 items, Babe Ruth’s 1935 Boston Braves contract reproduction, and 1914 World Series items.

Overall there is really quite a lot squeezed into this small museum, which is what makes it very worth the $2. It would be nice if it was just included in the ballpark admission, but at least it makes it worth the $2 by presenting a great history of the team beyond just its Atlanta era. I really liked how they had the different Boston uniforms on display. Mik liked the movie near the beginning and pretty much just sat and watched that as Dad and I looked through the whole museum.

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