Showing posts with label Baseball Hall of Fames. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Baseball Hall of Fames. Show all posts

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Baseball Museum 19: Ted Williams Museum/Hitters Hall of Fame

Back on July 27, 2009, as part of going to the Tampa Bay Rays game at Tropicana Field we visited our 19th and final Baseball museum of the trip, the Ted Williams Museum/Hitters Hall of Fame. This museum once had its own home, but it could not keep in operation financially, so it is now inside Tropicana Field as part of the attractions. Because it was once on its own, it is quite a large collection and not very small like the Yankee Museum. It is even bigger than the Braves Hall of Fame. Also, it is free to visit on game days, although the gates open only 1 and a half before the game and this did easily take 45 minutes of our pre game time in the park. In case you are wondering why it is located at the Rays and thinking he never played or had any ties to the team, this is the area he retired to and in fact he threw out the first ceremonial first pitch in Rays history.

The museum begins with a few displays on the first floor. The displays include a Babe Ruth ball that is the only one Ted Williams ever asked for and was stolen and lost for over 25 years. They also have some random displays on things like the Negro Leagues, 500 home run club, woman’s baseball and the Rockford Peaches, Baseball Movies (even a Field of Dreams sign autographed by Ted Williams), and Ted Williams the Outdoorsman. It is kind of the hodge podge of stuff in the collection, but it is still mostly tied into fitting in the Ted Williams museum because it is a lot of memorabilia he collected over the years, autographed by him, or autographed to him.

The real museum, though, begins up the steps on the second floor. I honestly thought it was just a small hall of fame for the Hitters Hall of Fame when we began up the stairs, but was surprised to find that the upstairs is twice as large as the second with it mostly being about Ted Williams life and baseball career. I am not sure how you get up here with a wheelchair, as Mik did not want to go upstairs, but I imagine somehow one of the Tropicana Field elevators can get you access to this level and part of the museum, as it really is the bulk of what there is to see.

The Ted Williams part of the upstairs has items from his life from early baseball career in college to his time in the US Marine Corps to his Major League Baseball career and beyond. A lot of the displays include commemorative bats about the different parts of his career. Of course, there are also some actual bats he used. There is plenty to see and many signs to read about each display and the part of his life it is about, although due to wanting to get to our seats before the game started we kind of rushed through it. It is kind of sad that they do not open the park earlier because this museum would have been great to have been able to linger in and at the same time not miss any of the game. With it being in an indoor stadium there is not even ever the chance you could further explore it because of a rain delay.

The last part of the museum is called the Hitters Hall of Fame. This Hall of Fame features a variety of players including some that are actual National Baseball Hall of Fame members and some that are still current players. There is also a lot of lesser known/those that are not playing anymore and have not made it to the Hall of Fame. For each player they had a good size display of memorabilia related to them. It is so much different than the other Hall of Fames, as they actually have a display for every player in it and at least for now each player seems to still have their whole display still on view. It is not like there are only a few in it, either, but there has got to be at least 40.

Overall the Ted Williams Museum/Hitters Hall of Fame was an impressive museum/hall of fame. I just really felt like I was not able to pay that much attention to everything and really take it all in due to the limited time to see it before the game. It is a shame that they do not open the park earlier, but at least this museum does still exist and has not entirely disappeared, which very well could have happened, as it used to be in its own building in Hernando, Florida.

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.