The history of America’s favorite pastime is chronicled and celebrated at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. Touting the tagline “Preserving history, honoring excellence and connecting generations,” the Hall of Fame lives up to its promise, telling the story of baseball and its key players both on and off the field. A whopping collection of 40,000 artifacts is constantly added to through donations and acquisitions and around 4,000 are on display at any given time. While every fan has his or her favorite player, a number of artefacts are must-see’s on everyone’s list.
Hall of Fame Gallery – Considered to be the centerpiece of the museum, the Plaque Gallery is devoted to immortalizing the careers of the Major League’s top 1 percent, a current total of 297 players. Begun in 1936, the bronze plaques lining the oak walls of the museum represent baseball’s most iconic and beloved titans of the game.
Babe Ruth Room – Legendary baseball icon Babe Ruth is immortalized in his own standing exhibit at the Hall of Fame. Within its walls you’ll find items such as autographed bats, including his final home run bat, #3 jerseys and the locker he used at “The House That Ruth Built,” Yankee Stadium, as well as a vast array of photographs spanning his career and life.
Hank Aaron Room – The easy-going playing style of 1957’s MVP, Hank Aaron, is commemorated throughout his own exhibit, which opened in 2009. One of the Hall’s most popular destinations, it includes Aaron’s championship jewelry, many of his trophies and the uniform he wore when he made his record-breaking 715th home run.
One For The Books – This exhibit tells the story of baseball’s most legendary record breakers and includes a computer-generated Top Ten Tower where fans can look up records of interest. Included in this exhibit room are many interesting artifacts, including uniforms worn by baseball’s tallest and shortest players. Uniforms of Olympic gold medalist and American League pitcher Jon Rauch, who stands at 6’11” and one-time St. Louis Brown player Eddie Gaedell, whose height reached a mere 3’7” are on display.
Today’s Game Exhibit – Laid out like a locker room, this thriving exhibit is constantly changing to represent what’s happening in baseball and houses many of today’s most popular player’s mementos. Thirty lockers represent the major teams and their players. Bud Norris’ uniform dating from the Houston Astros’ shift from the National league to the American League is a popular item with visitors.
Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.