By Samantha Carr
Every time I get a tour of part of the Museum by a staff member, I learn something new.
On Tuesday, I tagged along on a visit to our library and archives for newly appointed New York State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner for Libraries, Bernie Margolis, and learned that team nicknames were usually given by newspapers and only became official around the 1960s when teams found the need to protect them to make money off T-shirts and advertisements.
Margolis administers the New York State Research Library and the Division of Library Development. He was in Cooperstown as part of a tour across the South Central Regional Library Council’s (SCRLC) 10,000 square-mile region.
The Librarian for the Hall of Fame, Jim Gates, explained the Hall of Fame’s library archives and how they are used. Between phone calls, emails and in-person visits, the library staff handles about 50,000 requests per year. The A. Bartlett Giamatti Research Center is the public area for visitors to complete research and is open to the public free of charge during normal business hours.
Margolis has a special connection to baseball, as he came from the Boston Public Library, where he served as president.
“I left Boston for New York, just like Babe Ruth left Boston for New York,” said Margolis.
The Boston Public Library has a close connection with the Boston Red Sox, and Margolis worked with them to publish a book on baseball history – a including interviews and stories about the players. It debuted at Fenway Park and Margolis was interviewed about the opening.
“Manny (Ramirez) hit a home run in the middle of the interview, so I took credit for that,” Margolis said. “Of course he was gone just two weeks later.”
During the tour, Gates showed off some interesting articles in the archive, dispelled some baseball myths and told some stories about interesting visitors to the library.
“I am overwhelmed by the scope and quantity, thoroughness and variety of the archives as well as the capacity and knowledge of the staff,” Margolis said.
Margolis learned today what I already knew about our library staff – they are the most knowledgeable baseball people on the planet.
Samantha Carr is the media relations coordinator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.