Results tagged ‘ A. Bartlett Giamatti Research Center ’

Baseball history preserved at Hall of Fame Library

Gates_90.jpgBy Jim Gates

Most people do not realize the scope and depth of the research archive operated by the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. The collection is approaching 3 million items and is one of the largest sports archives in the world. There has been a library associated with this institution since it opened in 1939, and it has grown substantially from the early days when the archival collection could fit onto a couple of book shelves.

3-19-09-Gates_Library.jpgToday, there are multiple climate-controlled storage rooms, each with independent temperature and humidity controls. They are designed to hold a variety of formats, including books, journals, newspapers, documents, photographs, slides, negatives, films, tape recordings, video tapes and compact discs.

Although the primary focus of the collection is on events related to the Major Leagues, there is no segment of the game we ignore, from youth baseball to women’s baseball to senior league baseball. We also try to ensure that all aspects of how baseball relates to American culture are preserved. This includes literature, poetry, music and art.

In the coming weeks, I plan to provide stories related to the work of our staff, stories that I hope will bring you joy and also help you appreciate the efforts we go through to save the history of our great national pastime for future generations.

Jim Gates is librarian of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library.

A wealth of information

Carr_90.jpgBy Samantha Carr

Many times throughout the week, I wander up to the Giamatti Research Center from my desk to research an article, check facts for a news outlet or find information about an event. The amount of information, statistics, stories and original documents about baseball never ceases to amaze me. Whether it’s information about a ballgame in 1890, the hit total for a future Hall of Famer from last night, or personal letters from Babe Ruth, I always seem to find what I am looking for.

Our research staff has incredible knowledge and often knows the answers to my question before looking it up in the files. The careers and lives of the great players turn into stories and legends. The best part is that one story always seems to lead to another.

8-20-08-Carr_Ferrells.jpgToday, I am researching tickets that were donated to us from a Yankees game in 1939. I was reading through box scores and read about a player named Wes Ferrell being released. Once I connected him to his brother, Hall of Famer Rick Ferrell, I began finding all kinds of neat things about them.

 The Ferrells served as battery mates for five seasons, and Wes hit more career home runs as a pitcher than his brother did as a catcher. I have played enough games of catch in the backyard with my older sister to know that playing together may not have always been easy. Stories like these are interesting and are written on seemingly every page in the library. It helps me to understand just how much I don’t know about the game.

As I sat with my white gloves on, turning pages in a file, I listened to the people around me. Often, authors are there researching for an upcoming book, but I always like to see the fans. It is like a viewing window into their childhoods.

Today, I overheard a father telling his two kids about his favorite player. As he turned the pages of box scores, he told them that he attended that game on that night. The kids looked on in awe that their dad had been a part of history.

History is everywhere at the Hall of Fame. Every generation’s heroes are represented here, and all you can think about is holding that bat like Babe Ruth or pitching with the control of Greg Maddux.

That’s the beautiful thing about baseball — you don’t have to hit home runs or throw 90 mph to feel like you were a part of the game. All you have to do is walk through the turnstile or turn on your television and cheer on your favorites.

Samantha Carr is the media relations coordinator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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