Results tagged ‘ Hall of Fame Library ’

Family in Cooperstown

Francis_90.jpgBy Bill Francis

Marcus Giamatti was a participant in the All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game held at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., on Sunday night. And not only is he an actor, having appeared in numerous movies and television series, but he also shares a surname familiar to fans of the national pastime and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

07-14-10-Francis_Giamatti.jpgMarcus Giamatti’s father was the seventh baseball commissioner, A. Bartlett Giamatti. A former president of Yale, he became president of the National League in 1986 before ascending to the game’s top position in 1988. After less than a year on the job, he passed away in 1989 at the age of 51. After his untimely death, the Hall of Fame honored his legacy with the naming of the A. Bartlett Giamatti Research Center.

“I can’t believe as big a baseball fan as I am that I’ve never been to the Hall of Fame,” said Marcus Giamatti, best known  as a series regular on television’s Judging Amy (1999-2005), after the softball game. “I’ve always been working in different places and I’ve never gotten up to that part of the country, but my wife is from Corning, which is nearby, and we’re going to try to plan a trip so she can go see her relatives and we’re going to try and go to the Hall of Fame. I hope that happens within the next year or two.”

And the Giamatti Research Center is on the itinerary, too.

“It’s a great honor to him to because he was a great baseball historian and poet himself,” said Giamatti, 48, who grew up in New England. “So it means a tremendous amount to me. It’s really too bad he never knew about it. I really need to get up there to see it. He’d be so flattered and moved by it.”

Wearing the cap of his beloved Boston Red Sox, Giamatti said baseball was a love he shared with his father.

07-14-10-Francis_Research.jpg“He had a huge influence on my love of baseball. That was basically our connective link that we had, our love of baseball and the Red Sox,” Giamatti said. “I used to listen to them every night on the radio with him. I’d do my homework while he was correcting papers at the dining room table.

“He basically taught me the parallel lessons of the quest and the journey and the process of things through baseball. The adjustments you have to make, the game of failure, and sometimes the rewards, just like in life.”

Giamatti, a catcher through high school (“But I couldn’t hit”), is currently writing the afterword for a 2011 re-release of his father’s 1989 book “Take Time for Paradise: Americans and Their Games.”

And according to Giamatti, it looks like the family’s next generation will continue with a fascination for the game.

“I have one daughter, she’s 14 months old, and she watches baseball with me all the time. She calls it ballball.”

Bill Francis is a library associate for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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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