The interactive displays in my exhibit are fantastic, but the bread and butter are the actual artifacts in my opinion. We don’t have basic baseball stuff in here! Babe Ruth’s bat he used to hit 28 bombs during his 60 home run season- we’ve got it. The first baseball used in the first modern World Series game by Cy Young- we’ve got it. Shoes worn by Bob Feller when he struck out 18 in a game- we’ve got those too! I could go on and on here, but I’ll let you scroll through the pictures with the descriptions. My favorite part of my day is watching someone get excited about an artifact, yell over to their friend or kid, and then tell them all about the bat, ball, or glove with fervor and a personal touch. Sometimes I learn a new fact or two that I tuck away in my repertoire!
In the week we stayed in Davenport I discovered that Iowa is split between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. The first due to the proximity to Chicago and the latter because St. Louis used to have the minor league team affiliation in town. The fan bases despise each other but managed to play nice in the trailers. I meet a lot of cool people and heard wonderful baseball stories, here are a few of my favorites:
Alton (Cardinals fan)- When I was a young boy, my dad took us to a doubleheader in St. Louis and after we went to get dinner at Stan Musial’s restaurant in town. I asked my dad if he thought Stan would show up and my dad not wanting to disappoint me said, “he might, he played two games and must be hungry.” Well not even five minutes later, in walks Stan the Man. He saw us boys sitting at the table with our dad and walked over sat down with us, talking to my dad like they’re old friends. Us boys, well our jaws dropped when Stan took out a couple of pictures and signed them for us. He used to do that you know, carry around pictures and autograph them for kids. Great guy.
Caroline (local staff working for us)- I’m a big Cubbies fan, but I should be a Yankees fan because my uncle played for them. Ever hear of Bill Zuber? I’ve got a story for you. My uncle lived in a community that frowned on playing baseball, so they didn’t play but would throw potatoes in the field during work. They made a game of throwing the potatoes into barrels and it just so happened a scout saw him from the train passing by and got off and signed him. Can you believe that?
Mike (Yankees fan)- My first game in Yankees Stadium, I’ll never forget. I was visiting my daughter in 1997 and she gave me a card for my birthday. I open it and there is a pair of tickets to see them play the Indians. After all those years of listening to games, to actually be in the park and see the players, it was better than I ever imagined. They won too, the icing on the cake.
Jim (Cubs fan)- I worked at the Tribune back when they owned the Cubs and went to tons of games. We had a suite, but I never sat up there. I always went down and sat in a seat between third and home. That’s where you see all the plays that matter, between third and home.
Paco (Red Sox fan)- My first game was in Ebbets Field and Jackie Robinson was playing. I was a young boy and my distinct memory from the game was having to use the restroom. My dad took me and back then, it was just troughs. I was wearing sandals and my socks just sucked up the pee from the floor. My mom gave my dad an earful when we got home!