Two weekends ago I was in Cooperstown, where Hall of Fame curator Tom Shieber was kind enough to give a private behind-the-scenes tour to me, Kirsten, and my old college pals Jeff Katz and Ben McTernan. Naturally, I dressed for the occasion (thanks, RPM).
Most of our time was spent in the Hall’s archives, basically a huge storage area where they keep everything that isn’t currently on display. Since they display only about 15% of their collection at a time, the archives are essentially a huge trove of goodies that most visitors never get to see. Also, because the Hall holds onto everything once it’s accessioned, the archives also feature loads of items that will never be displayed because they’re sort of silly or of dubious historical value. Naturally, these items were my favorites.
Among the highlights:
• Here’s Tom holding Joe Rudi’s suitcase. For some reason I was particularly fond of this item, maybe because it’s green and gold.
• As for Gehrig’s cap, there’s something really nice about that smaller “NY” logo, no? Wish they’d go back to that.
• What are those notches around the Louisville Slugger logo? Each one represents a home run that Babe Ruth hit that year (sorry, I forget which season it was).
Incredibly, the notches were added by a collector, not by Ruth. Correction, the notches were added by Ruth with each tater he hit. The collector added that label, though. Maybe that’s why Tom allowed me to pose with the lumber. (That’s Tom in the background, looking slightly concerned that I might swing and cause a big crash or something.)
• The Hall has a huge collection of baseball-related artwork, most of it endearingly cheesy. For some reason I really liked this painting, although I no longer remember why. Maybe beause of the belt buckle!
• These Brooklyn bricks got me a little misty-eyed.
• We spent some time in the photo library (but not too long, cuz it’s refrigerated in there), where Tom showed us some gorgeous old pics.
• Tom was also proud to show us a few recent displays out in the public areas of the museum, including an exhibit devoted to baseball in the Olympics. I was especially fond of this jersey. Is that a beauty or what?
There was a lot more, but we were too busy having fun to take photos. Speaking of which, special thanks to Kirsten, who took most of the above-linked pics. You can see her full set from our visit here.
Raffle Results: The three winners of the poster raffle are, in order, Evan Shanley, Art Savokinas, and Brian Jones, all of whom should send me their shipping addresses pronto.
For those of you who didn’t win (or didn’t enter the raffle), Infojocks designer Jeremy Yingling has an offer to help cushion the disappointment: If you follow and mention @infojocks on Twitter, he’ll forward you a coupon good for 20% off any poster order.
Sponsor Shout-Out: As you may have noticed, T-shirt operative Miss Wit (aka Brooklyn’s own Deb Goldstein) is selling a fairly brilliant T-shirt. Just sayin’.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Here’s Virginia Tech’s riflery uniform, as photographed by Shawn Brown, who attended the unveiling. … Lots of cool sports-related artwork from an illustrator named Paul Rogers. Much of his work is clearly a homage to former Wrigley/Cubs art director Otis Shepard (with thanks to Ryan Connelly). … What’s the deal with the weird gray panels on RPI’s hockey socks? Almost looks Photoshopped, but Mike Adams says he got the pics from the team’s official web site. … Here’s how not to wear a Dallas Stars jersey (as spotted by Craig Ward). … New World Cup soccer kit for Japan (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … Cool contribution from Chad Wilson, who writes: “Over the weekend, my hometown high school, the Glen Oaks Panthers in Baton Rouge, clinched their first district/region championship since 1995 and they posted this picture in the local paper. Check out the striped socks — and cleats! — on No. 1.” … Here’s what the Stephen Colbert speedskating sponsorship patch looks like (with thanks to Matt Englander). … Okay, it’s official, civilization as we know it is totally fucked (with thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … And in case that last link didn’t convince you, here’s just what the world needs: a soccer player with his Twitter feed printed on his cleats (as forwarded by Jordan Guthmann). … Is it possible that an NFL official really had pom-poms on the brim of his cap? Ron Amadeo took that screen shot (also this one), and I kinda suspected him of sending me a Photoshopped hoax, but then he showed me this wire service shot. Anyone..? … Not sure if anyone posted this in the weekend comments, but here’s what Texas A&M’s Fort Hood memorial decal looked like. … Steve Cook attended Sunday’s Eagles/Cowboys game and spotted this dude in the crowd. Love the “NFL” on the collar — like, just in case you didn’t know which league those logos belonged to. … Blackhawks will be wearing camo warm-ups tomorrow night. I’m sure Native Americans in Illinois and elsewhere will appreciate the juxtaposition of an Indian head the U.S. military. Why not just rename the team Manifest Destiny for a night and get it over with? … UNC broke out the throwbacks last night — nice! More photos here. … Tons of great old hockey imagery on this Canadian archive site, including cool photos, even cooler trading cards, and more. Worth exploring (big thanks to Alan Kreit). … “Must be the shoes,” says Brinke Guthrie. … Speaking of Monday Night Football, Wyatt Silverman notes that Troy Polamalu had a little cross embroidered above his nameplate. Has it been there for years and nobody ever noticed because of his hair? If anyone knows more, please speak up. … Aussie rules football news from Drew Douglas, who reports that Adelaide Crows have a new logo and road kit and the Brisbane Lions have a new logo. … Here’s a breakdown of all the EPL kits from last weekend (with thanks to Michael Orr).