Piazza DiMaggio

Nestled in the heart of Chicago’s Little Italy is the Piazza DiMaggio. The plaza is a shrine to Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio. As you can see the centerpiece of the plaza is a statue of Joe finishing his beautiful swing. Why on earth is this shrine located in Chicago you may ask. DiMaggio was born in California, died in Florida, and was buried in California. He spent his entire playing career in New York playing for the Yankees. The closest he came to playing in Chicago was when the Cubs turned down a no risk tryout when Joe was a San Fransisco Seal. Joe really has no ties to Chicago. He did however have ties to the people that lived in and around Taylor Street. I found this gem thanks to the Sporting News book “Roadside Baseball.” It is a great book that shows you some cool baseball sites in each state. Continue reading

Railcats Win a Thriller in the Hometown of Michael Jackson

I was silent on here when Michael Jackson died. I was one of those people who enjoyed his music, but did not agree with some of the choices that he made off of the stage. Today I went to the Railcats game against Joliet in Michael’s hometown of Gary, Indiana. The main reason I went was the fact that the Railcats had on jerseys similar to the 1977 White Sox, and the Jackhammers had on jerseys that looked close to the 1984 Cubs. For the majority of this post I will try and sum up the game using Michael Jackson song titles. This may work out good, or it may work terribly. We will soon see.

This was a back and forth game, a “Thriller” if you will. If you came to the park looking to see some exciting plays then “You Are Not Alone.” The Jackhammers took a 2-0 lead in the second inning with some timely hitting. The Railcats got on the board themselves and took over the lead in the fifth when a “Bad” play by the Jackhammer right fielder turned a RBI triple into a two run hit. Mike Massaro watched a throw go wild of third and decided to “Beat It” home. He made it safely to put Gary up. Massaro proved that he is truly “Dangerous” today. He drove in two, and scored one. The right fielder will have trouble looking at the “Man in the Mirror” tomorrow morning. As the ball sailed out of his hand he was probably thinking “I Want You Back.” Kevin Rios got things going for Joliet in the 8th with a triple “Off the Wall.” He scored when the next batter singled. The second Joliet run in the 8th scored when the pitcher throw wide of first on a routine play. The kind of throw has “Got To Be There.” The crowd in Gary was “Speechless.” The Gary first baseman thought the runner to first was out of the baseline. He walked down towards the home plate ump looking like he “Wanna Be StartinSomethin.” It is just “Human Nature” to want to argue a call like that that could potentially change the game. Every play is not always “Black or White” as far as the ump is concerned. The ump said “Leave Me Alone”, and the inning ended with a strikeout by the next batter. The Railcats came up in the 8th needed one to tie. They got the leadoff man on when he was hit. He scored on a double by the next batter. As Steve Haake was standing on second you could see him eying Jay Pecci who had just scored, and thinking “I Wanna Be Where You Are.” You could feel the tension in the crowd. They seemed to be saying “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” Everything seemed to “Come Together” on the next play. Jordan Czarniecki singled in what would be the winning run, and the crowd let out a collective “Scream.” Manager Wally Backman looked at his team and cursed them for “The Way You Make Me Feel.” After a brief rally by the Jackhammers in the ninth Eddie De La Cruz said “You Can’t Win,” and got the save despite most likely having “Butterflies” after coming in a game with inherited runners. Will I end this anytime soon? When I get on a roll “I Can’t Help It.” I think of another song, and I just “Smile.” My next game at this stadium will probably be July 13th when Fergie Jenkins is scheduled to make an appearance. “Will You Be There?” The game starts at 7:00 cst so be sure and “Remember the Time.” As always “Keep the Faith.”
Okay, that was not so bad. Was it? On a serious note I saw one of the most scary sites that I have seen on a ball field during the game. In the bottom of the 8th inning Jay Pecci fouled a ball straight back that hit the home plate umpire in the chest. The umpire crumpled like a ton of bricks to the ground. I was close to the play, but the sound was still very awkward. Emergency crews rushed out to check him out, and he started moving around a bit. He eventually got up, and walk off the field with the help of the emergency crew. He was worked on in the Jackhammer dugout for a long time. He ended up talking with some of the players, and seemed to be fine. I was sitting right next to the dugout, and from what pitching coach Floyd Youmans had to say the ball must have just nailed him in the heart. The way he fell tells me that he was not concious when he went down. That was scary. Both Youmans and Wally Backman were watching intensely from the get go. They have seen a lot of things, and Floyd even said that he had never seen anything like that. After a delay to get the gear on for one of the other umpires the game was restarted. Below are some other pictures from today.
Doing some test pictures to try and eliminate the screen.

The Jackhammers have some weird bats

Pitching coach Floyd Youmans

This pitch is going to get crushed

Breaking up a double play the hard way

Edit 8:50 PM: I just saw online that the winning pitcher from the game Edwin Walker has been sold to the Yankees. When he was told to report to the Charlston RiverDogs their class A team he said “I’ll be There.” Sorry had to get one last one in.

Bob Feller Museum: Van Meter, Iowa


The Feller Museum from the street

I always saw the sign for the Bob Feller museum as we drove through Des Moines on I-80 going west. When I finally moved to Iowa I finally got my chance to visit the museum. The museum is set in the small Iowa town of Van Meter. It is located on the corner of Mill Street and Elm Street. Bob Feller meant so much to this small town that they gathered the funds necessary to build this museum. It started off small, but has grown up in no time. From when I first went in 2004 to the pictures they have online today you can really see the difference. This museum showcases what one man can mean to a town. There is no real allotted parking so you just find a spot on the street around the museum. Follow the steps up into the museum and you are on your way. The admission is only $5 so go and see it if you are in the area.


The museum mural


The famous bat the Babe Ruth held

The museum inside is not very huge, but they pack it full of memorabilia. The museum has the main hall with a north and south wing on each side. One of the highlights for me was to see the bat that Babe Ruth was leaning on when the now famous photo of him was taken in Yankee Stadium. Before I visited Bob’s museum I never knew that the bat in the picture was actually a Feller model. Babe needed something to lean on when he came out, so he grabbed Bob’s bat as he exited the visitor’s dugout. A picture of the display is shown to the left. Before I visited the actual Hall of Fame in Cooperstown this was the closest I had been to anything touched by the Babe. The bat is showcased at the museum, but also makes its way around the country in a travelling exhibit. I was lucky enough to be there on a day it was as well. The rest of the museum is filled with glass cases full of items from Bob’s career in baseball along with other items from his life. A good example is shown to the right. A jersey of Bob’s and some baseball memoribilia is displayed in one case while his Navy Uniform and his wartime acheivements are shown in the case next to it. As a baseball fan I was amazed at some of the items in the museum. Bob Feller had a great relationship with Ted Williams, and some of the other Red Sox players of that day. A lot of their memoribilia can be found in the museum. They have done a great job of collecting items from Bob along with other great players of his time.


Baseball and History collide insdie the museum


Feller signing the White Sox ball for me in 2005

In the short time I was in Iowa I made a few trips to the museum. I was able to meet Vida Blue, Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, Bert Blyleven, and Bob himself during some of the autograph signing days they had. I was also able to get balls autographed by Harmon Killebrew, Bobby Doerr, and Buck O’Neill through the museum. I became a member of the museum so my frequent visits would be free. The photo at the top of the post was taken during a signing day when Bob was present. In front of the museum was the car that took Bob to his first major league game. A signing day is a great day to meet some heroes of the game, but it is too crowded to visit the museum. The picture to the left shows Bob signing a ball for me. Most people just asked for his autograph, but I asked to inscribe the date of his Opening Day no hitter against the White Sox. (I am a Sox fan, and yes I like punishment.) He not only put all that on it he inscribed the score, and wrote “Opening Day No Hitter” on the ball. That baseball is one that will always be at the forefront of my collection. I wish we had something like this close to here so that I could experience this again. They have a great lineup of guests this year, and from the looks of the web site for the museum it will only get better. If you are in the area give the museum a try. It is worth the price of admission.

Meet the Newest Member of the White Sox

The White Sox gave Corky Miller back to the Reds today for center fielder Norris Hopper. I saw Norris play twice this season when he was a member of the Louisville Bats. In the two games I saw him he was 3-10 with four runs batted in and one run scored. This season in 52 games for AAA Louisville he is hitting .280 with 22 runs scored and 13 stolen bases. It looks as if the Sox are still searching for the answer in center field.
Corky Miller despite the humorous name really will not be missed. He never really made a mark on the team in his short stay this year.

This Week’s Promotions (6/29-7/5)

Here we are with another weeks look at the promotions in the area, and anything else that happens to catch my eye. Let’s see what we have in store this week.

Monday June 29th
Yes, we have a Monday promotion thanks to the tireless work over at Bus Leagues Baseball
Wisconsin Woodchucks – Jim Gatner bobblehead (1st 500)

Tuesday June 30th
South Bend Silverhawks – 4th of July Fireworks
Gary South Shore Railcats – Baseball Card Giveaway first 1,000 fans. The Blues Brothers will also be in attendance.
Birmingham Barons – 25 cent hot dog night.

Wednesday July 1st
Great Lakes Loons – Jurassic Ballpark Night. Drink your pop before the dinosaurs spill it.
South Bend Silverhawks – 4th of July fireworks

Thursday July 2nd
South Bend Silverhawks – 4th of July fireworks
Quad City River Bandits – Sgt. Slaughter appearance.
St. Louis Cardinals – 1966 All Star game lapel pin giveaway to the first 20,000 fans

Friday July 3rd
Toledo Mud Hens – Centennial anniversary of Swayne Field
South Bend Silverhawks – 4th of July fireworks
Gary South Shore RailcatsCamo hat giveaway first 1,000 fans
Chicago Cubs – Cubs floppy hat

Saturday July 4th
Let me just say that if your team is at home, they will have fireworks or some other promotion in honor of the fourth. I will leave all of those out.
Toledo Mud Hens – ALS Awareness night. Patriotic jersey auction.
Indianapolis Indians – American Flag to the first 10,000 fans, and a great view of the city of Indianapolis’ fireworks.
Gary South Shore Railcats – Baseball giveaway and Lou Gehrig recognition night.
Nashville Sounds – CMT cooler giveaway to the first 2,000 fans.
Chicago Cubs – Cubs 4th of July hat.
Cincinnati Reds – Jay Bruce bobblehead to the first 30,000 fans. Thanks to The Writer’s Journey for the heads up.
Cleveland Indians – Red, White, and Blue Indians cap to all fans.

Sunday July 5th
Toledo Mud Hens – Red hat day, and autograph Sunday. Players TBD.
Indianapolis Indians – Souvenir card Sunday. First 4,000 fans.
Cleveland Indians – Victor Martinez catchers mitt to all fans 14 and under.

Where Have You Gone Pete Rose?

Visiting Cincinnati this weekend brought back a lot of great memories from my childhood. To the right is the scorecard and the bat from the night that Pete passed Ty Cobb for the most hits in baseball. That moment will always be etched in my memory. The picture to the left of Pete at the peak of his career really shows how much he loved this game. As a kid my father pointed out Pete Rose as a player who I should emulate. Heck he even bought me the book ‘Pete Rose on Hitting’ which I still have on my bookshelf today. His nickname said it all. “Charlie Hustle” played the game hard. Who can forget his headfirst slides into various bases? Or bowling over Ray Fosse to win an All Star game? Pete Rose has more hits than any other player in Major League baseball history (4256). He also made more outs than any other player (10,328). Pete had a profound effect on the game, and was a sure fire lock to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame if their every was one. Pete Rose was a man that played the game the right way. This man knew how to do only one thing. That was to win. He was part of perhaps one of the greatest teams ever. He had the world on a string. What went wrong?

In 1989 the luster started coming off of this man. Rumors started swirling that Pete had bet on baseball. He refuted these rumors to any and all who would ask. When Bart Giamatti became the Commissioner of baseball he kept the pressure on Rose. Sports Illustrated ran the now famous story about Pete later in 1989 that shocked the baseball world. Did Pete bet on baseball? If he did bet on baseball was his own team involved? I was still a young kid, but I did not want to believe any of this. For years I denied it despite the evidence. Pete could not have done such a thing. In August of 1989 Pete accepted a ban from baseball in return for baseball not making a formal finding of his actions. In 1990 he was placed in jail for income tax evasion. In 2004 fifteen years after initially denying betting on baseball he released a book in which he admitted betting for his team every night. By then it was like the recent finding that Sammy Sosa tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. We all knew he did it, we just wanted him to come clean. He did come clean, but so far has not been reinstated. Last year at the Hall of Fame I couldn’t help but look at the class of 1992 and wonder what could have been? He was a first ballot Hall of Famer that has now missed his window entirely. His only chance would be to someday be voted in by the Veteran’s Committee. Before that happens though he would need to be reinstated by Major League Baseball. The Reds cannot retire his number 14 because of that ban either. Well they won’t formally retire it. The only Red to wear that number since Pete left the team was his own son Pete Jr. If Pete wanted to enter the Reds Hall of Fame or Great American Ballpark he would have to pay his way in. It makes me sad to see such a great player fall so hard. The Reds clearly still love Pete by the way he is shown in their Hall of Fame. They would love to honor this man I am sure before he leaves us. His own arrogance though may make that impossible. I would like to think that sometime in my lifetime he will get his just due. He has made some enemies in high places in baseball right now though. It would take something short of a miracle to get him reinstated. Maybe someday down the road Pete will have the public behind him much like ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson does today. Even support like that has not helped Joe get into the Hall. It seems as if this was only the begining of players that I looked up to in baseball that would not gain entry into the Hall despite having the numbers to do so. As the full extent of the steroid issue becomes public knowledge I have a feeling I will lose a lot of faith in many players I loved to watch growing up.

More Pictures From the Civil Rights Game

While doing the stadium guide for the park I came across some pictures that I thought were cool that didn’t make it on the original post. I thought that I would post some of them here.

Some great Jackie memoribilia on display for the weekend.

A close up of some of the Big Red Machine. Two of my favorites, and one bad announcer.

A view from behind the plate

A pulled back view from behind the plate

Dotel just after release

Scotty Pods and Harold talking things over.

Can’t they find a uniform that fits this kid?

Dye pre swing

Dye post swing
Brandon Phillips swing
Pauly at the plate

Pauly big swing

Jerry (post hug I am guessing) with a big swing

Johnny Cueto walking in after warming up with Ryan Hanigan. Cueto has a bad look on his face. Either that or he is doing a great Gary Coleman impression.

Never mind. I know what the weird look was about now. By the way The Writers Journey has a great post about writing Ryan in for the all star game. Visit it here.

Brandon Phillips doing a great thing and signing for kids for a long time pre game. He really seems to have turned things around.

Jerry Hairston Jr. just needs a hug.

The pre game flyover. Now you know you are at a big game.
Brian Anderson warming up in case the bullpen needs some help.

Some of the Reds sporting the Frank Robinson mesh jersey that was given away.

Pete congratulating George Foster. Pete must have had some big money on that game.

Joe Nuxhall with the Civil Rights banner in the background.

Big Klu with the same banner in the background.

Stadium Guide: Great American Ballpark

When I was going to Cincinnati I kept wondering how cocky the team was to name their park the Great American Ballpark. They are saying that the park is great? I later found out that the park is named such because the naming rights were bought out by the Great American Insurance Company which is located in Cincinnati. They have the naming rights for 30 years. Once I left the park at the end of the night I would have agreed with my original thought. This is a Great American Ballpark. It has many things that make it so. I will highlight a few of those in the next few paragraphs.

The first part of the park that I will highlight is the Crosley Terrace. This is located just in front of the main entrance. The have placed statues of Frank Robinson, Ted Kluszewski, Joe Nuxhall, and Ernie Lombardi in a game type situation. They are on a mock diamond playing a pick up game of baseball. Nuxhall is pitching to Robinson with Lombardi catching and Big Klu on deck. In the picture on the left you can see Frank and Ernie with the city of Cincinnati in the background. Joe Nuxhall is positioned right in front of the main entrance. The picture of this can be found to the right. This is a great first view of the park, and it gives a nod to the stars of Crosley Field. Right away you get the feeling of some of the history of this ball club. You can enter the park at a few places, but if this is your first trip here, you want to enter here. You will probably want to check out the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum anyway. The Hall of Fame is located next to this, and is another great feature of the park. I have already done a write up on that here. It is worth a visit so plan some time before the game to walk through the museum.

All around the outside of the stadium are banners showing great moments in Reds history. The one pictured to the left is showing the night Pete Rose passed Ty Cobb to become the all time leader in hits. These banners guide you around the stadium, and show you how rich in history this club really is. It makes for good reading, but don’t read to much and run into the next one. The stadium also has two murals located just to the left once you walk through the main entrance. The first of the murals shows the original Reds team with the Wright brothers front and center. The other mural pictures the Big Red Machine in all of thier glory. That mural is shown to the right. Another point of interest when you visit the stadium is the Machine Room. This is a small bar located in left field. They have tons of memoribilia from the Big Red Machine days. If you are into this kind of thing you will enjoy it.

The stadium has three decks from foul pole to foul pole with two decks in left field. A small gap exists in the upper decks between home plate and third base. This gap was left on purpose so that the people working in the high rises in downtown Cincinnati can see into the park. The view that you get from the third deck is tremendous. You can see the Ohio River beyond the outfield. It is this view that is shown in the panorama at the top of the post. This stadium was really designed wonderfully. At the end of the upper deck near the left field foul pole they have the banners showing all of the World Championships on the base of the second deck. In the picture on the left you can barely see the retired numbers that are located on the press box. They have also retired the microphones of three past Reds broadcasters. Those are located in the center.

As per usual I will give way too much info about the scoreboard. This one is massive. It towers over all of the left field bleachers. This scoreboard is massive. It is 138 feet wide and 38 feet high. The clock at the top of the scoreboard is a replica of the old clock at Crosley field. As you can see by the picture the pregame scoreboard gives you the video board in the middle with both lineups on each sides of that. The high def LED screen is used to show replays and other video in game. One thing that they do not do though is to show replays of questionable calls. I guess they don’t want the fans to get too excited. As you can see by the picture during the inning you get the batting order of the team up, and the defensive positions of the team in the field along with the next three up the next half inning. You also can see the mug shot of the player at bat with his season and current game stats. I talk about how some teams make it hard to keep score sometimes on this blog. Here in Cincy they make it easy. They will actually show you the current batters scorecard later in the game. Check it with yours to see if their is a discrepancy. On the back of the main scoreboard is a mural named “4192.” It shows Pete Roses’ bat and a ball on the field of old Riverfront Stadium. A picture of this mural is shown on the right. On the left field wall below the scoreboard is an out of town scoreboard. This board gives more than just scores of the games. You basically get the MLB.com gameday for each one. You can see the score, current pitcher, current batter, outs, inning, and a diamond with any baserunners shown on the appropriate base. In the picture you can also see the light towers that have been dubbed the toothbrushes. I have never been to Jacob’s Field in Cleveland, but I have been told that they have the same light towers. It must be an Ohio thing. They are different, and give the stadium a unique look.

Two other great features of the outfield are the smokestacks and the riverboat deck. The smokestacks. The stacks are 64 feet high and 34 feet wide, and stand inbetween the riverboat deck and the right field stands. When a Reds player hits a home run fireworks erupt out of the stacks, and they light up. As a person who is still a ten year old inside I always want to see these things in person. This is not as famous as the apple was in New York, but is still really cool. The stacks look even better at night when they are illuminated. Two small paddle wheels are located at the base of each stack. They have small video boards that display Reds logos throughout the game. The riverboat deck is a fairly new feature to the stadium. It is a party area in straight away center field that can accomidate around 150 fans. This two story feature is for private parties, but gives a great view of the park from its upper deck. These two features along with the scoreboard really give the outfield a great look.
Great American Ballpark By the Numbers:
Groundbreaking: August 1, 2000
First Game: March 31, 2003
Ballpark Design: HOK Sport
Cost of Construction: $280 million
Tons of steel used: 10,000
Seating Capacity: 42,271
Restrooms: 35
Home Dugout: 1st Base
Left Field Dimension: 328 feet
Right Field Dimension: 325 feet
Center Field Dimension: 404 feet
Date(s) of visit: 9/25/2003; 6/20/2009

The Civil Rights Game Pre Game Ceremony

Last Saturday I was lucky enough to end up at the Civil Rights Game in Cincinnati. I had three reasons to go. One was to see the Sox on another road trip. The second was to get a better look at the Great American Ballpark. The final reason was to do some star watching. Dignitaries from all walks of life were on hand to celebrate the occasion. Three of them won awards. The four that were featured in a pre game ceremony were Bill Cosby, Muhammad Ali, Hank Aaron, and Frank Robinson. Each of them received a special honor during the night. It was a thrill to see each of these men in person. Each of them has touched the lives of Americans in their own ways.

Muhammad Ali received the Beacon of change award for impacting society through words and actions. When he was at the top of his game Ali gave it all up to support his stance on the Vietnam war. He had to give up his title, and face jail time to do so. Ali has never been one to hold back, and this was no exception. Today Ali is a shell of his former self because of Parkinson’s disease. He really looked bad out on the field in his golf cart. From what I have read though he still has enough energy to wow you when you meet him. It was still a tremendous thrill to be able to see Ali in person. Even if it was from twenty some rows away with him in a golf cart.

Bill Cosby was the recipient of the Beacon of Hope award that is given to the person who influences our future through the support of children. Since his early days in television Bill has promoted family values. He has even gotten into rifts with today’s popular comics because they are too blue. I have been lucky enough to see Bill Cosby in a stand up setting. His encore act was the ‘Dentist’ routine from his HBO special ‘Bill Cosby Himself’ from the 1980′s. This was always one of my favorite comedy bits, and seeing it live was like seeing a classic rock band play their big hit. It turned a good show into a great show. Part of the reason that Ali looked so rigid may have been from the fact that Bill showed so much life. He was mugging from the second his cart left the center field tunnel. He made his way around the field in a Homestead Grays uniform giving the fans a show. The Reds players were huddled around his cart at the end getting some laughs in before the game. He is still an entertainer. The picture at the top of the post shows him standing in his cart giving the crowd a great view of him as he went around the stadium.

Hank Aaron was the final award winner. He received the Beacon of Life award which is given to the person whose life has been emblematic of the spirit of the Civil Rights movement. This is the man who overcame all to become the all time career leader in home runs. As he was introduced to the crowd they played a montage of his career highlights. When he was shown eclipsing the Babe’s record the crowd stood on their feet and cheered him on. I couldn’t help but wonder if that cheering session was for that accomplishment, or to show Selig that here was the REAL home run king. The juiced up fat head that broke it a few years ago should have his own record. Does that show how I feel about the record that Bonds currently holds? It was great to see the home run king sitting next to Ali. Here were two of the greatest in their sports on the same platform. Bud Selig gave him his award, and then disappeared into the crowd. Maybe he was going to rewrite the record books.
Frank Robinson was the final honoree. Each fan that entered the stands (the first 20,000 at least) received a replica 1964 Robinson jersey. He was relegated to the crowd during the Beacon award ceremony, but took center stage after that. He stepped to the mound with several former Negro League players to throw out the first pitch. As you can see by the picture he was letting another former Red Tony Perez know that the heat was coming. Frank still looks great for his age. I was amazed at how well he looked. His throw was a little off, but I am convinced that he was just going easy on Perez. Can’t hurt his hand for a first pitch can you? Frank is still giving back to baseball today. The Cincinnati crowd showed him a lot of love prior to the game. He rounded out the great pre game festivities. A lot of star power made the game seem kind of unimportant. At least until the first pitch.

Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum

As I said earlier in the week I really had no real plans on going to Cincinnati this weekend to see the Sox play. I wanted to, but it just didn’t seem like a reality. I had already been to the stadium, and going back is sometimes hard to justify. Then I read a very well timed post on the blog Mets Guy in Michigan about the Reds Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is basically attached to the stadium so why not go? Growing up in the eighties it was hard not to notice the Reds. They were not too far away from the Big Red Machine yet, and they were gearing up for the title runs at the end of the decade. It is literally impossible to list everything that is displayed in the museum here. I will try and highlight a few of the bright spots for me. This is a place that is worth the $10 to go and see. Your $10 admission fee covers any and all visits by you for the year, so if you live nearby it is well worth it.

Before you even pay you get to walk by bronze statues of the Wright brothers. No, not those Wright brothers. The important ones. Harry and George were basically the original Reds. They started up the first professional baseball squad. Darryl Brock has a couple of great novels set during those years called “If I Never Get Back,” and “Two In The Field.” The books are a little corny, but the baseball in them is worth the read. It was cool to see the statues as I walked in.

Right as you enter the museum you are flooded with memories from Crosley field. As I wandered around the first corner I heard a father telling his son about how dirty the White Sox are, and how they threw the World Series in 1919. In the case they were looking at was the last out game ball, and a ticket to the series along with some other great pieces of memorabilia.

I have every ticket stub from my games, and a decent ball collection so these two items really caught my eye. They ball is hard to read, and obviously very old but who would not want this in their collection. It is now safely preserved for generations to come. As you can see the ticket is in a card protector, and other than the tear from entry is in great shape. This is a part of the Sox history that I am not proud of, and it happened. As a sports junkie I want to see anything that pertains to my team good or bad. Seeing a matchup between these two teams ninety years later meant a lot more after looking into this case.

The next impressive portion of the case is the Pete Rose wall. They have dedicated an entire wall to “Charlie Hustle.” They have the ball that is shown on the left which signifies hit number one, and then the other 4,256 baseballs representing each of his major league hits. Most men would kill to get one Major League hit. Pete got that one, and then a few more. Certain balls are circled, and I wonder if they are the real deal. Earlier in the museum they had other artifacts from the day he broke Ty Cobb’s record.

This wall of baseballs really shows you what a feat that really was. If you look closely in the picture on the left you can see the reflection of the Rose garden located just outside the room with the wall. They have red roses planted out there with one white rose to signify the location where #4,192 landed. I saw #4,191 against the Cubs live on TV, and saw the highlights of the record breaker with most everyone else when it happened. It is almost impossible to get a good shot of the entire wall so I have included a half hearted attempt to the right. As you can see I still had about 1,000 hits over my head taking the picture. Despite everything that has transpired over the years I still love the way Pete played the game. It is just a shame the way he had to go out. I may have to tackle that in another post though.

Next up is the bronze tribute to the Big Red Machine. Just before you get to them though you get to see Sparky leaning on the rail of the dugout. This gives the fans a great opportunity to lean on the rail with Sparky and pose for some pictures. Just around the corner is the Glory Days room. The highlight of this room is the bronze statues of the ‘Great Eight’ players from that era. They are all there. Pete Rose, Ken Griffey Sr., Tony Perez, George Foster, Cesar Geronimo, Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, and Dave Concepcion.

The players are shown celebrating a big play while highlights of their accomplishments are shown in the background. This really was one of the best teams in the history of baseball. This is another great spot for fans to mix in with the Reds and get in on the celebration. If you use the right editing software at home you can bronze everything to really make it appear as if you are with the team. In the same room are the last three World Championship trophies. The trophies from 1975, 1976, and 1990 really look good in the room.

The ultimate Reds room is what every dedicated sports fan secretly wishes that they had in their house. This is a room dedicated to the Reds. Posters, bobbleheads, pictures, cereal boxes, pennants, and anything else that you can think to collect is in the room. They have a cool bar fully stocked with Reds memorabilia along with a nice big screen tv with the Reds on it. The picture to the left shows the bar, and gives you a little sample of what is in the room. Right as you go in to the right there is a picture of Ed Armbrister clearly interfering with Carlton Fisk during the 1975 World Series. It was not called that way, and the Reds went on to win that game and the World Series. This is a great room, and gives many men some bad ideas.

Finally we come to the Hall of Fame. This is a simple room with the plaques in the middle. The Hall of Fame only really existed in theory until the Reds opened the new park in 2003. I really enjoyed reading the plaques which are very similar to the ones at the Major League Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Some of the highlights for me are of course former Sox players Ted Kluszewski and Tom Seaver. Seaver came around with the White Sox at a time that I was very impressionable. He did not play there very long, but he did get his 300th win with them.

Big Klu was very much the same player. He was only with the Sox for two years, but one of those years was very successful (1959). He was the very definition of a slugger. His cutoff sleeves really showed off his huge arms. These are just two of the many Hall of Famers that are featured. Frank Robinson, Eric Davis, Harry Wright, George Wright, Johnny Bench, Tom Browning, Ernie Lombardi, Gus Bell, Johnny Van Der Meer, and Joe Morgan are just a few of the men enshrined. This is a great idea. If you listen to Joe Morgan nobody should be enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame anymore. Some players like Davis mean a tremendous amount to their team for a period of time, but do not have the numbers for Cooperstown. This is a great way to acknowledge their accomplishments.

Like I said earlier, it is impossible to talk about everything in the museum. It is something that you have to see for yourself. I have just covered a few things that really stuck out to me. If you are a Reds fan this is a must to visit. Heck I would say the same if you are a baseball fan in general. Some of the best moments in baseball history have involved the Reds. Stop stalling and go to the museum. While you are there walk inside the ball park and watch a game. You will have a day to remember. This is what a team Hall of Fame and Museum should be. After the 2005 season the Sox closed the little museum that they had by the gift shop ‘temporarily.’ It has never reopened. I loved going into it and seeing the history of my favorite club. It was small, but great. I have been wondering what happened to it for the last couple of season. Maybe an email to the right people will get me some answers. We need something like this at ‘the Cell.’ Part of the problem was the museum was only available to the lower level ticket holders. Maybe some of the sellout money from the naming rights could build something similar to this. This would fit in great over by gate one where nothing is really going on right now.