My heart soared. We were going to take another trip to The Baseball Hall of Fame. One of my favorite places on earth.
Just like the first trip to Upstate New York. I wanted to see the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Honus Wagner, Mickey Mantle, Ty Cobb and Yogi Berra. one more time.
What I saw that day has stayed with me at the depths of my being, to this very day. More about that later.
As we walked into the building in the spring of 1999 I was greeted by two giant size replicas of two great hitters Ted Williams and Babe Ruth. I loved seeing the Babe again. ‘My friend Babe Ruth. Hello. Hey Ted, you look pretty good.’ I remember saying.
I found it very interesting that I and most people (if you stood under seven foot five inches) would have to look up to see these two sculptured figures.
My wife and I strolled through the museum looking at the artifacts. We adored the old gloves, spikes, balls, bats and uniforms that were encased in their glass display bins. These items brought me back to a time and place before television, radar guns and luxury boxes. I was getting very nostalgic.
We soon entered the wing that housed the Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire artifacts. This Home Run Wing was abundant with Sosa and McGwire memorabilia. This was like being in a home run baseball fantasy park. There were huge posters of both men. There were posters of each man’s list of home runs.. When they hit them and what pitcher gave up that particular home run. There were bats they used in games and balls they hit over the fences Amazing. Never had two major league men hit so many home runs in one year. Upon leaving that wing I could not help but feel overwhelmed by the slugging feats of these two huge men. One a Cub and one a Cardinal.
We continued to stroll through the hall until we came up to a narrow wing that I did not remember from my previous visit. I looked down the left side of the corridor and saw a group of pictures. Hanging from wires, these colorful paintings were displayed at my eye level. Perfect for me. I had to see these pictures. I was compelled. to walk down this aisle. The first picture as I entered the area was of Babe Ruth. His bat was over his shoulder. His face was wrought with age. He looked a little old, a wee bit tired heavy and somewhat overweight. As I stared at the picture I got very sad. I could see that his career was about to end.
Next painting was of Lou Gehrig. A smiling Lou Gehrig. I felt so happy just to be in the presence of one of my all time heroes. Even if it was just a picture. Then there was one of Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams standing on the dugout steps Their bodies were angled toward each other. I enjoyed the joy they seemed to have just being there. Ready to play another game.
There were other paintings one of Jackie Robinson, another of Ty Cobb and another of Honus Wagner that I loved.
Gazing toward the end of the row of paintings I saw a glass case with what looked like a tan baseball glove inside. This seemed very weird in that all the players that were depicted in the paintings were from an era when dark brown gloves were used. . I felt confused. This mitt did not seem to belong here. I just had to see whose glove this was.
I could not believe my eyes. It was not a glove. It was a sculpture of a glove. Perfect in size. Detailed so exact that the grayish colored seams were complete in length width and color. The depth of this piece was ideal What this sculptor had captured amazed me. I thought about the time he invested in creating this piece. About how much this person must have loved baseball that he took the time to mold a piece equipment. I visualized he sitting in his workroom playing with clay to make this piece real.
I called my wife to come see this incredible piece. We both were moved. I even cried.
I was given a glimpse of one of the greatest pieces of art I had ever seen. I have been to major museums and have seen painting by Van Gough, Picasso, and Dahli ..I have seen the Thinker by Rodin. I have never been moved like I was by the glove.
Whenever I think of the Hall of Fame my mind jumps to the glove. I do not know if this piece is there any more. It did have a price tag of $8500 when I was there so it may have been moved.
But if you get the chance to see the glove I suggest you take a look.
Feel free to pass this on to anyone you think would enjoy reading about baseball or the Hall of Fame.