Magazine article USA TODAY

Library of Congress to Host "Baseball Americana"

Magazine article USA TODAY

Library of Congress to Host "Baseball Americana"

Article excerpt

An exhibition celebrating baseball as community, including the people (from amateur players to professionals), diamonds (from city lots to rural fields), and places (across the globe, from Mexico to Japan) that have embraced the game will be on view at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. "Baseball Americana" will explore baseball's gritty roots, its changing traditions, and the game today.

Featured artifacts will include the first handwritten and printed references to baseball in America; early rules of the game; historical baseball images, including a lithograph of prisoners of war playing baseball in captivity during the Civil War and photographs from baseball throughout the decades; familiar players from some of the great collections of early baseball cards; Branch Rickey's scouting reports; early flickering footage from the late 1800s and beloved baseball movies; and broadcasts of iconic baseball moments and rare interviews and clips of Hall of Fame players, including Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson.

Original content developed in collaboration with ESPN will support the Library's collections. Statistical comparisons, game trends, video presentations, and intriguing stories will explore the art and science of baseball, bridging the game's storied past and exciting present

. Additional artifacts and video footage, borrowed from Major League Baseball, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., and private collectors have been selected to expand upon storylines developed from the Library's baseball materials

"Baseball has been part of our community from children playing in local ballparks to professional athletes playing in the country's biggest stadiums --and the Library's unique collection shows how the game and American society evolved together," says Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. "My childhood dream was to play shortstop before I found my calling at the Library. We're excited to offer visitors an immersive experience, exploring baseball in the past and now. I know I am."

The yearlong exhibition "Baseball Americana" will open in late June, just days before the 89th All-Star Game (July 17) at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The exhibition will tell the story of the game's origins, its contemporary character, as well as how the game has stayed true to its traditions and areas where it has diverged. It also will feature ongoing conversations and connections between baseball's rugged past and its refined present,

along with showing how baseball long has forged a sense of community. …

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