The Baseball Heritage Museum in Cleveland focuses on preserving the history of the game outside of the major leagues. The sport we enjoy today as America's National Pastime finds its origins more in grassroots and upstart leagues and organizations than the monolith known as today's MLB. The museum was the creation of long-time fan and collector Robert Zimmer. His personal collection focuses on the Negro Leagues, women's leagues, Caribbean leagues, as well as industrial and barnstorming leagues.
Initially used as a marketing tool for his downtown Cleveland jewelry store, the one-day event captured so much interest and buzz that, with the help of Vern Fuller, they developed a plan to lease space in the historic Colonial Marketplace district and bring the story of baseball outside the majors to life. Fuller is a former Indians infielder and the museum's executive director.
A short walk from Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians, the proximity provides a nice flow of baseball patrons attending games who are often surprised to find such a museum in their own backyard. Regarded as one of baseball's and Cleveland's best-kept secrets, the museum offers fans and collectors a vast array of memorabilia from the game's early days. It provides a rich history lesson of the game long before free agency, night games, designated hitters, multi-million dollar contracts, divisional playoffs and the Wild Card.
The museum opened in May 2006 with former players like Bob Feller and Buck O'Neill attending. Both players were instrumental in the museum's success and were generous with their time. Prior to his passing, Feller could often be seen regaling fans with stories from his playing days. A generous assortment of Louisville Slugger mini-bats, are available to children, while supplies last. The museum shop offers autographed items from both Feller and O'Neill.
The Baseball Heritage Museum recently paid tribute to Bob Feller and celebrated the 75th anniversary of his debut season in Cleveland with a special event this past Saturday, August 27th. The event featured author Morris Eckhouse, hosting an interactive look back over Feller's Hall of Fame career.
Teachers and educators also have lots of information available to them through the museum's education and learning center. You can learn more about the museum including traveling exhibits and other events at their website.