Most sports fans and collectors are well aware of the locations for the Hall of Fame’s pertaining to America’s four major sports: Canton, Ohio (football), Cooperstown, New York (baseball), Springfield, Massachusetts (basketball), and Toronto, Ontario (hockey). However, when it comes to sports and collecting, there are several smaller points of interest ideal for either a summer road trip or adding to an already-planned vacation. Here is a rundown of some museums and exhibits that are sure to add fun to any of your future travel plans.
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Sports Legends Museum
301 West Camden Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Located a short walk from Camden Yards, home to MLB's Baltimore Orioles, the Sports Legends Museum provides a look at some of the greatest player across multiple sports. A special emphasis is placed on those athletes that have played for teams in Maryland. In addition, the museum looks at how historic events helped to shape the landscape of sports in the region.
Little World Series Museum
525 Route 15 Highway
South Williamsport, PA 17702
The Little League World Series Museum is home to the world’s largest youth sports program The Museum not only documents the long and well established history of the event and youth baseball in general ,but also how it has helped influence and shape U.S. and world history. Dynamic exhibits that incorporate artifacts, images, and interactive multimedia will entertain and educate even the most knowledgeable baseball historian.
Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum
356 Field St.
Greenville, SC 29601
The Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and Baseball Reference Library is the definitive source for all things Joe Jackson. The museum itself is housed in the actual home that Jackson lived and, eventually, died in. Few places designed to preserve history for posterity's sake can claim such status. In further tribute, the house number itself is 356, which not so coincidentally is Jackson's lifetime batting average. While Cooperstown may be home to more artifacts of the legendary hitter, the library, museum and its staff have a deeper connection to Jackson's life and his accomplishments than any mere relic can tell.
National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame
1431 W Taylor St.
Chicago, IL. 60607
Founded by a long-time collector of Italian descent, the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame was designed to pay tribute and permanently preserve and showcase the achievements of Italian-Americans athletes in a wide variety of sports. Housed in what remains of Chicago's original Little Italy neighborhood, visitors can enjoy a fine dining experience at one of the neighborhoods many remaining restaurants.
Louisville Slugger Museum
800 W Main St.
Louisville, KY 40202
The Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum is home to the long-time bat manufacturer of the same name. Visitors can tour the production facility, get their own personalized bat, visit exhibits celebrating the game's history and even handle bats used by such legendary players as Mickey Mantle, Derek Jeter and Cal Ripken Jr. The museum is home to hundreds of pieces of baseball memorabilia including Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hit streak bat. Visitors can view and touch the Signature Wall that depicts the thousands of names that the company has burned into bat barrels through the years.
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
1616 E 18th St
Kansas City, MO 64108
By simply visiting the museum you can help right one of baseball's greatest wrongs, segregation. Denied entry into Major League Baseball for decades, Negro League players, who were often just as talented as their MLB counterparts, were forced to play in secondary leagues. While a travesty in and of itself, the presence of these leagues eventually paved the way for what we know today as some of the game's all-time greatest players like Willie Mays, Satchel Paige, Hank Aaron and, of course, Jackie Robinson, just to name a few. Visitors will be surprised just how many eventual major league players got their start in the Negro Leagues. The 10,000 square-foot facility houses thousands of pictures, artifacts and memorabilia, as well as some truly entertaining multimedia displays.
Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum
216 Emory Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
While he may be best known as a Yankee. the Sultan of Swat was first and foremost a native son of Baltimore. An orphan at an early age, the museum chronicles Ruth's early life and pays tribute to his herculean achievements. Visitors will be immersed in the several exhibits that provide a rich and detailed history of the man beloved by many and simply known as The Babe.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 5th Ave
New York City, NY 10028
Home to one of the greatest collection of baseball cards ever assembled, the Met is home to the prestigious Jefferson Burdick collection. Burdick's lifelong work to catalog all early tobacco, gum, candy and caramel cards, gave birth to what collectors know today as the American Card Catalog. Many collectors refer to the Burdick Collection as the hobby's version of Mecca. Right in the heart of Manhattan, collectors can view cards that they have only read or heard about.
1000 Jefferson Dr SW
Washington D.C. 20004
While most people are aware that America's Smithsonian is the largest museum in the world, many are not aware that it houses exhibits tied to athletic achievement as tied to our country's overall history. Visitors are encouraged to research available subject matter prior to arrival as the Smithsonian has an extensive Traveling Exhibit Program.
Baseball Wax Museum
99 Main St
Cooperstown, NY 13326
Think the world famous Madame Tussuad's Wax Museum in Hollywood with an exclusive baseball flair. The wax museum is a perfect side trip to your outing to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Filled with life-sized replicas of some of the game's most important players, visitors will think they've walked back in time as they immerse themselves in the museums unique look at baseball history.
Baseball Heritage Museum
530 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44145
The game of baseball draws on rich traditions from multiple cultures and aspects of American history. The Baseball Heritage Museum tells the untold stories of players from the Latin and Caribbean Leagues, the Industrial Leagues and the Women's Leagues that have helped influence and shape baseball culture in America. The diverse history of the game of baseball cannot be told simply within the hallowed halls of Cooperstown. The Baseball Heritage Museum celebrates the diversity of cultures and their impact on the game itself. Visitors will have access to hundreds of previously unseen documents, relics, artifacts and memorabilia. Just a short visit from where the Cleveland Indians play, the museum makes a great pre-game stop.
Field of Dreams
28995 Lansing Road
Dyersville, Iowa 52040
Ask any baseball fan from what movie the line, "If you build it, they will come." is taken from and you know whether they are a true fan based on their answer. The movie, made famous for it's all-American theme of baseball and familial relationships, has a renowned cast of actors including James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta and of course, Kevin Costner. The movie site is home to the actual baseball diamond, stands, corn fields, and home depicted in the movie. Visitors are encouraged to call or go to the website to view a calender of upcoming events. It's best to go in the late summer or early fall when the corn is tall.
Gold & Silver Pawn Shop
713 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Don't expect to walk in and just see the cast behind the counter. Fame changes everything, but they still own and operate the business. While Rick, Corey, Chum and the Old Man may be behind the scenes somewhere, they do come out to meet customers, take pictures and sign autographs. Even if you visit and they are not doing the meet and greet thing, you can still see dozens of the sports collectible and related items that have been featured on the TV show.
USA Baseball National Training Complex
200 Brooks Park Ln
Cary, NC 27519
Open whenever there is an actual on-site event, the training complex also is home to USA Baseball Team Store, which is filled with commemorative and replica USA baseball gear. Other points of interest include kiosks and information on current events, alumni and more. Be sure to check the calender of events prior to travel.
United States Hockey Hall of Fame
801 Hat Trick Ave
Eveleth, MN 55734
While the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto is the definitive museum of the sport, the USA Hockey Hall of Fame pays tribute to players, coaches, owners and officials that have influenced the sport here in the states. By no means is inclusion in this HOF a consolation prize. The proud tradition and history of Canada's national sport here in the States has an important place in the annals of hockey history and the facility in Minnesota preserves and showcases that for fans and patrons.
Do you have other places that would make a good destination or side trip for collectors? If so leave details in the comments field and we'll add it to the map.
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