2020 Baseball Exhibits

Rube Foster in 1924. Foster was instrumental in the founding of the Negro National League in  1920

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues, so keep an eye out for events commemorating various teams. Several museums – including the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the Yogi Berra Museum – have announced plans for special exhibits. In addition to honoring the Negro Leagues, many museums across the country have announced baseball exhibits for 2020:

Other museums/exhibits of note:

  • Jackie Robinson Museum, opening in 2020
  • The Smithsonian’s traveling exhibit, Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America, will be on display in various locations in Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington in 2020
  • Autumn Glory, currently at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, has artifacts from the Washington Nationals’ championship season and World Series win

Let me know if you check out any of these events!

~ baseballrebecca





Baseball at the American History Museum

On the second floor of the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, is an exhibit called, “American Stories.” According to the museum’s website, in this exhibit, visitors “[f]ollow a timeline of American history through objects that highlight both new and familiar stories.” What makes this exhibit particularly interesting is that at the entrance of the exhibit, is a display case containing a glove, cap, and cleats that Willie Mays wore during his time with the San Francisco Giants. According to the museum’s curator of popular culture and sports:

‘When someone sees these items, there are three things that he or she should take away.  That Mays was a great baseball player, that Mays was African-American, and that, with the Barack Obama quote which is included with the exhibit, that Mays was important to many Americans. When President Obama presented Willie Mays with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015, Obama said that it was ‘because of giants like Willie that someone like me could even think of running for president.’’

The artifacts on display in the “American Stories” exhibit are part of a much larger baseball collection maintained by the museum. Though a small portion of the current exhibits at the museum, it is great to see baseball represented – especially when the exhibit includes one of the greats, like Willie Mays!

~ baseballrebecca



Films on Friday: The Hickok Belt

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I mentioned the Hickok Belt, which was an award presented to the best athlete in the United States. Check out the video below, which was created to publicize the book on the subject that was published in 2010. The video shows footage of baseball greats – including Brooks Robinson and Frank Robinson – with their Hickok Belts.


Happy Friday!

~ baseballrebecca




The Hickok Belt

File:Phil Rizzuto 1953.jpg

Phil Rizzuto, ca. 1953, first winner of the Hickok Belt

Yesterday, in my post about Bob Turley, I mentioned that he won the Hickok Belt in 1958. But what is the Hickok Belt?

The S. Rae Hickok Professional Athlete of the Year award, or Hickok Belt, was awarded from, 1950 to 1976 to the top professional athlete in the United States. The award was created to honor Stephen Rae Hickok, the founder of the Hickok Manufacturing Company of Rochester, NY, which made belts. Hence, the “trophy” was a belt made of alligator skin with a solid gold buckle encrusted with a 4 carat diamond and 26 gem chips. It was valued at $10,000.

Because it was given for the best athlete in any sport, the Hickok Belt was referred to as, “Kind of like an Oscar, a Tony and an Emmy all rolled into one,” by Scott Pitoniak, author of a book on the award. Brooks Robinson called it, “the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for sports” and Carl Yastrzemski called it “the greatest tribute paid any athlete.”

In the 27 years the Hickok Belt was awarded initially, the majority of the winners were baseball players. In fact, the award was given to 15 baseball players, 5 football players, 4 boxers, and 3 golfers. The first winner of the belt was Phil Rizzuto of the New York Yankees. In addition to Rizzuto and Turley, baseball players who won the award include Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, Frank Robinson, and Brooks Robinson. The complete list appears below.

File:Madison Bumgarner on September 3, 2013.jpg

Madison Bumgarner, winner of the 2014 Hickok Belt, pictured here in 2013. Photo by SD Dirk, via Wikipedia

In 2012, Tony Liccione, the president of the Rochester Boxing Hall of Fame, reinstated the award, which is now based on a vote by the National Sports Media Association. One athlete is chosen each month and the 12 winners are then eligible for the award at the end of the year. Since the award was reinstated, only two baseball players have won the yearly award: Madison Bumgarner and Jose Altuve.

Who will win this year?

~ baseballrebecca



Hickok Belt Winners

Year Winner Sport
1950 Phil Rizzuto Baseball
1951 Allie Reynolds Baseball
1952 Rocky Marciano Boxing
1953 Ben Hogan Golf
1954 Willie Mays Baseball
1955 Otto Graham Football
1956 Mickey Mantle Baseball
1957 Carmen Basilio Boxing
1958 Bob Turley Baseball
1959 Ingemar Johansson Boxing
1960 Arnold Palmer Golf
1961 Roger Maris Baseball
1962 Maury Wills Baseball
1963 Sandy Koufax Baseball
1964 Jim Brown Football
1965 Sandy Koufax Baseball
1966 Frank Robinson Baseball
1967 Carl Yastrzemski Baseball
1968 Joe Namath Football
1969 Tom Seaver Baseball
1970 Brooks Robinson Baseball
1971 Lee Trevino Golf
1972 Steve Carlton Baseball
1973 O. J. Simpson Football
1974 Muhammad Ali Boxing
1975 Pete Rose Baseball
1976 Ken Stabler Football
2012 LeBron James Basketball
2013 LeBron James Basketball
2014 Madison Bumgarner Baseball
2015 Stephen Curry Basketball
2016 Michael Phelps Swimming
2017 Jose Altuve Baseball
2018 Patrick Mahomes Football


Detroit v. Almendares

File:José Méndez 1924.jpg

Jose Mendez in 1924

On this date in 1910, the Detroit Tigers defeated the Almendares Club while on a tour in Cuba. Known as the American Series, these exhibition games were part of post-season tours of Major League teams against professional, all-star, and amateur teams in Cuba that took place in 1879, 1891, and much of the first half of the 20th Century. The 1910 games featured Tigers’ stars Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford and future Negro Leaguer Jose Mendez pitching for Almendares. Also participating that year were the Philadelphia Athletics and Habana. The Tigers had the best record of the Series that year, winning 7 games and losing only 4.

~ baseballrebecca




Nippon Professional Baseball

File:NPB logo.svgSeventy years ago today, the Japanese Baseball League (JBL) was reorganized into Nippon Professional Baseball, which consists of two leagues: the Central League and the Pacific League. The Central League was initially comprised of four teams from the JBL, the Chunichi Dragons, the Hanshin Tigers, the Yomiuri Giants, and the Shochiku Robins, and four new teams, the Hiroshima Carp, the Kokutetsu Swallows, the Nishi Nippon Pirates, and the Taiyo Whales.

The Pacific League, originally known then as the Taiheiyo Baseball Union, included four JBL teams, the Hankyu Braves, the Nankai Haws, the Daiei Stars, and the Tokyo Flyers, and three new teams, the Kintetsu Pearls, the Mainichi Orions, and the Nishetetsu Clippers. The Yomiuri Giants, Hanshin Tigers, and Chunichi Dragons are the only teams still playing in the original JBL cities.

~ baseballrebecca




Ed-die! Ed-die!


Eddie Murray with the Orioles in 1983

On this date in 1977, Baltimore Orioles first baseman, Eddie Murray, was named Rookie of the Year. Murray played for the O’s from 1977 to 1988. He also played for the Dodgers (1989-91), Mets (1992-93), Indians (1994-96), and Angels (1997). Murray also had return stints with the Orioles in 1996 and with the Dodgers in 1997.

The other Baltimore Orioles to be named Rookie of the Year were:

  • 1960: Ron Hansen
  • 1965: Curt Blefary
  • 1973: Al Bumbry
  • 1977: Eddie Murray
  • 1982: Cal Ripken, Jr.
  • 1989: Gregg Olson

~ baseballrebecca