Traveling Exhibition Now Available
2022 - 2026
As baseball became our “National Pastime” in mid-19th century America, a new art— photography—was there to document the sport. From the grandeur of the early game to the vibrancy of today’s big league action, almost every facet of baseball has been captured in sepia, black-and-white and color.
Preserving the historic link between baseball and photography, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s collection of approximately 350,000 unique images is the world’s premiere repository of baseball photos, spanning well over 150 years of the sport’s history. The Museum’s Picturing America’s Pastime exhibition features a variety of these timeless pictures, many by distinguished photographers and each accompanied by an enriching and historic quote. Now the exhibit embarks on a national road trip, commemorating and celebrating the inextricably entwined worlds of baseball and photography by picturing America’s pastime.
Ty Cobb slides into third base by Charles M. Conlon - July 23, 1910.
Red Ruffing’s fastball grip by William C. Greene - c. 1938
Pages at the Washington Monument by unidentified photographer - March 25, 1922
Negro National League St. Louis Giants by James E. Miller - June 14, 1920
Joe Jackson by unidentified photographer - May 1916
Fans at the All-Star Game by unidentified photographer - July 30, 1962
Baseball tourists at the Sphinx by Jean Pascal Sébah - February 9, 1889
Carlton Fisk with the media by Doug McWilliams - October 7, 1975
Orestes “Minnie” Miñoso by Bob Lerner - August 29, 1951
While it may be cliché to say that a picture is worth a thousand words, it is also an understatement. They are really worth much more. Images tell stories that go well beyond words. And the honesty and immediacy of a very special type of image — the photograph — makes for a unique relationship between the picture and the history it records.
Baseball and photography grew up together, each becoming more refined and gaining in popularity during the mid-19th century. As the repository of our national pastime’s long history, it is only fitting that the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum should tour an exhibit highlighting its expansive photographic archives.
When preparations for the exhibit began in 2012, the Hall of Fame’s curatorial team faced the daunting task of choosing around 50 photographs from a collection of over 350,000 images. The team embraced the challenge, worked diligently for a number of months, and culled down the vast possibilities to a selection of a few hundred pictures. Further cuts proved grueling, as each photo seemed to beg for inclusion. The difficult process reinforced just how impressive the Hall’s photo archive is and ultimately resulted in a great exhibit, both on the wall and on “the cutting room floor.”
At the same time that selections were being made, curators also rigorously researched each photograph. Many of the images had never been thoroughly examined, and the work revealed undiscovered and interesting details that made for intriguing stories. Ultimately, our final choices for the exhibit were those photos of exceptional quality that told rich stories and helped show off the breadth and depth of the Hall of Fame’s unparalleled collection.
In 1924, American photographer Alfred Stieglitz wrote to novelist
“Yesterday afternoon as I went for the mail, the drugstore was filled with villagers listening to the Radio. Baseball. ... I was wondering, would a crowd of Americans ever stand before a picture of real value with a fraction of the enthusiasm spent on baseball?”
Perhaps they would, if the pictures were of baseball.
— Tom Shieber, Senior Curator
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
51 framed photo enlargements,
text panels, labels
- LIST OF WORKS WITH IMAGES -
- INSTALLATION GUIDE -
Exhibition Script and Crate Details
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as of 01/09/23
September 10 - December 31
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Long Island Museum
Stony Brook, NY
November 7 - January 15, 2024
February 7 - June 19
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August 26 - November 15
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