Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My Conversation With Frank Ceresi (Part Two)

As previously discussed, Frank Ceresi of FC Associates discussed with me some of the many Framed Displays that will be added to New Nationals Park, many of which--will be ready for March 30th--Opening Night. As we continue My Conversation, Frank is discussing items to be displayed honoring a great sports journalist. Our Washington Nationals have named their Press Box in the new stadium--The Shirley Povich Media Center, after the famed Washington Post Writer. Mr. Povich's work so renowned--he was inducted into the Press Wing of The National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Now, I have heard about that Shirley Povich Typewriter being displayed? (SBF)

“Yes, but not only are we getting the typewriter, but I appraised The Povich Family Collection—so I was able to meld it into this project. Also included will be his Fedora, The Original Score Sheet that—and this is just amazing to me—Povich filled out in the 1956 World Series Perfect Game. (Don Larson's—SBF). Yes, Don Larsen’s Perfect Game. And, his original scorebook from the very first year he covered The Senators for The Washington Post—which was 1924 (both of us chuckling—understanding the meaning). Coincidentally, the only year Washington won The World Series. So, I have the World Series Scorebook—scored by him—his personal one—for exhibit. I am very happy about that.”

What's going into The Nationals Locker Room? Any framed items? (SBF)

“Yes, that will be more contemporary Mitch Leighton stuff. Mitchell has shot for The Nationals over the past couple of years."

(Courtesy Jake McGuire--all rights reserved)

And, in the Visitors Clubhouse—we are going to have some GORGEOUS Jake McGuire photos. This man is a wonderful photographer. We thought it would be nice if the visitors might be interested in seeing other parts of Washington. I am telling you this stuff is SPECTACULAR!! Terrific shots of monuments, and other classic—vintage Washington known landmarks. Wonderful—WONDERFUL STUFF!!! Jack McGuire is the guys name.”

I take it there is a rather large budget to see this project through? (SBF)

“It’s pretty reasonable.”

"Courtesy of FC Associates (not to be reproduced without permission)"

What else can fans expect to see at Nationals Park? (SBF)

“Well, you are going to see peppered throughout the ballpark a lot of great historical images—that’s the bottom line.”

Speaking of historical images—are you actually working with the negatives from Sport Magazine? (SBF)

"Courtesy of FC Associates (not to be reproduced without permission)"

“Yes, we are working with the Sport Archives—but we are working with the original negatives—which is owned by a company called Sports Media—out of Canada. Many, many years ago—they bought the archives. Again, as it turned out—I had the opportunity to appraise it. Just look at THIS STUFF!

"Courtesy of FC Associates (not to be reproduced without permission)"
"Courtesy of FC Associates (not to be reproduced without permission)"

Larry Doby, Mantle with RFK. There is Musial—isn’t this just great. ‘Spahn and Sain—Pray for Rain.’ Jackie Robinson and Don Newcombe. Isn’t that great!! Isn’t that GREAT!! (Yes, we were enjoying looking over these wonderful photos together).

"Courtesy of FC Associates (not to be reproduced without permission)"

Now--I have heard about an Historical Timeline to be shown at Nationals Park? (SBF)

"Courtesy of FC Associates (not to be reproduced without permission)"

“Yes, we are going to do a Timeline. There will be four panels representing Baseball in Washington, DC. Each one of these panels are 10'X10'. They will be in two places. All four panels will layout over 40 feet. And, will be placed in both The Stars & Stripes Club and The Main Concourse. Duplicate Panels of four--on display in two separate locations. The First panel will cover 19th Century Baseball in DC. Pictures will include Swamp Poodle Grounds (The Old Washington Nationals Ballpark--on ground that currently houses Union Station.) A fabulous picture with The Capitol Building in the backdrop. Just Terrific!! Also, Civil War Baseball and an entire Washington Baseball card set from the 1880’s."

"1901 to the 1940's will include a photo of the last run of the 1924 Game 7 World Series, Josh Gibson, Ed Delehanty, Arch McDonald, Walter Johnson and long time Senators Owner Clark Griffith--with descriptions."

"Courtesy of FC Associates (not to be reproduced without permission)"

"1940’s through 1971 have some nice vintage photos. One of my favorites is a Luke Easter with Homestead Grays shot from Griffith Stadium, Bert Sheppard (one legged pitcher--he had a prosthetic), and Cecil Travis, among others. There is Emmet Ashford—who in 1966--worked RFK Stadium (then DC Stadium) for the first time as an African-American."

And finally--there will be a more contemporary panel--which is still in development."

Since these Timelines are still a work in progress--and subject to change--I could not take photos of The Timeline. But, I can pass on that the detail in the descriptions is very well done. The Pictures are not just the same old Black & Whites many have seen over and over again. An effort has been made to make The Washington Baseball History Timeline fresh and interesting to follow.

So--what else is planned for New Nationals Park--that you are involved in? (SBF)

"Courtesy of FC Associates (not to be reproduced without permission)"
"Courtesy of FC Associates (not to be reproduced without permission)"

"Well--let me think and put these in order. We have The Best of Sport Magazine Pictures, Presidential First Pitch, Congressman & Presidents playing baseball. A small exhibit of ‘Big Hitters’ (Washington Centric)-- including Washington Great Mickey Vernon holding his bat, as well as Roy Sievers, Harmon Killebrew, Bobby Allison and Jim Lemon—pointing their bats to the camera. A Very Nice Photo. Not only are we going to have two—four panel—timelines that deal specifically with Baseball in Washington--there will be a separate exhibit on The Homestead Grays. There is a separate history of The Washington Senators—moving forward in time to the more contemporary Washington Nationals."

"Courtesy of FC Associates (not to be reproduced without permission)"

There is a small exhibit entitled ‘Baseball Is Fun’—Generic Baseball Players in The Kids Area. Also, in the children party suites will be Baseball Movie Posters. ‘Pride of The Yankee’, I think ‘The Natural’, ‘Sandlot’, ‘Safe At Home’, 'The Jackie Robinson Story' and ‘Casey At Bat’—-two different versions. A few others, I just can’t recall off the top of my head.”

“We are going to have some T-3 Cards (Turkey Reds)—Huge 10 to 12 Foot Displays of Turkey Reds. The Turkey Reds will be Walter Johnson, and other Hall of Famers. There were no other Washington Players in that original card set. So, we have Nap Lojoie, Ty Cobb, and a few others included.”

“We will have a huge banner recognizing the six Washington Based Legends—Walter Johnson, Joe Cronin, Harmon Killebrew, Buck Leonard and Josh Gibson and Frank Howard. The Big, Big, Big BIG GUYS in DC Baseball History.”

"Courtesy of FC Associates (not to be reproduced without permission)"

And in the business suites—this is a separate thing--Historical and Pastoral Scenes—such as—an African American Ballplayer from the 19th Century. A Set of Old Judge Cards from the 1880’s—all Washington. Men and Women playing Baseball from the 1870’s in a picnic pastoral setting. The Washington Statesmen from the 1880’s playing at Swamp Poodle Grounds. The team, which Connie Mack actually played on. He was their catcher.”

For over 60 Minutes--Frank Ceresi patiently walked me--step by step--through the effort being made to highlight Washington Baseball History at New Nationals Park. Work enhancing the look and feel on South Capitol Street. In all likelihood, Memorabilia and other artifacts will be added later, as well as, some version of A Washington Baseball Hall of Fame.

As a life long Washingtonian--Its nice to know that Our Washington Nationals are making the effort to remember the rich baseball past of Our Nation's Capital. And important they found Frank Ceresi with the expertise and knowledge, to assist them, in making all this happen. For me, a full baseball experience is what its all about. After seeing some of these planned displays, I feel ever more confident that baseball fans and patrons attending any game at New Nationals Park will be given the rich opportunity to relive Washington's Baseball Past--while at the same time--experience the growth of the modern game--live and in person.

Many thanks to Frank Ceresi for sharing his thoughts and time with me.

1 comment:

SenatorNat said...

This is really quite exhaustive and should make the ball throughout a living museum, reminding folks by age of much, and educating most of almost all the lost history of MLB in Washington - where, of course, some small man in Baltimore has said: "There are no real baseball fans."

I wanted to offer a few hopes:
1. I hope that Mr. Ceresi is going to include a picture of JFK at the 1962 All-Star Game conversing with Stan Musial, when he uttered the famous line, to this effect: "They said that you were too old to be here, and I, too young, but here we are together at age 42!" And the 1970 Senators Yearbook cover, I believe, with an illustrated President Nixon throwing out the first ball: "Our Biggest Fan"

2. "Clowns and antics in Washington baseball history": featuring former Senators who actually performed as clowns - Al Schadt (?); plus antics like Jimmy Piersall climbing the foul pole in Baltimore when he played for the Senators to show the umps that a ball they called fair for a home run had actually gone foul - this, I believe, led to the implementation of the 3-D foul pole to make it easier for umpires to make that call.

3. The 2005-2007 Nationals?: are there going to be pictures from the first three seasons at RFK - I would presume, but I didn't catch any specific examples in these two write-ups..It would seem that despite some hurt feelings, one of the Walter Johnson styled portraits on a pillar or wall should be of Skipper Frank Robinson, for sure.

Trust in Jake McGuire - great photographer and all-around good guy. All Good.