We don’t have any record of Ruth actually using the original during a game. But what I think we will find is that when someone has the chance to go through the 1920’s spring training newspapers—I am betting they are going to find that Babe Ruth used a bat like this to warmup. Instead of using three bats in the on deck circle, he was experimenting with this as his practice club. The one he swings around to get ready."
That bat so gigantic and heavy it even made me look smaller. How could anybody swing that thing and consistently make contact? Remarkable.
Did you know? New York Yankee great Elston Howard invented the doughnut weight--which became a standard for all batters getting ready to hit in the late 1950's/early 1960's? True.
During our tour, Mr. Odell happened to pass by the office of Mary Bellaw--Assistant Registrar of the Museum. The timing could not have been better as Ms. Bellaw was working on a very special project.
In 1913, the Philadelphia Game Manufacturing Company (then located at 337 North 3rd Street) produced a home baseball game for fans and kids. All 16 Major League Teams from those days were included. The early version of Strat-O-Matic not only featured a full color stadium, but scoreboard, lineup cards, wooden players--color coded to set on the field or on the bench--and even umpires. This particular game still had its patents pending. Later versions--according to Ms. Bellaw--did not include the game box graphics with professional players. Instead, the game was produced with generic baseball graphics so not to restrict the product to those players or those years. In fact, for 25 cents, new lineup cards could be purchased from the Philadelphia Game Manufacturing Company by filling out a mailer included with every game.
John Odell: "This is the early version of Strat-O-Matic where you spin the wheel. But Strat-O-Matic was unique in that it was created with a spinner unique for each player. So if someone was a home run hitter, he's more likely to hit a home run in Strat-O-Matic. But here, every player has the same chances in this game. But it's just a beautiful game."
Which brings us to the rest of the story.
Mary Bellaw: "We got an email from a Philadelphia area man. He used to play this game at his grandparents house. And he just inherited the board game but he doesn't have all the lineup cards. So he asked if we could make copies to send him so he can continue playing the game with his family. I just scanned these for him and we are going to send them along."
How ironic that as we came across Ms. Bellaw and her work with this game in her office--she's working with the 1913 Washington Nationals featuring--Walter Johnson. Totally by chance.
Inside the Memorabilia Vault, we found Museum Associate (Education Wing) Sara Degaetano returning items out for research, educational usage or photo shoots back to stock. Every single item must be accounted for at all times. And every single item must be handled while wearing white gloves to protect the integrity of the artifact.
|Original Wooden Whiffle Ball Bat With Whiffle Ball In Original Packaging|
|Acid Free Storage Boxes With Acid Free Paper|
John Odell: "For the most part, dirt stains from a uniform of Rickey Henderson sliding is integral to the story of that jersey. You want to be able to keep that. There is always a fine line of maintaing the history of the piece while also making sure the jersey will not self-destruct. But what we've found out is that if a uniform has champagne stains on it, over time, those stains will set in and change the color and material of the uniform. So in that case, we will clean that up--if the uniform is directly related to an historic moment from a game. But you want to make sure you don't wash out that moment."
"Perfect example: Before Mariano Rivera was Mariano Rivera, he was John Wetteland's setup man with The New York Yankees. If I remember rightly, John Wetteland was the first closer to save four World Series games in the same year--and we got his jersey (1996). Now it's all blotched. The champagne has set in. I don't know how long it took to get to that level of degradation, but it's a good example of the dilemma we sometimes face."
Other highlights from our tour:
|Rare Ball Balanced Bat From Louisville Slugger Made From 1905-1910|