A Swing Through History: New Exhibit Exploring Cricket and Baseball Debuts Sunday at Hall of Fame

‘Swinging Away’ a Collaborative Effort Between Legendary Museums

April 12, 2011
Swinging Away:How Cricket and Baseball Connect will open this Sunday. (Marylebone Cricket Club)

COOPERSTOWN, NY – The nation's only varsity collegiate cricket team is coming to Cooperstown this weekend to pay a visit to the nation's most celebrated Hall of Fame.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum unveils its newest exhibit on Sunday, April 17, with the opening of Swinging Away: How Cricket and Baseball Connect. As part of the celebration, Haverford College's cricket team will visit the Hall of Fame, participating in hands-on demonstrations and presentations for fans of all ages.

Cricket meets baseball in an historic exploration of the relationship between two of the world's most popular sports in Swinging Away's exclusive American exhibition. Swinging Away is the first major Museum exhibition dedicated to exploring the roots of both sports and their relationship, featuring game-used equipment from historic moments in both sports, while delving into the origins, history and cultural impact each holds on its respective nations where the games are most revered.

Created in conjunction with the Marylebone Cricket Club of London, Swinging Away will be on display in Cooperstown through February 2012, in its lone visit to North America, following a successful run during the summer of 2010 at MCC, the world's most famous cricket club.

"Swinging Away captures cricket's rich history along side baseball's evolution into America's National Pastime," said Jeff Idelson, President, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. "Just as baseball fans make the pilgrimage to Cooperstown to experience the spiritual journey in tracing baseball's past, so too do cricket fans in making their way to Lord's in London, to experience the home of cricket. By collaborating on this exhibit with MCC and bringing these treasures to Cooperstown, we are providing fans throughout North America the opportunity to view cricket's glorious history, while learning more about the relationship between these two pastimes."

The exhibit reveals some remarkable surprises, dispels some cherished convictions and sets out for the first time to explore these two great bat and ball sports side by side. The collection includes uniforms and equipment worn by the biggest names of each sport, including as Derek Jeter and Andrew Flintoff, Bengie Molina and Adam Gilchrist, Kumar Sangakkara, Paul Collingwood, Robin Wallace and Charlotte Edwards and Shahid Afridi.

"The exhibit examines the relationship between the sports," said Tom Shieber, the senior curator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and advisor to the Marylebone Cricket Club for the exhibit. "It will break down many of the myths for people who are unfamiliar with cricket, and even with baseball."

Additionally, dozens of artifacts which have never before left the prestigious C.C. Morris Cricket Library and Collection in Haverford, Pa., will be a part of the exhibition in Cooperstown, furthering the study of the two sport's equipment, rules and laws, key historical moments, and more.

Haverford College plays cricket at tournaments and festivals and against club teams across the nation. Cricket is Haverford's oldest sport.

All of Sunday's events are included with Museum admission. A schedule of Sunday's events is as follows:

10 a.m. - Noon Hands-On History Presentations – Cricket Connections
Location: Swinging Away Exhibit, 3rd Floor

1 p.m. Official Ribbon Cutting for Swinging Away
Location: Swinging Away Exhibit, 3rd Floor

2 p.m. History of Haverford College Varsity Cricket
Bullpen Theater, 1st Floor

3 p.m. Hands-On Cricket Demonstrations
Location: Learning Center, 1st Floor

4 p.m. Cricket and Baseball Trivia
Bullpen Theater, 1st Floor

The celebration of cricket and baseball will continue all summer in Cooperstown. Plans will be announced soon for the Hall of Fame's Cricket Weekend, June 3-5.

Among the treasures featured in the Swinging Away exhibit:

  • Rare touring jerseys including one in which Casey Stengel met King George V in 1924 and a unique poster of the first truly global baseball tour organized by Hall of Famer Albert Spalding in 1888
  • Baseball bats used by Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds
  • One of the oldest crickets bat ever discovered alongside the most recent 'Mongoose' and the new experimental colored cricket balls
  • Rare photographs and personal items belonging to America's greatest cricketer, J 'Bart' King, a 'Gentleman of Philadelphia' and to Hall of Famer Harry Wright – a cricketer and early baseball star and manager of the Cincinnati Red Stockings

Swinging Away will be featured on the third floor of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, and admission to the exhibition is included with Museum admission.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is open seven days a week year round, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. The Museum observes regular hours of 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. from Labor Day until Memorial Day Weekend. From Memorial Day through the day before Labor Day, the Museum is open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. seven days a week. Ticket prices are $19.50 for adults (13 and over), $12 for seniors (65 and over) and for those holding current memberships in the VFW, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion and AMVets organizations, and $7 for juniors (ages 7-12). Members are always admitted free of charge and there is no charge for children 6 years of age or younger. For more information, visit our Web site at baseballhall.org or call 888-HALL-OF-FAME (888-425-5633) or 607-547-7200.