Baseball and the Funny Papers

Written by: Cassidy Lent

For a certain generation, there was nothing better than playing baseball and reading comic books. As early as 1901, the two found a home together, with baseball appearing in both comic strips and comic books.

The Hall of Fame Library is home to the Kurt Bloeser Comic Book Collection. This archive, donated by Kurt Bloeser between 2006-2008, has more than 100 different comic books, published between 1901 and 2006. It includes comic books on Hall of Famers, legendary players, and major league baseball teams.

Specifically, this collection contains issues of Baseball Superstars Comics, which covers Hall of Famers, such as Nolan Ryan, Rickey Henderson, and Cal Ripken Jr. Each addresses the life and career of these inductees, sharing personal moments as well as career milestones.

Also included are issues of Baseball Legends, which focuses on older Hall of Famers like Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson and Honus Wagner. About halfway through the Babe Ruth comic book, by Greg Fox, the story is told by Billy DeBronks, a fictitious newspaper boy turned reporter, who recounts Ruth’s life from his sale to the Yankees in 1920 until his death in 1948. The comic book about Jackie Robinson, also by Greg Fox, deals with the difficulties Robinson faced growing up and when integrating major league baseball.

There are also comic books about individual teams, like the Toronto Blue Jays. One comic comes from the Jr. Jays and is entitled Jr. Jays’ Guide to the Universe. The issue includes an A-Z guide of the Jr. Jays universe that had been created in these comics. It features different locations in Canada, children who are fans of the Blue Jays, as well as Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, who first launched the Jr. Jays Magazine in 1993.

This collection is available for viewing in the Giamatti Research Center. Please contact the reference desk to schedule an appointment one to two weeks in advance ( or 607-547-0330).

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