#Shortstops: Can you tell me how to get…
Baseball and American culture have been linked since before baseball was a professional sport.
The game has links to some of the most pivotal moments in American history as well as ties to the most well-known celebrities of all time. Baseball has its rightful place in literature, movies and music. This is all well-documented.
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Sesame Street, having celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019, is every bit a part of the American experience as baseball is, so it makes sense that the two would interact at various points during their lifetimes.
There have been Sesame Street sketches dedicated to baseball, as well as the occasional mention or wearing of baseball paraphernalia. Bear, a Muppet more famously of Bear in the Big Blue House, even appeared at some MLB games to throw out the first pitch and to interact with fans.
Jackie Robinson, Mookie Wilson, Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling, Dave Winfield, Art Shamsky, Ed Kranepool, Bo Jackson, Joe Torre, Matt Kemp, Albert Pujols… these Major League Baseball players include three Hall of Famers, numerous award winners, multiple World Series champions…and Sesame Street guests? That’s right!
These well-known names from baseball’s past and present are also a part of an exclusive club as being the only (through 2018) Major League Baseball players (and manager) to appear on the equally famous Sesame Street.
In the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s collection, you will find any number of fuzzy artifacts and TV snippets. However, the only piece in the collection as it relates to Sesame Street and baseball is a board peek-a-boo book from 1995, titled “Big Bird at Bat,” written by Sarah Albee and illustrated by Tom Brannon.
As a “peek-a-board” book, readers and listeners can follow the path of the baseball that Big Bird hits throughout the story. Ernie tries to catch it, but it goes over his head and out of the park. Home run, right? Not so fast. Cute, furry little monster Grover takes chase and follows the hard-hit ball through a pizza shop, a bakery, salon, billboard and even Elmo’s kite! Finally, after crashing through a wall, Grover closes in and…
Well, we don’t want to spoil the ending for you, but pick up a copy of the book to find out how it ends.
Cassidy Lent is the manager of reference services at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum