Hall of Fame Artifacts on Exhibit at Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Whether it’s a home run or home delivery, the ties between baseball and the United States Postal Service date back more than 100 years.
The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum will celebrate this bond with a new exhibit: “Baseball: America’s Home Run”, featuring several artifacts on loan from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown.
The exhibit, which opens to the public April 9, explores the national pastime through a unique, postal lens. Using material from the National Postal Museum’s unparalleled collection, original stamp art from the U.S. Postal Service and artifacts loaned by other Smithsonian museums, private collectors and the Hall of Fame, the exhibition explores the surprising ways that baseball and postal history have been deeply intertwined since the early 20th century.
“We are honored to collaborate with the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum for this look at two uniquely American traditions,” said Josh Rawitch, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “The Hall of Fame’s collection features more than 40,000 three-dimensional artifacts and three million Library documents, many of which tell the story of baseball’s interactions with the U.S. Postal Service. In bringing these artifacts to our nation’s capital, we are able to share with an even greater audience the connection between baseball and this institution that grew America.”
Items that will be on exhibit from the Hall of Fame’s collection include:
- Picture postcard from Hall of Famer Rube Foster from 1911
- Catcher’s mitt used by U.S. Armed Forces members during World War I
- Tea kettle painted to resemble a baseball used to serve fans during military operations in Afghanistan
- Nap Lajoie bat used by U.S. Armed Forces members in World War I
- Bat used by U.S. citizens detained in Bad Nauheim, Germany, for games during World War II
- Chair used by Postmaster General James Farley in his box at Yankee Stadium in 1923
- Letters to former Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis
“The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has been extremely generous in lending material that helps us showcase baseball's history through the mail,” said Daniel Piazza, chief curator of the National Postal Museum. “From protest letters written by fans who wanted to see baseball racially integrated to the unique story of a former baseball player who offered pitching lessons by mail in the early 1900s, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has added depth and context to this exhibition that would not have been possible otherwise.”
The exhibit will be on display at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, 2 Massachusetts Ave. N.E., Washington, D.C., through Jan 5, 2025. Additional Hall of Fame artifacts will be rotated onto the exhibit in the coming months.