Upcoming Albany Institute of History and Art exhibition to feature baseball, local and national

Many years ago, when I was clearing out most of my accumulated collections in the wake of my divorce, I bundled up boxes of Albany-based scorecards and game programs and memorabilia, all for donation to the Albany Institute of History and Art for their records and archives.

The other day, I heard from Tammis Groft, the Institute’s Executive Director, that a new AIHA exhibit in 2015 will encompass baseball’s long and storied history; and, as part of the exhibit, they’re looking for anyone who is willing to donate or lend baseball memorabilia for a special exhibit on the Capital District’s local baseball history.

From the press release:

The Albany Institute of History & Art is devoting its galleries, educational programs, and family events to our great history, heritage and love for baseball with our exciting new exhibit: Triple Play! Baseball at the Albany Institute.

Triple Play! Baseball at the Albany Institute includes three separate exhibitions on the main floor

Baseball: America’s Game organized by the Bank of America is drawn from their collection of nationally significant baseball materials.  This multimedia exhibition features more than 90 photographs, illustrations, objects, and audio and video clips that bring to life the history of the American sport that has provided common ground and decades of enjoyment for fans across the nation.

The Clubhouse organized by the Albany Institute is a community-based exhibition that will include baseball memorabilia from teams coast to coast.

Play Ball! Organized by the Albany Institute is a community based exhibition that highlights the history of baseball in the Capital Region. Materials will be drawn from the Institute’s collection as well as loans from area collectors.  Key to this story is the Twilight League.

The history of the Albany Twilight League is intertwined into the fabric of our area’s baseball heritage. From its earliest days in 1930, the ATL has always provided venue in the Capital Region for ballplayers to display their talent and love for the game before a hometown crowd. Following the disbandment of the Senators in 1959, the Albany Twilight League became the area’s chief venue for organized baseball. Founded in 1930, the league got its name from its propensity to begin games in the evening—illuminated by the sunset—until 1958, when lights were installed at the league’s home at Bleecker Stadium, bringing forth an exciting new time of night baseball for the community. From its earliest days, the ATL has been a venue for amateur and college players to play before a hometown crowd, and is today the oldest continuous amateur baseball league in the United States.

In recognition and appreciation of this legacy, Albany Institute would like your help to identify and borrow materials related to the ATL for the Play Ball! Exhibition or coast to coast materials for the Clubhouse exhibition..  

In you have materials that you are willing to loan to the Pay Ball! or The Clubhouse exhibitions, please contact

Tammis Groft,

Executive Director of the Albany Institute of History & Art

Grofttk@albanyinstitute.org or 518-463-4478

So I went back to my sports memorabilia collection – okay, what’s left of my sports memorabilia collection – and in the next day or two, I’ll be dropping off some treasures from the 1949 Albany Senators baseball team, including a game program, a team-signed baseball, and an autographed newspaper clipping from a game the Senators played against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates.

And if you’ve acquired some baseball treasures from the Capital District’s baseball history – maybe you have a bat signed by one of the Albany-Colonie Yankees; perhaps you have a game-worn uniform from the Tri-City ValleyCats; or perhaps there’s an old Schenectady Blue Jays baseball jersey in your family’s old storage trunk – you should contact the Institute and offer the treasure for display in the exhibition.

I’ve worked with and donated to the Institute in the past.  Not only have they received my sports memorabilia collection; they’ve also received all the archives from the “dumpster dives” in saving the history of my high school before it closed forever.  They know what they’re doing and their exhibitions are top-notch.

Hey, you never know.  You might have that one item that will make the upcoming exhibition stand out.

So step up to the plate, why don’tcha.

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