When it comes to baseball and upstate New York, Cooperstown has long been the center of the universe. But with opening day on the horizon, The Albany Institute of History and Art is getting into the game for the first time in its history. Three baseball exhibitions are open there now through the end of July, including Baseball: America’s Game, a traveling exhibition organized by Bank of America’s Art in Our Communities program; Play Ball: Baseball in the Capital Region; and The Clubhouse: Baseball Memorabilia.
Baseball in the Capital Region dates back to the 1860s, and the exhibits are home to sights and sounds of baseball here and around the world, both past and present. Around Albany, there’s a lot of baseball past, and this exhibit shines a light on the area’s semipro and Negro League teams, the Eastern League’s Albany Senators, whose home Hawkins Stadium saw Ruth, Gehrig and Yogi pass through, and other scraps of long-gone teams, players, fields and fans.
I recently took a guided tour on a day when two former minor leaguers from Albany’s past came to visit the artifacts they have on display; Frank Staucet and Albany Senators teammate Babe Daskalakis played in the same infield at old Hawkins Stadium 60 years ago.
Executive Director Tammis Groft says the museum looked to complement the touring Baseball: America’s Game with a local exhibit. My guides were Aine Leader-Nagy, the museum’s marketing associate, and Siena College student Andrew Lang, who worked on the exhibit as an intern and is continuing as a volunteer.
Triple Play: Baseball at the Albany Institute continues through July 26.