Halls of Game

Sometimes it seems the entire nation has gone sports mad. Especially kids. So on your way to a family reunion or for a refreshing pit stop, or those looking for fun activities at a reunion, consider museums dedicated to the heroes of sport.

For fans of the national pasttime, there’s the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, established in 1939. Each year in late July or early August, Cooperstown’s population swells for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which includes a game between two major league teams. The museum includes exhibits about the World Series, evolution of the baseball uniform, ballparks, umpires, the baseball card industry, the minor leagues and baseball sheet music.
The baseball hall of fame is open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. For more information contact 25 Main, Cooperstown NY 1326; 607-547-7200.

For those traveling west, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum recently opened its doors in Kansas City. The museum occupies 50,000 square feet, and includes a timeline of historical photographs and artifacts, a movie theater, interactive computer stations, and “Heroes of the Game,” a tribute to the stars of the Negro leagues. The facilities also house the Kansas City Jazz Museum. Contact 1601 E 18th St. Kansas City MO 64108; 816-221-1920.

If you’d rather pass, punt and kick, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, is home to some of the most famous names in American sports history. All 189 members of the hall are honored with a bronze bust, an illustration back-lit behind Plexiglas and a brief biography. Members include the likes of Y.A. Tittle, Red Grange and Jim Thorpe. Contact 2121 George Halas Dr NW, Canton OH 44708; 330-456-8207; www.profootballhof.com.

The Midwest is also home to the new College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana, home to past pigskin greats such as Knute Rockne, the Four Horsemen and Frank Leahy. That’s not all. South Bend also hosts the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish, on whose field figures “Touchdown Jesus,” the mural on the campus library picturing Jesus with arms raised, as if to signal six points.

While the pro hall tells the story of the game in modern times, the college hall looks back 2000 years, to when ancient Greeks played a game called “harpaston,” in which players tried to pass, run or kick a ball over another team’s goal line. Hmm. Sounds familiar. Contact 111 S St. Joseph St., South Bend IN; 800-440-3263; www.collegefootball.org.

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel