'It's a treasure
trove of sports memorabilia'
|By RICK ROVITO - Special to TimeOut||
April 25, 2013
MILWAUKEE - A light
fixture from the first night game and bats used by the likes of Ty Cobb
and Milwaukee legends Eddie Mathews and Robin Yount are part of a new
exhibit at Discovery World in Milwaukee that traces the history of
baseball and explores advancements in the sport.
Innovations That Changed the Game” showcases baseball mitts, bats,
catchers’ equipment, uniforms and various souvenirs, from the post-Civil
War era to the present day.
“It’s a treasure
trove of sports memorabilia and artifacts,” Discovery World President
and CEO Joel Brennan said.
The light from Crosley
Field in Cincinnati, where the first night baseball was played between the
hometown Reds and the Philadelphia Phillies in 1935, is an example of what
is certainly one of the most significant innovations in baseball history,
“If you think about
innovation in baseball over the last 75 years, that’s on the list of big
ones,” he said. “When they ushered in night baseball, it brought in a
whole different fan base. It brought in working people and families.”
Another display shows
the evolution of baseball mitts, from fingerless gloves used in the 1860s
to current professional models.
The items in the
exhibit are on loan from Memorabilia Evaluations and Research Services, a
South Milwaukee auction and retail company specializing in sports
“We just started
talking to Mears about doing this around the time pitchers and catchers
were reporting for spring training,” Brennan said. “It came together
The exhibit, which
launched in early April, is scheduled to run through May 19. However,
Brennan said Discovery World could extend the run. He added that Discovery
World is considering hosting a similar exhibit later this year focused on
“The reception has
been such that we are actually going to ask (MEARS) about continuing
it,” he said. “We’d also like to maybe do this for football in the
fall and connect it up with the really relevant discussions now about head
injuries and brain concussions.”
The baseball display
is aligned closely with the long-standing mission of Discovery World,
which has been in existence for more than 30 years, Brennan said.
“We’ve always been
focused on being a center for public innovation,” he said. “In some
ways, baseball is the same as it was in the 1800s, but in many ways it has
changed. To be able to showcase the changes in one exhibit is an exciting
development for us. Whether it’s innovation in sports or innovation in
music through someone like (Waukesha native) Les Paul or innovation in
industry, for us it’s all part of maintaining our relevance.”
The exhibit also
features memorabilia and video clips from the Milwaukee Braves’ 1957
World Series title, a life-size bobble head doll in the image of Paul
Molitor, a mitt with a stamped autograph of Joe “Ducky” Medwick, an
outfielder with the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1930s, and bats from 1850
to the present day.
Also on display is an
array of uniforms, including the classic rainbow jerseys worn by the 1975
Described by Brennan
as “intimate,” the exhibit also shows the various stadiums that have
been home to Milwaukee’s professional baseball teams, including the
Lloyd Street Grounds, Borchert Field, Milwaukee County Stadium and Miller
Park, the current home of the Milwaukee Brewers that features a major
architectural innovation: a moveable roof.
The baseball display
offers an opportunity for educational ties with other Discovery World
exhibits, such as the Kohl’s Design It! Lab, where visitors learn to
make baseball caps out of cardboard.
“They are getting to
see a different side of innovation,” he said. “What’s useful and
valuable about something like this is that we can put people into our labs