Category: Dailies

New Baseball Hats!

Mlb_ap_hat_275Major League Baseball announced today that no longer would teams wear the 100% wool baseball hat, instead favoring a polyester-blend allowing for more breathability and the wicking away of sweat.

Sacrilege, you say? This is not the first time that baseball has changed something about baseball uniforms to increase players’ comfort or performance. It is, however, the first time that baseball caps have been completely changed since 1954.

How else have uniforms been altered by MLB in order to reflect happenings in society or for player’s comfort and performance? Schedule "A Stitch In Time" via videoconference to learn how uniforms have changed – and why!

Call 607-547-0347 or e-mail us for more details!

This day in baseball education history…

(Just a reminder – it’s only 34 days until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training…)

Gera_cardBernice Gera, of Ernest, Pennsylvania, began a new career at 36 years of age at the Florida Baseball Umpire School in West Palm Beach, Florida in 1967. Umpiring at the National Baseball Congress Tournament in Wichita, Kansas, she wanted to umpire a professional game – to be the first female to do so. She called games in various organizations in the New York City area, but was not allowed into the National Association of Baseball Leagues as an umpire, because she did not meet height, weight, and age standards. In October 1969 the New York Human Rights Division heard her case to allow her to complete her dream. On March 15, 1971 the case went before the New York Court of Appeals and on this day, 35 years ago, the court ruled in her favor. On June 24, 1972 Gera umpired her first professional baseball game – a doubleheader between Auburn and Geneva in the New York-Penn League. Gera umpired the first game and resigned before the 2nd game started, becoming the first woman to umpire a professional game.

Learn more about women’s history and baseball at the Baseball Hall of Fame with the educational module "Dirt on Their Skirts!" To schedule a field trip or connect via videoconference in this standards-based lesson – call us at 607.547.0347 or e-mail us today!

Happy New Year!

It’s a new year, only 44 days until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, and only 89 days until Opening Day. So to go along with the new year, the Education Department at the Hall of Fame is unveiling new features. Starting this month (and it’s January, if you haven’t noticed), the official Education Department’s e-newsletter "Off the Bat" will be unveiled. If you would like to stay in touch with the Hall of Fame’s Education Department’s happenings, features, events, updates, and general goings-on, send us an e-mail and let us know that you would like to be on the list.

Talk to you soon…

Wanna Hear a Podcast?

Broadcaster_sf_millerThat’s right, it’s the inaugural podcast offered to you by the Hall of Fame’s Education Department. We’ve mentioned before on "Baseball for the Classroom" that one of the 13 educational modules offered is our Communication Arts module entitled "Going, Going, Gone!"

In September 2006 San Francisco Giants / ESPN broadcaster Jon Miller arrived in Cooperstown for Curt Smith’s "Voices of the Game" series and took some time before the program started to chat with "Baseball in the Classroom."

Hope you enjoy it!

Jon Miller podcast


The National League looked much different on October 16, 1960. The senior circuit had teams in ten cities: Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The Braves franchise moved from Boston to Milwaukee following the 1952 season and the Giants and Dodgers had moved from New York to the west coast in time for the 1958 season. No new teams had been approved by the League since the American League began play in 1901. In 1900, teams such as the Brooklyn Superbas and the Chicago Orphans ruled the National League (the Superbas won the NL and the Orphans finished a distant 19 games back of Brooklyn and two back of the Boston Beaneaters). It was time for an addition to be made.

Hou_1094_1On October 17, 1960 that change was made when the National League approved a franchise expansion for Houston, Texas and a second team to return to New York City. The Colt .45s and Metropolitans would both begin play in 1962 (though the name "Metropolitans" had been used by a New York club from 1883-1887, though in the American Association).

In fact, if you look at the Mets logo you’ll notice three things: the color blue, the color orange, and pinstripes. The blue is for the departed Dodgers, the orange for the departed Giants, and the pinstripes for the existing Yankees.

Why expand to Houston? Why put a team in New York City? Of course a larger expansion occurred later in the 1960s but the Astros and Mets started the trend of expanding to new cities. Why?

Sign up for a videoconference or on-site school trip and participate in Baseball Coast to Coast, the Baseball Hall of Fame’s education module focusing on geography! Download the thematic unit here, and call 607.547.0347 
or e-mail us for questions!

Broadcasting the World Series

In 1921 Pittsburgh station KDKA was the first station to broadcast a baseball game, though baseball and radio had both been around for years. After all, baseball owners thought, who would pay to come to a game that they could hear for free?

Of course broadcasted baseball was a success. Baseball didn’t collapse, and people still filled the stands. (Today how often do you see fans in their seats with headphones on? Many ballparks broadcast the play-by-play in restrooms and on concourses so that fans don’t miss any of the action.) But before 1934, Major League Baseball charged no fee for the rights to broadcast games, let alone the World Series.

That changed on September 13, 1934 when Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis sold the rights to broadcasting the 1934 World Series to the Ford Motor Company for $100,000.

The first televised baseball game was a game between Princeton and Columbia on May 17, 1939 (Princeton won 2-1 at Columbia’s Baker Field.) One camera covered the third-base line for the game – a big change from cameras in front of home plate, on catchers’ helmets, and numerous replay cameras all over big-league stadiums today, right? But the technology of television was limited to Americans at the time. In 1948 there were only 190,000 television sets in households.

It was the broadcast of sports that brought the growth of televisions in America. NBC Sports broadcasting pioneer Harry Coyle said that "Television got off the ground because of sports…When we (meaning NBC) put on the World Series in 1947 (among other sporting events) television sales just spurted." And that they did, from 190,000 sets in 1948 to 10.5 million television sets in use in 1950.

Baseball and media since then have always been linked, from the Game of the Week to televised baseball on NBC, CBS, ABC, ESPN, and Fox. In September 2000, Fox Broadcasting purchased the rights to show Saturday baseball games, All-Star Games, selected Division Series, both Championship Series, and the World Series (and recently signed an extension through the 2013 season) worth $2.5 billion. An increase of 25,000% from Commissioner Landis’ post-season rights in 1934.

This is just one of the aspects of the Business of Baseball, the Baseball Hall of Fame Education Department’s standards-based thematic unit on economics, suitable for grades 3-8 (but can be expanded for grades 9-12). If you would like to schedule a videoconference or an on-site visit for your class to participate in this module and 12 others, give us a call at 607.547.0347 or e-mail us today!

1918 World Series – Game 1

1918wsprogramOn this date – September 5, 1918 – Boston pitcher Babe Ruth took the mound versus Chicago’s Hippo Vaughn in the first game of the annual "Fall Classic," though it was played a little bit earlier than normal. Why was the World Series being played earlier? It was the first of many times that baseball would respond to the country’s call to arms.

Major League Baseball had ended the 1918 season on Labor Day due to the "Work or Fight" order as baseball went to war. As Dan Holmes describes in his article, baseball was not considered an essential industry for the war effort, and many players had jobs either in the service or in factories waiting on them when the season was over.

So the World Series began on September 5. The Boston Red Sox met the Chicago Cubs at Comiskey Park – not Weeghman Park where the Cubs played their home games in 1918 – because of the increased seating at Comiskey before 19,274 fans. Babe Ruth – who won 13 games, batted over .300, and led the league with 11 home runs – had split time in the regular season in both the outfield and on the pitcher’s mound. He faced the Cubs’ Hippo Vaughn, whose 22 wins led the National League.

While Ruth and Vaughn both pitched complete games, it was Ruth’s Red Sox who struck for the first (and only) time in Game 1. Red Sox 1st baseman Stuffy McInnis drove in 2nd baseman Dave Shean in the 4th inning for the only run in the 1-0 Red Sox win. While that solitary run – and the pitcher’s duel – was exciting, it was what happened in the 7th inning stretch that started a tradition lasting 88 years…and counting.

In the middle of the 7th inning with a tight game on the line as Chicago’s 8-9-1 hitters were ready to bat, a military band walked on the field and played the "Star Spangled Banner." From that point forward, the song (though not adopted as the National Anthem until 1931) was played at every World Series game and every home opener.

The Red Sox won that opening game 1-0, and the World Series (their last championship until 2004) four games to two over the Cubs. The Star Spangled Banner, though played situationally during the season, was not played before every game until another time of war, World War II, when patriotism was among its highest levels and ballplayers lined up to serve their country (and after baseball-wide installation of public address systems was complete). Today our National Anthem is played before every game, and God Bless America is performed during every World Series game, as well as many regular season games.

This is just one of the topics that the Education Department covers in our standards-based educational modules covering American History as the game of baseball is inextricably linked with the history of our country through wartime and peace. To participate in either a videoconference or an on-site visit, e-mail us or call 607.547.0347.

Phil Rizzuto – broadcaster extraordinaire

Rizzuto_phil_3#10 Phil Rizzuto, Hall of Fame Yankee shortstop on this day – August 25 – 50 years ago was granted an unconditional release to make room on the team for another Hall of Famer, Enos "Country" Slaughter.

The 39-year old (or thereabouts) "Scooter" Rizzuto retired and, starting with the 1957 season, began another career in baseball, this time as one of the most recognizable broadcasters in baseball. Rizzuto spent nearly 40 seasons with the Yankees, popularizing the phrase "Holy Cow" whenever a spectacular play occured.

Phil Rizzuto exemplifies what students will learn when they participate (in either a videoconference or an on-site visit) in our thematic unit addressing the Communication Arts entitled "Going, Going, Gone!" Believe it or not, kids, there wasn’t always an or ESPNews. Once upon a time, if you wanted to learn about how your team performed you would have to read the newspaper and listen to the broadcasts over the radio.

The first game broadcast over the radio was a Pittsburgh Pirates game broadcast on Pittsburgh radio station KDKA. Legendary broadcasters have been awarded the Ford C. Frick Award for Broadcasting Excellence since 1978. But there was a time when even the broadcasters wouldn’t be at the game! A telegraph operator would transmit information back to a radio studio where broadcasters and engineers would then recreate the game complete with crowd noise and sound effects. This creativity led to the addition of many new fans of baseball, of the teams in their area, and a special connection with their hometown broadcaster.


Rizzuto was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1994 as a player, and who could blame the BBWAA or electing him after recording five All-Star nominations, and winning the 1950 AL MVP award? Phil also made television history as the first mystery guest on the February 2, 1950 showing of "What’s My Line?"

When your students experience Going Going Gone you get to re-create (complete with your own sound effects) the broadcast of Hank Aaron’s 715th homerun and learn how the art of communication has evolved over the years in an interactive, hands-on experience.

Call us at 607.547.0347 or e-mail us today to set up your Hall of Fame educational experience!

Happy 50th Birthday, Paul Molitor!

Today, August 22, is Paul Molitor’s 50th birthday. The 7-time All Star from Minnesota was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004 with 85.18% of 506 total ballots. In order to gain election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, an eligible player (or manager, umpire, executive, or pioneer) must receive votes from 75% of all ballots, so how many votes did one need to earn election in 2004? (I’ll be quiet while you figure it out…) Scroll down to see the answer…


If you said "385 ballots," you’re….wrong! If you said "380 ballots," you’re absolutely correct. So if Molitor received a vote on 85.18% of all ballots, how many ballots were cast his way?

431, that’s right!

Working with percentages is just one of the aspects of the Hall of Fame’s Batter Up! mathematics module, suitable for grades 3-8 (and the module can be expanded to include high school groups as well). Batter Up examines how everyday mathematical concepts, such as addition, subtraction, fractions, decimals, etc., apply to baseball and the real world; your students analyze baseball statistics and interpret data in terms of fundamental mathematic operations, and you will understand the application of baseball statistics and how they are calculated using basic mathematic principles.

If you’re interested in joining us either by videoconference or by coming to the museum for an on-site visit to participate in Batter Up, please call 607.547.0347, or just e-mail us!