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Bronx Museum Baseball Exhibit Gives Yankee Fans Free Ride to Stadium

By Patrick Wall | March 20, 2012 4:32pm
A baseball signed by Mickey Mantle is one of many artifacts that will be on view at the
A baseball signed by Mickey Mantle is one of many artifacts that will be on view at the "Baseball in the Bronx" exhibition at the Bronx Museum of the Arts.
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DNAinfo/Patrick Wall

CONCOURSE — Just in time for Opening Day, Bombers fans will be able stroll through a museum exhibit full of Bronx baseball artifacts, then take a free trolley to Yankee Stadium to see the real thing in action.

Beginning on April 13, when the Yankees face the Angels in their home opener, the Bronx Museum of the Arts will host a free month-long exhibition featuring photos, memorabilia and lectures about the nation’s pastime as it has been played in the borough up north.

“When you think of baseball, you should think of the Bronx,” said Cary Goodman, executive director of the 161st Street Business Improvement District, which co-sponsored the event, called "Baseball in the Bronx."

The exhibition will feature archival photos of Bronx baseball spanning from the Civil War to the new Yankee Stadium, including about 100 amateur photos of stickball slugfests and Little League games that members of the public submitted.

Among the memorabilia will be one of the Golden Gloves won by Elston Howard, the first black Yankee, Joe DiMaggio’s autographed bat and uniforms and equipment used by players in the Negro Leagues.

Speakers include Arlene Howard, who will describe her late husband, Elston; Sports Illustrated writer Kostya Kennedy, who will extol DiMaggio; ESPN’s Howard Bryant, who will recall Hank Aaron; Bronx historian Lloyd Ultan, who will tell the story of Yankee Stadium; and actor Algenis Perez Soto, who played a fictional Dominican pitcher stuck on an Iowan minor-league team in the film “Sugar,” will talk before a screening of the 2008 film.

The exhibition’s lineup was curated by Brian Richards, the Yankee’s own museum curator.

He and staff from the Bronx Museum of the Arts dug up photos and artifacts for the exhibit from collections at Fordham University, the Bronx County Historical Society, New York University, The Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College and private collectors.

"We’re a contemporary art museum, so that’s not our focus," said the Bronx Museum of the Art’s executive director, Holly Block. "But we realize this is very important to the community."

The Bronx Culture Trolley will run for the first week of the exhibit, shuttling visitors from the stadium, past the businesses on 161st Street, to the museum at 165th Street and Grand Concourse. Organizers said fans can also go straight to the museum on a game day, take in the exhibit, then hitch a ride to the stadium.  

"It symbolizes what we’re trying to do here: tie the Yankees and community and the businesses all together," Goodman said.

The exhibition, which runs from April 13 to May 13, is free to the public.

The first 1,000 visitors will receive a free pack of 2012 Major League Baseball cards, courtesy of Topps.