Baseball Heritage Museum moves to fitting place — renovated League Park
The Baseball Heritage Museum has a new home at the corner of E. 66 and Lexington Ave., at the recently renovated and one-time home of the Indians, historic League Park.
League Park has gone through a major restoration process and reopened last week after closing its gates on professional baseball in 1946. With League Park being the oldest existing ballpark in the world, it is only fitting that the Baseball Heritage Museum would reside at this historic location.
The museum is located in what used to be League Park’s original ticket house. The area is one of the few remnants of the old ballpark, and the perfect location for the public to enjoy one-of-a-kind items of baseball’s history.
Bob Zimmer, founder of the Baseball Heritage Museum, is excited to have the collection located at what he calls Cleveland’s center of baseball history.
“You’re standing out there and you think about all the history that took place,” Zimmer said. “Babe Ruth’s 500th home run, the Indians’ 1920 World Series Championship, the Cleveland Buckeye’s championship. All those games took place there. So for the Baseball Heritage Museum to be able to settle there and to become the caretaker of the history, it’s pretty neat.”
Zimmer began the collection of artifacts with his father in 1997. Zimmer’s dad owned a jewelry store on East Fourth Street for many years and in 1997, working off the All-Star Game, the two decided to display baseball artifacts to draw customers into the store. In the years that followed the collection grew and was moved into the Colonial Market Place (now known as the 5th Street Arcade) in 2006.
Today, the collection focuses on multicultural aspects of the game and includes memorabilia from different leagues that have helped to shape the history of baseball, including the Negro league, Latin league and Women’s league.
Moving centuries of unique baseball history is a delicate process. It only made sense that the Baseball Heritage Museum trusted Andrews Moving, a company with a rich history that started just beyond the fences of League Park.
Andrews Moving, the official mover of the Cleveland Indians, is a family owned company founded in Cleveland. The company’s original facility was located outside the right-center field fence of League Park. and the first and second generation of family owners operated out of the building from the early 1900s to early 1960’s. During the afternoons, Andrews’ staff would sit on the roof to catch a game. Home run balls would often clear the fences of League Park and hit off the Andrews Moving building.
“They were incredible. To move a museum takes a lot of care, time and coordination. Andrews and their crew did a spectacular job. Without them we never could have accomplished this.”
Zimmer believes that the restoration of League Park is a catalyst for the Hough neighborhood. He explained that the Baseball Heritage Museum is proud to be a part of the rebirth and redevelopment of the neighborhood.
The Baseball Heritage Museum is open Saturdays from 10-2. Zimmer also plans to have the museum open while ball games are being played at League Park.
“It’s pretty inspiring to come into the museum. Especially to be able to walk out on the plaza and be able to look out over the ball field.”
– TribeVibe Contributor Angela Martin (Photos by David Cleveland)