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posted: 4/27/2014 5:00 AM

Soak up baseball history at these museums

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  • Visit a statue of Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson at MCU Park in the Coney Island section of the Brooklyn borough of New York, where the minor league Cyclones team plays. There are many destinations of interest to baseball fans around the country outside ballparks, from museums and statues to historic homes.

      Visit a statue of Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson at MCU Park in the Coney Island section of the Brooklyn borough of New York, where the minor league Cyclones team plays. There are many destinations of interest to baseball fans around the country outside ballparks, from museums and statues to historic homes.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS/BROOKLYN CYCLONES

  • Visitors to the St. Petersburg History Museum view some of Dennis Schrader's autographed baseballs in St. Petersburg, Fla.

      Visitors to the St. Petersburg History Museum view some of Dennis Schrader's autographed baseballs in St. Petersburg, Fla.
    Associated Press file photo

  • A large photograph of Babe Ruth was part of an exhibit at the Sports Legends at Camden Yards museum in Baltimore.

      A large photograph of Babe Ruth was part of an exhibit at the Sports Legends at Camden Yards museum in Baltimore.
    Associated Press file photo

  • A woman looks at a display on baseball legend Roger Maris in the West Acres Mall in Fargo, N.D.

      A woman looks at a display on baseball legend Roger Maris in the West Acres Mall in Fargo, N.D.
    Associated Press file photo

  • View a collection of autographed baseballs at the St. Petersburg History Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla.

      View a collection of autographed baseballs at the St. Petersburg History Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla.
    Associated Press file photo

  • A fan looks at baseball memorabilia at the Ty Cobb Museum in Royston, Ga.

      A fan looks at baseball memorabilia at the Ty Cobb Museum in Royston, Ga.
    Associated Press file photo

  • A stack of baseball bats sit in the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory in Louisville, Ky.

      A stack of baseball bats sit in the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory in Louisville, Ky.
    Associated Press file photo

  • Baseball fans flock to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.

      Baseball fans flock to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.
    Associated Press file photo

  • Museum patrons view plaques of recent inductees into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.

      Museum patrons view plaques of recent inductees into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.
    Associated Press file photo

  • The home plate used in the first Little League game in 1939 is displayed at the Little League museum in South Williamsport, Pa.

      The home plate used in the first Little League game in 1939 is displayed at the Little League museum in South Williamsport, Pa.
    Associated Press file photo

  • People travel from all over to see the "Field of Dreams" movie site in Dyersville, Iowa.

      People travel from all over to see the "Field of Dreams" movie site in Dyersville, Iowa.
    Associated Press file photo

  • Baseball fans still visit the site of the Brooklyn Dodgers' ballpark, Ebbets Field, which was torn down after the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1957. Today it's an apartment complex in the Crown Heights neighborhood. A stone in the wall says "This is the former site of Ebbets Field" while a faded sign in the courtyard says "No ball playing."

      Baseball fans still visit the site of the Brooklyn Dodgers' ballpark, Ebbets Field, which was torn down after the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1957. Today it's an apartment complex in the Crown Heights neighborhood. A stone in the wall says "This is the former site of Ebbets Field" while a faded sign in the courtyard says "No ball playing."
    Associated Press file photo

 
By Beth J. Harpaz
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Dedicated baseball fans often take road trips to watch favorite teams play in storied stadiums around the country. But there are plenty of places to steep yourself in baseball lore outside the ballparks, from museums to historic homes. Here are a few ideas for baseball destinations from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., to the Louisville Slugger factory in Kentucky.

Salutes to individual teams

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Many teams have their own halls of fame or exhibit halls, often in or near the ballparks -- for example the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum: cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/cin/hof/hof/index.jsp.

Salutes to individual players

If you have a favorite baseball great, chances are there's a destination honoring him, whether it's a birthplace, home, museum or statue.

In Baltimore, check out the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, located inside four row houses, baberuthmuseum.org, with the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards a few blocks away. In Fargo, N.D., there's a Roger Maris Museum, rogermarismuseum.com/. Mobile, Ala., has the Hank Aaron Childhood Home and Museum, hankaaronstadium.com/, while Royston, Ga., is home to the Ty Cobb Museum, tycobbmuseum.org. In New Jersey, visit the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center in Little Falls, yogiberramuseum.org/. The Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame at Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, in St. Petersburg, Fla., pays tribute to Williams and a few others like Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle, tedwilliamsmuseum.com.

A statue of Cardinal great Stan Musial stands outside Busch Stadium in St. Louis, while Red Sox legend Ted Williams is depicted in a statue at Fenway Park in Boston. In Brooklyn, N.Y., there's a statue of Brooklyn Dodgers teammates Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese, commemorating their friendship across racial lines, located outside the Coney Island stadium where the minor league Cyclones play. Fans still leave baseballs at Robinson's gravesite in Cypress Hills Cemetery on the Brooklyn-Queens border.

Ghosts of old parks

There's a sign for Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, N.Y., where the Dodgers once played, but today it's the site of an apartment complex and parking lot. Sections of Braves Field in Boston were incorporated into Boston University's Nickerson Field. And in Hoboken, N.J., you'll find markers in the vicinity of 11th and Washington for Elysian Fields, marking the spot where locals say the first organized baseball game was played.

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

The museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., a four-hour drive from New York City and Boston, celebrates its 75th birthday this summer, with events planned for June 12 that include guests like Cal Ripken, and an Aug. 2 concert featuring Paul Simon. The museum tells the sport's story through thousands of photos and artifacts, baseballhall.org.

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

Located in Kansas City, Mo., the museum preserves the history of the leagues where black athletes played before the sport was integrated, nlbm.com/.

World of Little League Museum

This museum in South Williamsport, Pa., reopened last year after a $4 million renovation. Its collection includes President George W. Bush's Little League roster along with Little League jerseys worn by Gary Carter and Mike Mussina, littleleague.org/learn/museum.htm.

Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory

Located in Louisville, Ky., this company has been manufacturing bats since 1884. There's a factory tour and a museum featuring bats gripped by baseball greats, sluggermuseum.org.

Field of Dreams

The field in Dyersville, Iowa, was the setting for the 1989 movie "Field of Dreams" starring Kevin Costner. Fans can toss a ball around on the diamond carved from a cornfield from April to November, fodmoviesite.com.

Schrader's Little Cooperstown

This exhibit at the St. Petersburg Museum of History in Florida showcases the world's largest collection of signed baseballs -- 4,600 of them valued at more than $2 million. It's named for collector Dennis Schrader, spmoh.com/visit/exhibits/baseball/.

International museums

The Latino Baseball Hall of Fame (Salon de la Fama del Beisbol Latino) is located in La Romana in the Dominican Republic. In Japan, there is a Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum within the Tokyo Dome. The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum is located in St. Marys, Ontario.

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