Did you know that the Indianapolis Indians have been around for over 100 years? Or that Indianapolis hosted the Toledo Blues, a team with two African American players, all the way back in 1884, 60 years before Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color line? Have you heard of the short-lived, third major baseball league, the Federal League; and did you know that Indianapolis’ Federal League won the Federal League championship back in 1913?
Indianapolis baseball history is richer than most people may perceive. This city has been a part of many major events in the baseball world that have impacted the game for the rest of history. At the Indianapolis Historical Society, an exhibit is currently showcasing the private collection of Scott Tarter, in order to immerse the greater Indianapolis community on the immense, but little-known baseball history the city holds.
The exhibit covers a variety of aspects of Indianapolis’ baseball lineage, including the origins of the Indianapolis Indians and the Indianapolis Hoosiers, the Federal League team, the founding of the Negro American League, the Indianapolis Clowns, and even information on the Indianapolis Star Bloomers, the female professional barnstorming team. The exhibit displays and explains the origins of baseball, the early stages of the five major league teams that have called Indianapolis home, the accomplishments of the teams, and also explains the art of baseball advertising through time.
Items on display range from original cigarette baseball cards from the late 1800s, to the 1971 Official American League Reach baseball signed by Leroy “Satchel” Paige, the first Negro League Hall of famer, and an Indianapolis Clown alum. Other notable artifacts include a volume of The Village Green from 1829 which contains one of the earliest known depictions of baseball, original baseball bats and gloves from the turn of the century, scorecards from 1889, and advertisements dating from 1867.
The exhibit, demonstrates that baseball is a sport that Indianapolis, and greater Indiana, has nourished and cherished for a long time, the legacy keeps on growing
The Hoosiers Win the Pennant: Indiana Roots of American Baseball is on display at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center from September 9 until November 15,2014.
The Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, home of the Indiana Historical Society, is located at 450 West Ohio Street in downtown Indianapolis. Admission to the Hoosiers Win the Pennant exhibit is included with the Indiana Experience Admission ($7/adults, $6.50/seniors and $5/ages 5-17). For more information go to www.indianahistory.org
Guest Author: Leah Grynheim