Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Highlighting the Reds HOF & Museum

by: AJ Jaggers
Staff Writer/Contributor

Every person that calls themselves a fan of the game of baseball must at some point in their life make the pilgrimage to Cooperstown, New York. To walk the halls and see the artifacts from the most amazing moments of this game we love -- to see bats and gloves from the great ones. To walk into the gallery and see the plaques with faces of the men that made this game great. Cooperstown is well worth the drive, but for those of us that call ourselves Reds fans we must also make the pilgrimage to the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum.

The Reds Hall of Fame and Museum is the largest team museum in all of baseball and with the tradition and rich history of this team it is no wonder. The mission of the museum is as follows:

“Our core purpose is to record, preserve and promote the rich history and traditions of the Cincinnati Reds, honor on-field accomplishments and achievements, and create an everlasting memorial to baseball and the Cincinnati Reds. We also maintain a first-class facility where, through various dramatic educational exhibits, exciting initiatives, and special events, we ensure that noteworthy contributions to the Reds are properly recognized while inspiring and empowering new generations to achieve and perform to their highest potential.”

The Reds Hall of Fame and Museum staff works hard to make sure to fulfill that mission each and every day.

The museum is made up of several galleries, much like the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Here are some of the highlights and must see permanent galleries that make up the museum.

Hall of Records - This area is highlighted by the giant wall of baseballs commemorating Pete Rose, The Hit King, and his accomplishment. 4,256 balls make up the wall, one for each hit Rose had during his great career. Many visitors to the Museum do not realize that the large windows on the opposite wall of this exhibit look out to the exact place where Rose’s #4192 hit landed. There is a white rose bush in the middle of red roses to mark the spot.

Play Ball - This area is a must stop and one that you need to plan some extra time for, especially if you have kids or are one at heart. In this gallery you can make a leaping catch against the centerfield wall, show off you fastball, pose with Sparky, and get some catching advice from Bench.

Glory Days - This are is my personal favorite gallery in the entire museum. In this gallery all of the championship teams of the past are highlighted. You can see the championship rings and World Series trophies, but the highlight of this gallery is the life sized statues of the “Great Eight,” the Big Red Machine. You can stand in the middle of what is arguably the best team ever to play the game of baseball. While in this gallery make sure to take your time and walk around the entire circular gallery and see and touch some great artifacts from the Reds past.

Hall of Fame - This is the crown jewel of the museum and the pinnacle of Reds history in one single room. As you make your way through this exhibit you begin to realize the history that this team possesses. You see names of some of the greatest players ever to play the game, not just greats to the Reds. It is great to hear fathers telling their children about their favorite players and sharing the history and love of the game. Fathers and grandfathers talking about the “good old days” of baseball while looking at plaques of the Ted Kluszewki, Frank Robinson and Joe Morgan. Each June new players are added to the Hall and their plaques go up next to the greats in Reds history.

These are just some of the highlights of the permanent galleries at the museum, the museum also has new featured exhibit for each year. Last year’s featured exhibit was Baseball’s Greatest Catcher and featured the career of Johnny Bench. This years Featured Exhibit will showcase the Big Red Machine and their place in Baseball history.

My family and I made the choice last year to join the Reds Museum and Hall of Fame as members. It was a great investment for our family. I got to impart some of my knowledge and love for the Reds on my young growing family -- it also gave us something to do when we arrived early from out of town for games. All in all, this is a great museum and a must stop for all that call themselves Reds fans.

*The Museum's off-season hours are 10 AM - 5 PM, Tuesday - Sunday (closed on Monday's). For pricing and more information please visit the Museum's official website here*

Follow AJ on Twitter (@ajaggers12) or the blog (@Redlegs_Review).

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