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Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York celebrates baseball

The author’s great-grandfather’s baseball card from  the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Dead Ball Era” exhibit.

METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART

The author’s great-grandfather’s baseball card from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Dead Ball Era” exhibit.

NEW YORK — My great-grandfather, Cornelius Daily, a catcher for the Boston Beaneaters, Brooklyn Bridegrooms, and other 19th-century baseball teams, is in a temperature-controlled room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His baseball card, that is. The museum is home base for 30,000 archived cards that make up the second largest collection of baseball cards after that of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Yes, the Met, famous for mummies and Matisse, is baseball heaven for lovers of the game.

And museumgoers are in for a special treat — a chance to see the much-celebrated T-206 Honus Wagner card, which will be on display as part of the “Legends of the Dead Ball Era” exhibit that runs through November. The exhibit, located in the New American Wing’s newly-renovated Luce Center, will showcase 600 historical trade cards from that era, which spanned 1900 to 1919. This is a unique opportunity to see the Wagner card, which is rarely exhibited because of efforts to preserve it.

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Avid collector Jefferson R. Burdick (1900-63) donated the impressive baseball card collection to the Met in the 1940s and ’50s. Burdick was so devoted to his collection, he even spent time in a small back-room office at the Met, meticulously organizing and cataloging the cards. While you cannot see the entire collection in this exhibit, plans are to make all of them available to view online in a virtual collection at www.metmuseum.org.

The Dead Ball Era exhibit will coincide with this year’s All-Star Game at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, in Flushing, Queens, on July 16. New York will celebrate with a lineup of baseball-related activities, including a Midtown parade with major league players and dignitaries. Foley’s NY, a pub in the shadow of the Empire State Building that’s popular with ballplayers and managers, will be the sweet spot in town for a burger and brew and special all-star promotions (www.foleysny.com).

And you can spend the night where baseball legend Babe Ruth once lived on the Upper West Side, in the renovated boutique Hotel Belleclaire (www.hotelbelleclaire
.com
).

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