Womack: Sacramento baseball history highlighted in new museum exhibit

From SABR member Graham Womack at Sacramento News & Review on August 2, 2018, with mention of SABR member Alan O'Connor:

In the landmark 1966 oral history, The Glory of Their Times, baseball Hall-of-Famer Harry Hooper talks about agreeing to his first contract with the Boston Red Sox in 1908 at an unnamed bar at 8th and J streets in Sacramento. Hooper, who famously recommended in 1918 that teammate Babe Ruth convert from pitcher to position player, played minor league ball in town and worked for the Western Pacific Railroad.

It’s uncertain if the building where Hooper agreed to his Red Sox contract still exists or has been lost, like so much of Sacramento’s baseball history. But an exhibit that opened July 29 at the California Museum, California at Bat: America’s Pastime in the Golden State, offers some artifacts from Hooper and other baseball greats with connections to Sacramento.

There’s Willie Mays, who appeared in the final exhibition game at Edmonds Field, shortly before the former home for the Sacramento Solons, at the corner of Riverside Boulevard and Broadway, was torn down in 1964. A Gemco store was built there, where a Target now stands. A uniform Mays wore for the San Francisco Giants the following season, when he hit 52 home runs, is in the exhibit.

There’s also a monogrammed 1936 New York Yankees uniform from Joe DiMaggio, who played games at Edmonds Field while a young Pacific Coast League (PCL) prospect with the San Francisco Seals.

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The exhibit features more than 200 baseball artifacts, photos and other relics of the game. Wong, a Hong Kong-based investment banker who grew up in the Bay Area, loaned approximately 80 items from his personal collection for the exhibit.

Another 60 items, roughly, come from the private collection of Alan O’Connor, a prolific local baseball author and member of the local Dusty Baker chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research. Many items connected to local greats come courtesy of O’Connor. These include a bat from Earl Sheely, who made a name for himself as a hitter in the majors during the 1920s. Sheely later became a popular Solons’ manager, per O’Connor’s book, Gold on the Diamond: Sacramento’s Great Baseball Players, 1886 to 1976.

Read the full article here: https://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/sactown-swatters/content?oid=26630047

This page was last updated August 3, 2018 at 1:04 pm MST.