Saturday, November 10, 2007

Cooperstown Open Sox World Series Exhibit.

World Series Relived at Cooperstown
Red Sox, Rockies memorabilia exhibit open for 12 months
By Bruce Markusen / Special to

Vice president of communications Jeff Idelson cuts the ribbon on the exhibit. (Milo Stewart Jr./NBHOF)
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'This year\'s World Series lasted four games, but memories from the 103rd Fall Classic will be displayed at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum over the next 12 months. At 10 a.m. ET on Friday, the Cooperstown museum opened its newest World Series exhibit.';
Hall of Fame Film Festival kicks offLove blooms at Hall for two Sox fansWorld Series gear: Red Sox RockiesComplete coverage of the 103rd World SeriesOfficial site of the Baseball Hall of Fame
This year's World Series lasted the minimum four games, but memories from the 103rd Fall Classic will be displayed at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum over the next 12 months. At 10 a.m. ET on Friday, the Cooperstown museum opened its newest World Series exhibit with a formal unveiling and ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Contained in a large L-shaped room on the third floor of the museum, the exhibit chronicles the Boston Red Sox's four-game encounter with the upstart Colorado Rockies. Highlighting the entrance to the exhibit is a large panel that reads, "RED SOX ROCK 'NATION,' ROLL ROCKIES," accompanied by an oversized blowup photograph of World Series MVP Mike Lowell.
A cache of game-used artifacts, ranging from Jonathan Papelbon's glove to a bat used by Matt Holliday in the third and fourth games of the Series, provide the Hall of Fame with the opportunity to visually recount the story of Boston's four-game sweep.

"The focus of the exhibit is on the Red Sox's triumph, but we felt it was important to represent the Rockies, telling the story of getting to the World Series for the first time in franchise history," explained Brad Horn, the Hall of Fame's director of public relations.

"We obtained the jersey that Todd Helton wore in Game 1 of the Series," said Horn, who attended the Series along with Jeff Idelson, the Hall's vice president of communications and main procurer of World Series artifacts. "We also acquired a bat used by Matt Holliday in Game 3. It's not the same bat that Holliday used to hit a three-run home run in that game, because he ended up breaking that bat. But we did get a bat that he used later in that game and in Game 4, as well."

From the Boston perspective, several storylines are evident in the exhibit, titled "Autumn Glory: A Postseason Celebration."

"We're constrained by space limitations in the museum," explained Horn, "but there are so many stories of the Red Sox's triumph on so many levels. We try to look ahead 50 years in time and present the stories that will be most relevant even then. For the Red Sox, it was a total team effort. Having representation from Jonathan Papelbon became a key. We have his game-used glove. It was the glove that he tossed skyward at the end of the World Series.

"We have Terry Francona's very recognizable pullover jersey that he wore throughout the Series. That's especially significant because he is now 8-0 as a manager in World Series games. Then there's the bat used by Jacoby Ellsbury, which he used to collect four hits in Game 3, becoming just the third rookie in history to collect four hits in a Series game. We have the spikes worn by Daisuke Matsuzaka, who became the first Japanese pitcher to start a World Series game -- and also the first to win a Series game."

One of the most poignant stories of the World Series exhibit involves Boston's starting pitcher in the decisive fourth game.

"Jon Lester donated his cap from the Series," Horn said. "He went from being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma one year ago to a winter of uncertainty to picking up the clinching win in the World Series. It's an incredibly powerful story."

While the new artifacts are displayed in one large exhibit case, the other side of the World Series room still features the famed blood-stained sock worn by Curt Schilling in the 2004 Series.
"That will help Red Sox fans tie these two different championship clubs together," Horn said.
With so many Red Sox themes to explore, the Hall of Fame didn't have to rely on Boston's two everyday superstars for its new exhibit.

"Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz had a relatively quiet Series, so we didn't approach either of them about donating artifacts," Horn said. "There was just so much else to include."

While the exhibit centers on a number of individual players, it also touches on other themes.
"There are some unique stories aside from the players," Horn pointed out. "We like to represent something of interest from the local ballparks. Since this Series included the first World Series game played in Colorado, we obtained a ball from the humidor at Coors Field. The ball wasn't actually used in a game, but it came out of the humidor as a game-prepared ball. We also have dirt from the pitcher's mound at Coors Field. It's displayed in a small glass jar and serves as a time stamp of the moment.

"And then there's the FOX diamond cam. It's a lipstick-sized camera that was used in Games 3 and 4. FOX started using this camera at the All-Star Game in 2004. This enables us to tell how technology in baseball and baseball coverage is changing."

While the exhibit is expected to draw a number of fans over the next year, especially from nearby Red Sox Nation, it has special meaning for at least one Hall of Fame employee -- chief curator Ted Spencer. A native of Boston and a lifelong Red Sox fan, Spencer attended one of the World Series games in Boston with his wife and children. According to Horn, Spencer has been enjoying the last two weeks.

"As Ted is fond of saying, quoting what Terry Francona has said many times, 'It's good to be us,'" Horn said. "We've heard that from Ted a lot this week."

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