Baseball! Celebrating Our Great American Pastime at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

We took a family trip to the nearby Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley on Saturday to visit the temporary exhibit Baseball! Celebrating Our Great American Pastime. The awe-inspiring collection of priceless and rare baseball artifacts left me overwhelmed yet incredibly nostalgic. The 12,000 foot exhibition is running through September 4, 2014, and I highly recommend a visit if you have not already done so.

Instilling the love of baseball and the Dodgers in my two young daughters is an important part of my parenting strategy as a life-long Dodger fan. The Dodgers have such a rich history and tradition which should be passed down to each generation, and this exhibit was the perfect vehicle in which to teach my girls about the history of our beloved American pastime.

A rare Honus Wagner baseball card is on display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Photo: Stacie Wheeler

A rare Honus Wagner baseball card is on display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Photo: Stacie Wheeler

The Ronald Reagan Library and Museum is a great visit in its own right regardless of one’s personal political beliefs. I’ve always also found interest in the presidents, and I feel lucky to have such a beautiful presidential library within ten miles of my home. The library contains numerous displays, films, artwork, a replica of the oval office, and as a visitor you also have the rare opportunity to board and tour a retired Air Force One plane.

The Baseball! exhibit was well worth the $16 admission price, and I honestly would have paid twice that amount just to peruse the baseball artifacts. The grand exhibit contains over 700 artifacts including those from the Negro League, the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, the Yankees and the Red Sox. The artifacts are part of a larger collection owned by private collector Gary Cypres. The pieces on display are estimated to be worth at least $10 million including the rarest of all baseball cards, a Honus Wagner.

Ronald Reagan loved baseball, and the late president used to be a baseball commentator in the 1930s and starred in the 1952 baseball film The Winning Team. Nancy Reagan threw the first pitch at the 1988 World Series game at Dodger Stadium.

My daughters were in awe of Jackie Robinson‘s jersey and glove, and my eldest daughter was especially interested in the vintage balls and gloves on display.

Personally, my favorite portion of the exhibit was the themed section featuring the history of the Brooklyn Dodgers and their

My favorite artifact was the glove of Pee Wee Reese. Photo: Stacie Wheeler

My favorite artifact was the glove of Pee Wee Reese. Photo: Stacie Wheeler

legacy in Los Angeles. I literally felt chills when I saw the Honus Wagner baseball card, the closest I will ever get to one in my lifetime. My favorite piece was the glove of Pee Wee Reese who has always been the #1 Brooklyn Dodger in my heart.

There was a baseball bat signed by Babe Ruth, a baseball signed by Hank Aaron, and the baseball hit by Barry Bonds  which tied Hank Aaron’s record. There was also a display featuring Joe DiMaggio‘s historic streak including the balls which broke the record and the one which ended the streak.

Sections also included a vintage baseball game collection including pinball machines, an incredible cigar box display, and so much more.

I felt honored to view the collection, and I felt even more lucky to have brought my family to enjoy the incredible homage to the history of some of the best players and teams to ever set foot on that emerald green grass. I’d like to believe that I fielded many new memories today with my family.

Reagan Library is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $16 for general audiences, $13 for senior citizens, $9 for anyone under 18 and $6 for anyone under 11. For more information go here.

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Tags: Los Angeles Dodgers Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

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