Brad Horn, vice president of communications and education at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, has a special place in his heart—and in his hall—for Sports Travel and Tours and its clients.
“We have enjoyed a special connection with Sports Travel and Tours over the years primarily because we have found that visitors, particularly in the Sports Travel groups, are so passionate about baseball and baseball history, that they already bring a sound appreciation for what we do at the Baseball Hall of Fame to their visit,” Brad says.
Sports Travel and Tours is offering a six-day trip called Going Yard: Give Back to Baseball from June 8-13 that will offer a full day at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, on June 11, after a trip to Yankee Stadium the day prior. While in Cooperstown, participants will also stop at Doubleday Field to watch a baseball game and perform volunteer restoration work at the park to honor its historic value.
Sports Travel and Tours organized the volunteer event with the help of a nonprofit organization called Tourism Cares. Although details are still in the works, volunteers will likely focus on painting, landscaping and repairing bleachers that have been long neglected.
Brad says a visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame is “an immersion in the relationship between baseball and American culture” through the celebration of the sport’s greatest games, managers, umpires and executives.
“Our goal for every visitor is for them to leave with a stronger appreciation and education of the ways in which baseball has helped shape, craft and guide American history for nearly two centuries,” Brad says. “It’s compelling stories, it’s an emotional connection, and it’s a lesson in history set through the lens of baseball.”
Brad says that he sees the power of these emotional connections to the sport and people’s fond memories of the game at the museum on a regular basis.
“Across generations or in individual cases, we’ll often see visitors take pause at certain areas of the museum,” Brad says. “Occasionally, a visitor will become emotional and tear up at an exhibit or a photo.”
He particularly enjoys when various generations of a family visit together and share their experience of the game. “A grandparent may talk about seeing Joe DiMaggio play. The parent may talk about seeing Hank Aaron, and a son or daughter may recall Cal Ripken Jr. and remember the emotional response of what he meant to them,” Brad says.
The Baseball Hall of Fame features a wide variety of permanent exhibits, such as: a timeline of the sport’s history; an exhibit concerning the role women have played in the sport, called “Diamond Dreams”; an exhibit celebrating Latino players, called “Viva Baseball”; a presentation on ballparks, both past and present, called “Sacred Ground”; and a records room called “One for the Books,” which celebrates great milestones in the sport.
Two special photo exhibits will be on display at the Baseball Hall of Fame when STAT’s group arrives on June 11: One offering will be a presentation of 50 photographs throughout baseball’s history, entitled “Picturing America’s Pastime,” and another collection of about 50 photographs taken by Osvaldo Salas, primarily of baseball in Cuba during the 1950s, features many Hall of Famers.
Participants will also get a treat. Brad says they will have the opportunity to view artifacts of the game that are not currently on display—perhaps the bat Lou Gehrig used in the 1937 All Star game, for instance, or Babe Ruth’s bat.
Brad says the museum can only have roughly 5,000 of its 40,000 three-dimensional pieces on display at once, leaving a vast number of artifacts out of sight from visitors.
On June 12, when Sports Travel and Tours participants are volunteering at Doubleday with Tourism Cares, the Hall of Fame will be busy celebrating its 76th anniversary. In that time, Brad says over 16 million visitors—about 300,000 per year—have passed through its doors.