On April 25th, Cleveland Public Library (CPL
) will celebrate the opening of the Sports Research Center
, where visitors can explore favorite moments in local sports history, learn more about the history of black baseball, and meet sports icons from past and present.
The Center lets sports junkies travel back in time to the Indians' glory days. And given the Tribe's current first-place perch in the AL Central, perhaps this isn't just idle daydreaming.
The opening reception for the new facility and its inaugural exhibit, "Pride and Passion: The African American Baseball Experience," will be held on April 25th at 3:30 p.m. on the main library's 5th floor.
"Pride and Passion" tells the story of the African-American baseball players who formed the Negro Leagues after being barred from Major League Baseball in the 1890s. Some of baseball's greatest players, including Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron, played for the Negro Leagues in the early 20th century.
Negro League player Ernest Nimmons, who played alongside Hank Aaron for the Indianapolis Clowns in 1952, will be on hand to talk about his experiences at the event. Nimmons now lives in Elyria.
"Pride and Passion" is organized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. It was made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
Additional highlights of the center's research materials include correspondence from Jackie Robinson, oral history interviews with 100+ baseball players, baseball fiction, boxing history and the Plain Dealer Historical Archive, an online sports news database.
The April 25th event is a partnership between CPL and the Cleveland Indians
. The team's Vice President of Public Relations, Bob DiBiasio, and retired Indians player and 1980 American League Rookie of the Year, Joe Charboneau, will answer questions and sign autographs.
If you happen to miss the opening reception you won't have to "wait 'til next year." The Sports Research Center will be free and open to the public year round.
Source: Cleveland Public Library
Writer: Lee Chilcote
Photo: Lisa DeJong