At the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum and Baseball Center, you can see the score card from Babe Ruth's first professional game, and uniforms worn by the Baltimore Orioles at the last game at Memorial Stadium. There's memorabilia from the Baltimore Elite Giants, the great Negro League team of the 1930s and '40s and, for 19th century baseball buffs, score cards with magic names of McGraw, Keeler and Jennings.
Baseball celebrates the past, but Michael Gibbons, the museum's executive director, wants the present and the future to be considered as well.
From his third-floor office in the Babe Ruth museum at 216 Emory St., Mr. Gibbons can see the light towers of the new Oriole Park at Camden Yards -- "a wonderful view, I must say." And he's heavily involved in fund-raising to finance a planned expansion of the museum.
"By building this baseball center across from the birthplace and along the way to the ballpark, we will make a baseball mecca where people can see the place where Babe Ruth was born, and to see the history of one of the all-time teams in America [the Orioles], as well as one of the astounding architectural 'u achievements in sports," says Mr. Gibbons.
Most of the funding needed for expansion -- Mr. Gibbons says the amount needed probably will exceed an earlier figure of $3.3 million -- would be used to refurbish the old Connolly Sign Building, around the corner from the museum at Portland and Emory streets.
"We really need the space to grow," says Mr. Gibbons. "We are also [since 1983] the official Orioles museum, and we get new things almost daily."
The museum recently received some extremely rare score cards of games involving the Baltimore Orioles of the 1890s; on a more recent note, a new exhibit, "Cal Ripken Jr.: Baltimore's MVP," will open May 8. The ceremony, open to the public, will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the museum.
The museum also features memorabilia from noted players with ties to the state, such as Jimmie Foxx and Al Kaline, in its Maryland Baseball Hall of Fame.
"We've got hundreds of things on exhibit, and hundreds of things off exhibit," Mr. Gibbons says. "A few years ago, a gentleman came in with a bat that he said Babe Ruth used while at St. Mary's Industrial School. He told a good story, but we
couldn't authenticate it. So it's still in storage."