Travel Treasures Close to Home: Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame

by Tom Reed
WMV Web News Cleveland
Story filed May 25, 2005

We may travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to visit a tourist destination, but we sometimes overlook the attractions in our own backyard . These may be in Greater Cleveland, elsewhere in Ohio, or in neighboring states. This is a series of articles about such places by Tom Reed, a freelance writer who specializes in travel, and who has been writing about various subjects in our Reed's Read segment.

30-foot tall wall containing 4,256 baseballs,
one for each of Pete Rose's hits
If you're a baseball fan, you probably like to take in a game when you're traveling, especially in cities that have new stadiums like Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park. But even if you don't go to a Reds game, or you're there when they're out of town or during the off-season, you'll enjoy a visit to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, just west of the new ballpark on the city's riverfront.

Greg Rhodes, the executive director, says the Cincinnati museum is the most comprehensive of the four such facilities in the major leagues (the others are in St. Louis, Atlanta, and Texas). The two-level building has 10 galleries covering 16,000 square feet of floor space. Cincinnati, as most fans know, has a storied past in baseball history. It was the home of baseball's first professional team, the 1869 Red Stockings. It was also the site of the first night game in 1935 at Crosley Field. Exhibits include relics from that park and a three-dimensional scale model of an even earlier park, called the Palace of the Fans, where the Reds played from 1902 to 1911.

Kids, and some older fans as well, will enjoy the interactive exhibits that allow visitors to try their hands at fielding, batting, and pitching. They can also go into a broadcast booth where they watch action video of a game, and test their skills as play-by-play announcers. Afterwards, they can hear how broadcasters Marty Brenneman and Joe Nuxhall called the same play.

Two of the plaques in Reds Hall of Fame,
(Johnny Vander Meer and Ted Kluszewski)
The Hall of Fame contains plaques for each of the 64 honorees - names such as Johnny Bench, Dave Concepcion, Ted Kluszewski, Ken Griffey Sr., Joe Morgan, and Frank Robinson. On June 11 & 12 of this year, four more players will be inducted: Eric Davis, Jose Rijo, George Wright, and Harry Wright. One name significantly absent from the Hall of Fame is Pete Rose, who is still officially banned from baseball. But that doesn't mean Pete is absent from the museum. Far from it. A 30-foot-tall "wall of balls" contains 4,256 baseballs, each representing one of his record number of hits. Outside, there is a "Rose" garden. The bed of roses is planted on the spot of the now-demolished Riverfront Stadium where Pete's record-breaking 4,192nd hit landed. That was the hit that broke the record previously held by Ty Cobb. Throughout the museum, there are many other references to Pete Rose's accomplishments.

Other museum highlights include a display of World Series trophies and other memorabilia from the glory days, an introductory video centered around Reds "firsts", and a gallery about Cincinnati's Opening Day tradition.

A special exhibit called Babe Ruth in Cincinnati will be on display all this summer, until October 2.

Hours vary depending upon whether it's a non-game day or game day, and whether it's a day game or night game. For more information call 513-765-7576, or visit the website.

CLICK HERE for story about another new feature of Cincinnati's riverfront, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

RETURN TO Cleveland, The New American City

CLICK HERE for the last installment of "Reed's Read"

Copyright 2005 Tom Reed