WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – The Baseball in the Berkshires roadshow takes place in Williamstown starting Saturday with a summer exhibit exploring the city’s impact on the American pastime and vice versa.
Now in its seventh year, Baseball in the Berkshires has established itself as a repository of facts and artifacts that shed light on the region’s baseball roots.
From its beginnings in Herman Melville’s Arrowhead barn in Pittsfield, the exhibit has made its home in Lanesborough, Lee, Lenox, North Adams, Stockbridge and Dalton.
This summer, it is planning high-profile public displays of baseball images in North Adams and Pittsfield, as well as a summer “residency” at the Williamstown Historical Museum which opens to the public on Saturday morning.
“We’ve always been involved with local historical societies, from our early days in Arrowhead,” Baseball in the Berkshires manager Larry Moore said this week. “We did something in conjunction with the Sheffield Historical Society. Then we went to Lenox and Lee.
“Of course, that’s where I go for a lot of photos and so on, in different historical societies. [WHM Executive Director Sarah Currie] for quite a few years. We had always talked about doing something, and as things opened up she said, ‘How would you like to do something here? “”
Baseball in the Berkshires was a resounding success last summer at the Stationery Factory in Dalton despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It wasn’t bad,” Moore said. “We had a lot of people from out of town. People were looking for something to do.
This summer, Baseball in the Berkshires hopes to reach not only the local North County audience, but also visitors who come to see the Williamstown Theater Festival, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art or the Clark Art Institute.
Speaking of the latter …
“The Clark is such a great museum, but no one ever associates it with the [Baseball] Hall of Fame, ”Moore said.“ But they were two brothers, Stephen and Sterling Clark. And they actually fought physically.
“The Clark family were great art collectors with the Fennimore Art Museum in Cooperstown [N.Y.] and the Clark. Stephen was at Cooperstown and also created the Baseball Hall of Fame. “
In 2006, 70 years after the founding of Baseball Hall, Frank Grant, who grew up in Williamstown, was inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of a Black League and Black League Gaming Legends class.
Needless to say, Grant has a strong presence in the Baseball in the Berkshires exhibit.
Grant is one of six Major Leaguers – and current MLB referee Chris Conroy – from Williamstown featured on the show, which takes up most of the display space in the WHM’s main room and spills out in an adjacent hallway.
“[Grant] is not the primary focus, ”Moore said. “We’ve kind of put all the players at the center of our minds, so we’re attracting new players, but also, at the same time, people can learn more about Frank Grant. You think of the 300 or so Hall of Fame baseball players, and this is Frank Grant. He is one of the most famous black baseball players of this century. People said he was one of the best second basemen they had ever seen and had a great bat. “
Hall of Famer Sol White, another member of this historic Cooperstown 2006 class, described Grant this way:
“Back then Frank Grant was the wonder of baseball. His game was a revelation to his teammates, as well as the spectators. In hitting he ranked among the best and his roster was close to the impossible. born baseball player. “
Grant’s exploits earned him a place among the game’s immortals and a place of honor in the Berkshires as a Pittsfield native who grew up in Williamstown.
But Baseball in the Berkshires is as much about the lesser-known stories, the ones Moore continues to collect at every show and at every roadshow stop.
“When we opened up to Arrowhead and wrote the book, we had 100 minor league players,” Moore said. “To date we know of 186 Berkshire County minor league players.
“We were talking about Eddie Farr from Great Barrington. You go back in the papers, and he says, ‘Old Eddie is playing with Springfield,’ and there are three other local players playing with him. I said, ‘I never knew about them. ‘ “
Baseball in the Berkshires’ “Sliding Baseball Across Williamstown” exhibit will be open Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm starting May 8th. Furlano CPA, WJ Blueprinting, The Keator Group, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Camp Hart, Lee Bank and Cohen, Kinne, Valicenti and Cook.
Key words: baseball,