The Boys of Summer – Records Relating to Baseball and the World Series in the Records of the National Register of Historic Places

Today’s post is by John LeGloahec, Archivist in the Electronic Records Division at the National Archives in College Park, MD.

baseballs in space
S73E5137 – STS-073 – Major League baseballs floating in flight deck (National Archives Identifier 22941747)

Later this week, the “Boys of Summer” will compete in the opening games of the “Fall Classic,” also known as the World Series.  There are a number of properties in the National Register specific to the World Series and Baseball, including the old Tiger Stadium (National Archives Identifier 25341128).  Also on the Register are Bush Stadium (National Archives Identifier 132003791) and Hamtramck Stadium (National Archives Identifier 25341136), sites of Negro League World Series games.

Negro Leagues baseball stadium
Negro mine workers baseball team warming up before game. Welch, West Virginia. (National Archives Identifier 540770)

“Hamtramck Stadium in Hamtramck, Michigan, is . . . an original baseball field . . . located in the center of the city’s Veterans Memorial Park on Hamtramck’s south side. Hamtramck Stadium’s grandstand faces northeast. The stadium is bordered to the west by a children’s playground, former ice rink, tennis courts, and a field used for soccer, to the north by a football field and additional baseball diamonds, and to the southeast by industrial railroad tracks and housing” Hamtramck Stadium played a significant role in the “history of Negro professional baseball in twentieth-century segregated America. The significance of Hamtramck Stadium is related to Negro League baseball history from its opening season in 1930 through 1937. Additionally, several National Baseball Hall of Fame players had Hamtramck Stadium as their home field, including Norman “Turkey” Stearnes, “Cool Papa” Bell and “Smokey Joe” Williams. In later years, the stadium served the Hamtramck community for local recreational baseball leagues, school leagues, semi-pro leagues, and other community events. Today, Hamtramck Stadium is one of only twelve remaining Negro League ballparks in the country. In addition, the stadium possesses local historic significance for its long time use in succeeding years as a key site where local sports events were held.”

Berryman cartoon NYC World Series
World Series Fever (National Archives Identifier 6011691)

You can view many photographs in the National Archives Catalog specific to the World Series and Baseball, including the Clifford Berryman political cartoon shown above, that appeared in October 1921, when “New York City was hit with World Series fever and fans prepared to enjoy a “subway series” between the New York Yankees and the New York Giants. Cartoonist Clifford Berryman’s caricature of New York, Father Knickerbocker, tries to leave many of the city’s pressing problems behind and get out to the stadium to watch the two local teams battle for the World Series title. The Democratic Party’s Tammany Tiger symbol urges voters to consider his long experience while the Republican elephant trumpets a warning against Tammany rule and pleads for a chance.”

Haskell Institute Baseball Team
Baseball Team (National Archives Identifier 118968061)

They may never have gone to the MLB World Series, but many of the Indian Schools had baseball teams, including the Haskell Institute (National Archives Identifier 123863345), whose team is pictured above, “founded in 1884, Haskell Institute was one of the first large off-reservation boarding schools for Indian students established by the Federal government. Following the initial apparent success of Richard Henry Pratt’s Carlisle Indian School, established in 1879 in Pennsylvania, other industrial boarding schools were created in the late 19th century. Twenty-five such schools had come into existence by 1900 . . . The Indians, nonetheless, tended to retain much of their own culture within American society. Then caught between two ways of life they fit into neither. Skills or trades students had learned at boarding schools were not needed on the reservations they had left behind. On the other hand, Haskell Institute graduates generally were not accepted into white society. The exposure to the dominant white culture was beneficial in one regard, however. Many “educated” Indians exposed to this dominant culture recognized the need to join with the Indians outside their own tribes for cultural solidarity and the conservation of distinctive Indian mores and traditions. It would be graduates of the boarding schools who generally took on important responsibilities in associations which promoted multi-tribal or pan-Indian activities taking participants beyond the confines of the reservation; in the early 20th century, examples of such associations would include the Society of American Indians and the Native American Church.”

“Haskell Indian Junior College remains in existence today. The growth of the community college movement upon reservations within the past generation, however, has restricted Haskell’s potential growth. Beginning with Navajo Community College, established on the Navajo reservation in 1969, Indian communities moved to offer post-secondary education to their own tribal members in the 1970s and 1980s. As a Federal institution, Haskell appeared apart from the pressure for self-determination at the local level. Still, it remained as an option for Indian students and it continued to attract people from different regions of the country. By 1985, by contrast, Chemawa and Chilocco, to name but two examples, had ceased to function as Indian schools. The campus today reflects the different eras that are a part of Haskell’s heritage. Haskell remains of vital interest to Indian people and to all who are concerned with the history of Indian education. Moat historians today would probably agree that Haskell’s period of greatest historical significance ended in the mid-1930s, with the shift away from such heavy reliance on the off-reservation boarding school. Haskell continued to attract students and to command the loyalty of most of its graduates up to the present day. Yet after the mid-1930s, it would not regain the pinnacle it had achieved. With the departure in 1935 of Henry Roe Cloud, a Winnebago who had become its first Indian superintendent just 2 years before, with the advent of the Indian New Deal and the passage of Johnson-O’Malley, and with the start of World War II, Haskell entered a different period in its long history. By 1935, nonetheless, its place had become firmly established in the memories of Indian people and in the history of Indian education. Together with Carlisle, it would remain regarded as the most prominent and important boarding school ever to serve Indian students.”

baseball player Tracy, CA
Tracy, California. Baseball Recreation. Saturday try-outs for the local baseball team (National Archives Identifier 532248)

Maybe after these guys finished their try-outs – if any pro scouts came to watch, they might have retired to the Tracy Inn (National Archives Identifier 123861425), which has “played a strong and continuous role in community history. Tracy citizens themselves decided that a hotel accommodating automobile traffic was needed. In 1925, eight citizen groups sold stock in Tracy to fund the hotel project . . . In 1933, at the end of Prohibition, the barber shop became a bar. With the opening of the Tracy Inn, most clubs and organizations adopted the new hotel as their meeting place. In this sense, the Tracy Inn replaced the “public hall” function of the town’s Portuguese Hall; it became the civic focal point. First year net earnings for the hotel were $18,163. Carl B. Zoller served as the Inn’s first manager; within, the initial year of operation, however, the role was assumed by John W. Collins. One of the better known early managers of the Tracy Inn was Harry Hill and his wife, Effie; their tenure extended through the 1930s and early 1940s . . . The hotel continues its early civic function today. As noted in the celebration of the Tracy Centennial in 1978, “The building alone is considered a great landmark, but the Tracy Inn is itself an ‘institution.’””

FDR, Groton Baseball
Franklin D. Roosevelt with Groton’s Baseball Team (National Archives Identifier 196066386)

Presidents and baseball are significantly intertwined – Do you know why we stretch during the 7th inning? Thank William Howard Taft. Before our 32nd President was elected, he served as the manager for the Groton School’s baseball team. Of course, following one of the darkest days in our nation’s history, baseball returned to New York City and the World Series with the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks facing off for the title, with the first pitch before game three thrown out by President George W. Bush.

George W. Bush, Yankee Stadium, 9/11
President George W. Bush throws out the ceremonial first pitch Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2001, at Yankee Stadium before Game Three of the World Series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the New York Yankees. Photo by Eric Draper, Courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library

Sit back and enjoy the Fall Classic as it gets underway!

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring records from the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and National Historic Landmarks Program Records, 2013 – 2017 (National Archives ID 20812721), a series within Record Group 79: Records of the National Park Service.

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