Tucked away in a small building on the corner of Blake and 20th is a hidden gem that can be relished by baseball fans all over the world.
Bruce Hellerstein’s National Ballpark Museum is one of the great tributes to the original baseball stadiums built in America — a one of a kind place that features different pieces and tributes to the original baseball fields and the people who played there.
Originally created from Hellerstein’s extensive personal collection of baseball memorabilia, the ballpark museum started out in Hellerstein’s basement before it moved to the new location five years ago.
Although small, the museum has grown over time and continues to do so. Operating as a nonprofit, much of the support and growth of the museum comes from within.
Hellerstein created the museum as a way of educating people on the history of the game of baseball.
“The best way to learn baseball is through learning the history of the game. These old stadiums are baseball’s history,” said Joey Schor, an employee of the museum.
It serves as an educational tool for all people, but particularly for the youth.
“Some of the people that come in here can remember the stuff that happened, but the younger people that come in don’t and that’s who we want to reach and help keep the love of baseball alive,” said Schor.
The museum features items from 14 classic ballparks in America. Of the 14 parks featured in the museum only two still stand today, Wrigley Field in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston.
Along with the 14 ball- parks, the museum pays a special tribute to Denver baseball and its history.
“What a lot of people don’t realize is that Denver baseball’s history goes well beyond the Rockies,” said Schor.
With a special collection of jerseys, turnstiles, seats and much more the ballpark museum boasts the largest collection of Denver Bears memorabilia.
The precursor the Colorado Rockies, the Denver Bears, later called the Zephyrs, were the minor league team based in Denver from the beginning of the 20th century until 1992, when they moved to New Orleans.
“Not a lot of people talk about the Bears, but the truth is Denver has been a baseball crazy town for a lot longer than most people can remember,” said Schor.
In the late 1950s, the Bears were the AAA farm club for the New York Yankees when it was winning the World Series left and right.
Although the museum is largely based around the classic ball- parks, it also features a tribute to all the current ballparks in Major League Baseball.
With years of collecting and searching Hellerstein was able to create the ultimate tribute to the national pastime.
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