CLEVELAND (WJW) — As if frozen in time on East 66th and Lexington in Cleveland, you’ll find the original ballpark the Indians used to play at in the early 1900s.
“We are so fortunate to have the property here because many cities do not have the property of the old-time ballpark that dates back a hundred years,” said Bob Shepherd of the Baseball Heritage Museum.
Today, the original ticket house and field have been restored and are now the home of the Baseball Heritage Museum.
“We have a lot of artifacts and memorabilia from old-time baseball, starting from the Cleveland Spiders of the 1890’s and then in 1915 they became the Cleveland Indians,” Shepherd said.
What is really special about the museum is that not only does it pay tribute to our beloved Indians, it tells the story of early baseball, including the Negro Leagues.
“Highlighted on the back wall here we honor the Negro Leagues, including the Cleveland Buckeyes that played here from 1942 to 1950 and we honor their championship in 1945,” Shepherd said.
The museum has so much to see, even the Women’s Leagues, which started in 1943 are highlighted.
“We have a pennant, programs, equipment, ball gloves, photographs, a home plate signed by many of the women that played in the league,” Shepherd said.
Visiting the museum takes you back to a simpler time. So many greats played here it’s hard to imagine. And yes, Babe Ruth was one of them. He loved playin in this park. Many of his 715 homeruns ended up in neighborhood yards or bouncing on the streets.
Home run number 426 is one of those and is in fact on display, complete with Ruth’s autograph.
“The ball landed here on Lexington Avenue,” Shepherd explained. “It was gathered up by a fan who just happened to be walking home from work. The ball club allowed him to come into the clubhouse to get the ball signed by Babe Ruth
“We welcome people to come visit us here at the Baseball Heritage Museum at League Park,” Shepherd continued. “It’s an important part of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. It’s very historic. We are open here Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”
And the best part is, it’s just a one tank trip.