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Artis-Naples, The Baker Museum opens 'Baseball Heroes: Works from the Jay H. Baker Collection'
Nathaniel Fein (American, 1914-2000). Babe Ruth Bows Out, June 13, 1948. Jay H. Baker Collection.

NAPLES, FLA.- Baseball Heroes: Works from the Jay H. Baker Collection will grant museum visitors exclusive access to one of the most extraordinary collections of baseball memorabilia outside of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, in an immersive multimedia installation that celebrates baseball as an integral part of American life for nearly 200 years.

This exhibition celebrates five of the sport’s greatest players: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Derek Jeter. These players, who spent most or all of their careers with the New York Yankees, transcend partisan team passions and generate unparalleled adulation. Baseball Heroes examines these icons not only as baseball players, but as human beings who rose from humble or modest backgrounds and, through their talents and dedication, ascended to the pinnacle of achievement.

The eminent cultural historian Jacques Barzun wrote, “Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball.” In many ways, the sport encapsulates the qualities traditionally linked with the American spirit: pursuit of a dream, hard work, confidence, ambition and the ability to capitalize on opportunities. Baseball Heroes presents original documents and artifacts coupled with historical photographs, film from iconic moments in the sport and dynamic large-scale graphics to inspire visitors to reflect on baseball’s influence on American identity.

More than 100 iconic artifacts from the unparalleled collection of Jay H. Baker are included in the exhibition, beginning with objects such as Ruth’s earliest known game-used bat, Mantle’s high school yearbooks and first signed professional contract and the jersey worn by Jeter for his Yankees debut in 1995. Seminal moments in the history of the sport are represented in the contract by which the Red Sox sold Ruth to the Yankees, giving rise to the legendary “Curse of the Bambino,” and the uniform worn by Don Larsen when he pitched the only perfect game to date in a World Series.

Through this extraordinary collection of public and private artifacts and documents, visitors will gain a heroic as well as an intimate view of the players under consideration and witness how they contributed to the game and to American life.

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October 18, 2021

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