Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

32 years ago today, Rollie Fingers of the #Brewers became the first pitcher to reach the 300-save mark. #throwbackthursday

32 years ago today, Rollie Fingers of the #Brewers became the first pitcher to reach the 300-save mark. #throwbackthursday

A Day at the Ball Game

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During the summer of 1936, the Marx Brothers, along with a caravan of four writers, six musicians, eight actors, 18 chorus girls and boys, and one very talented horse, traveled the country, staging an ever-changing play full of gags, wisecracks and general hilarity. The idea was to test out comedy routines and refine a script that would eventually be shot for the silver screen. The result was the movie classic, “A Day at the Races.”

This on-the-road method of producing a first-rate, tried-and-true screenplay was one that the Marx Brothers had employed the previous year, ultimately culminating with the hit comedy, “A Night at the Opera.” But, unlike the 1935 road show, the 1936 version traveled nearly twice as far (some 6,000 miles) and met with greater fanfare.

So it was that on August 2, 1936, Groucho, Chico, Harpo and their entourage of entertainers found themselves in Cleveland, Ohio, playing the Palace Theater at Playhouse Square and perfecting various gags for their next movie triumph.

That same day, the second-place Cleveland Indians played host to the league-leading New York Yankees in a much-anticipated Sunday ballgame. In an effort to boost attendance as well as promote the Great Lakes Exposition (something of a mini-World’s Fair held along the shore of Lake Erie), the Indians decided to stage their contest at a ballpark much larger than the very cozy League Park. The game took place at Cleveland’s cavernous Municipal Stadium, the venue’s only big league contest of the season and the first time the Indians had played there since 1933. It was quite a show.

With ticket-holders also gaining complimentary admission to the nearby fair, well over 65,000 fans paid to enter the stadium. They certainly got their money’s worth. The clubs staged an epic duel, the game running 16 innings before being called due to darkness with the score knotted at four runs apiece. Among the ballplayers taking part in the battle were future Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Bill Dickey and Tony Lazzeri for the Yanks, and Earl Averill for the Indians.

But the wildest action took place just before the ballgame, as described in the Sporting News of August 6, 1936:

While the Tribe was holding batting practice the Three Marx Brothers of screen and stage fame, came roaring into the big bowl with a police escort and a bevy of beauties. The trio climaxed an impromptu act by downing Second Baseman Roy Hughes of the Indians and tearing off his shirt as the great crowd roared and Roy blushed.

While Lou Gehrig collected three hits at the plate that day, the Iron Horse may have gotten an even bigger kick posing with the three comedic geniuses who were the Marx Brothers.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum features a collection of nearly 250,000 photographs like this one. Reproductions are available for purchase. To purchase a reprint of this photograph or others from the Photo Archive collections, please call (607) 547-0375. Hall of Fame members receive a 10-percent discount.

A Yankee in Southeast Asia

This photo shows former New York Yankee outfielder Joe DiMaggio greeting U.S. troops during a November 1969 trip to Vietnam. Taken at Fire Support Base “Jake” in the Tay Ninh Province of South Vietnam, the photo shows DiMaggio, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1955, meeting with members of the 3rd Squadron, 11th Armoured Cavalry Regiment. Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn and other ballplayers Ron Swoboda, Reggie Jackson, Jim Grant and Milt Pappas joined the Yankee Clipper as the members of the United Service Organizations tour.

The objective of the two-week trip was to spend time visiting GIs at various outposts around Vietnam, talking baseball and lightening up the mood. DiMaggio, who had just finished up the 1969 season as the Oakland Athletics executive vice president, understood the impact of the trip explaining, “We’re here to make the fellows faces light up.” DiMaggio’s attitude reflected baseball’s commitment to providing troops with a small taste of home during times of turmoil. The 1969 trip to Vietnam was one of four trips planned that winter. The U.S.O. also scheduled trips to visit the wounded in hospitals and troops stationed in Hawaii, Guam, Japan, and the Philipines. 

Interestingly, DiMaggio’s tour to Vietnam in 1969 was not the first trip he had made there. In 1967, he joined Jerry Coleman, Tony Conigliaro, Pete Rose, and Yankee vice president Bob Fishel on a multi-week tour of military bases in Vietnam and Thailand. 

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum features a collection of nearly 250,000 photographs like this one. Reproductions are available for purchase. To purchase a reprint of this photograph or others from the Photo Archive collections, please call (607) 547-0375. Hall of Fame members receive a 10-percent discount.

Beautiful #Braves Museum at Turner Field commemorates franchise stalwarts enshrined in Cooperstown.

Beautiful #Braves Museum at Turner Field commemorates franchise stalwarts enshrined in Cooperstown.

Last day with #Braves HOF plaques in Atlanta. Fans can visit throughout tonight’s game at Hank Aaron Room at Turner Field.

Last day with #Braves HOF plaques in Atlanta. Fans can visit throughout tonight’s game at Hank Aaron Room at Turner Field.

Tony La Russa with his #HOF plaque tonight before #Athletics game in Oakland.

Tony La Russa with his #HOF plaque tonight before #Athletics game in Oakland.

#Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy takes photos of Braves HOFer plaques Saturday at Turner Field.

#Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy takes photos of Braves HOFer plaques Saturday at Turner Field.

#Braves season ticket holders pose with the #HOF plaques of Cox, Glavine & Maddux at Turner Field on Friday.

#Braves season ticket holders pose with the #HOF plaques of Cox, Glavine & Maddux at Turner Field on Friday.

Thirty-six years ago today, Eddie Mathews was inducted into the HOF with Addie Joss and Larry MacPhail. #Braves #throwbackthursday

Thirty-six years ago today, Eddie Mathews was inducted into the HOF with Addie Joss and Larry MacPhail. #Braves #throwbackthursday

Twenty-four years ago today, Nolan Ryan won his 300th career game. In this photo by Brad Mangin, Ryan is shown the day after he threw his sixth career no-hitter - which also came in 1990. #throwbackthursday

Twenty-four years ago today, Nolan Ryan won his 300th career game. In this photo by Brad Mangin, Ryan is shown the day after he threw his sixth career no-hitter - which also came in 1990. #throwbackthursday