Holiday Road Trip: NYC’s Sports Museum of America

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By Paul M. Banks

The Sports Museum of America, which opened up on Wall Street this spring, -back before people working on that block screwed over the entire world- is reknown for housing the first Heisman trophy. In fact, the only place where you’re allowed to take pictures in the museum at all is the Heisman gallery, also the most comprehensive collection of Heisman winner history and lore other than the just-up-the-metro Downtown Athletic Club- who present the award each December. And after Saturday night, Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, with his ri-dic-u-lous 48:5 TD to INT ratio, will join the heroes of the SMA. This building is kind of like a sports version of the Newseum in D.C. a new age avant-garde type collection housed in a building emphasizing modern design and interactivity. Of course, that interactivity doesn’t include the right to take pictures any place outside the Heisman gallery. Luckily for you the TSB.net reader, I play by my own rules. On a day when museum security guards vastly outnumbered museum patrons, I made sure to snap my pics when they looked the other way.

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Collection highlights include:

-the Bulls’ 6 championship rings,

-Eddie Cicotte’s check from Charles Comiskey (he only received $476.25 out of the $5,000 bonus he was promised for winning 30 games in the 1919 season) that was instrumental to making the Black Sox scandal actually happen

-Jennie Finch’s Olympic jersey and notebook outlining her training schedule for the games

-if that doesn’t arouse you then maybe Brandi Chastain’s World Cup sports bra (from the famous 1999 photo-op

-Mario Lemieux’s stick, Wayne Gretzy’s skates, Mike Singletary’s jersey, Walter Payton’s helmet, Jimmie Johnson’s entire car

-A gigantic Sid the Kid statue (because a house is not a home without a large artificial Sidney Crosby).

Even the minor sports have specific exhibitions and seeing photos of people who regularly play softball in the snow was a fascinating experience. I love my softball team, but that sounds like too much of an “extreme sport” to me. There is quite a bit of sports history on display and many of the rooms showcase more cerebral topics. “Leading the way” highlights the athletic pioneers and social trailblazers that pertain to the issues of race, gender and nationalism in sporting competition.

My favorite aspect of the museum? The baseball portion of course!

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It was such an amazing coincidence that Soxman called me at this exact moment. I was away for 5 days in New York City during this trip; and the Soxcave phone rang me at the exact moment when I was not only at the Sports Museum, not only in the baseball portion, but I was staring at artifacts from Bill Veeck and Ozzie Guillen- weird! Even a Sox geek like me learned something new here: Eddie Cicotte (who was played by David Stratharin in the Black Sox movie “Eight Men Out”) refined and essentially invented the knuckleball. I also learned that the Sox three world titles tie them with the Braves, Twins and Orioles for 10th overall in baseball history.

On deck: Boston Celtics
In the hole: New England Patriots

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Comments

  1. Soxman must have mental telepathy with me sometimes

  2. Really enjoyed this article not only for the articles chosen but your style amuses. Just learned that softball started in Chicago and there is a monument on the southside I think.

  3. Softball is very quintessential Chicago! so its fitting that Finch pitches professionally in Chicago, even if no one goes to the league’s games

  4. EIU Cheerleader/SICA Chick says

    The Heisman is by far my favorite trophy in all of sports

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