Extra Innings – News from the Baseball Hall of Fame

With people getting back to normal after March Break and winter taking its last gasps (we hope), it seemed a good time to catch up with our co-op student, Brett Bellamy. Brett came to us from Ottawa’s Algonquin College at the beginning of January and will wrap up his CBHFM placement at the end of April.   Here’s a portion of our chat, which took place in the Museum on a very windy day.

To begin, Brett, how do you like St. Marys?

Very much.  It’s quiet, the people are nice and this is a great part of Ontario.  I enjoyed participating in Heritage Day, have taken up bowling again and have had some great talks with Scott and others about baseball.

How did you come to the CBHFM?

Third-year students enrolled in Algonquin College’s Applied Museum Studies Program must complete a 460-hour field placement at a historical institution, with a specific set of work projects agreed upon by the student and host museum. Upon successful completion of the internship, the students create a visual panel, something like a science fair display, to illustrate their experience to students, teachers and museum professionals at the Applied Museum Studies Graduate Showcase which will take place on April 27. (Actual graduation is in June.)

We were provided with a list of potential host museums to choose from, and the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum was a natural fit for me.

I’ve been a baseball fanatic and a Blue Jays fan ever since I was a kid growing up in Newmarket. Researching the game’s history has always been an interest of mine. I was fascinated when my great-uncle, born in 1907, told me he had seen a young Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run into Lake Ontario at Toronto’s Hanlan’s Point stadium in 1914.  Given this memory, seeing the Babe Ruth artifacts in this collection is a thrill.

So, what exactly are you doing every day?

My day-to-day projects include removing artifacts from permanent display in order to assign accession numbers, and record their condition and measurements, as well as photographing and labeling the artifacts. Additionally, I complete condition reports and provide storage and display recommendations.

I also host some of the off-season Museum tours and I take great pride in passing on my baseball knowledge to visitors. Prior to the tours, I have to return the artifacts to their display cases and pack up all the materials used for labeling the artifacts. Afterwards, I restore my makeshift office. It’s fun, and adds variety to the work day.

I’ll be going back to Ottawa at the end of April, for graduation and the inevitable hunt for a job, preferably at another small museum. It’s too bad that I can’t stay on here.  I’d really like to.  But I’ll be back for Induction Day.

Inductee birthdays this month:  March 2 – Frank Colman, 7 – Joe Carter and Claude Raymond, 14 – Dave McKay, 17 – Cito Gaston, 30 – Dick Fowler.

An early Inductee to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame (1985), Dick Fowler was a tall, golden-armed 18-year-old when he dazzled the Toronto Maple Leafs brass at training camp in 1939. The right-handed pitcher joined his hometown squad in 1940, and Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics purchased his contract later that same year.

Fowler made his big league debut on September 13, 1941. The following year, he pitched 31 games for the Athletics, including one in which he tossed 16 innings in a 1-0 loss. After a three-year hiatus for Canadian Army service, the powerful right-hander no-hit the St. Louis Browns on September 9, 1945.  He  remains the only Canadian to throw a no-hitter in the big leagues. Born in Toronto on March 30, 1921, Fowler died in Oneonta, NY on May 22, 1972.

Now for something completely different: Canadian boxing champion and CBHFM supporter Fitz ‘The Whip’ Vanderpool operates a boxing academy in Waterloo and has founded WHIPYIT, a non-profit devoted to helping at risk and underprivileged youth.

Come out to the St George’s Banquet Hall, 665 King St. N, in Waterloo on Friday, April 7 for the first inaugural WHIPYIT Championship, supporting Fitz’s charity and Evan’s Legacy (Brain Tumor Foundation).  Ten fighters, including CBHFM’s David Morneau, have trained with The Whip for 10 weeks to prepare for the ultimate showdown.  “When the bell rings, the action begins…”  For more information and tickets,call 519-577-7910 or go to whipyit.com .

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