Vermont is not known for its baseball. The season is short and the state's population is small, two factors which have always made survival a struggle for semi-professional leagues. But since the game's rise in popularity after the Civil War, Vermont has fielded its fair share of teams with loyal fans.
About the Original Exhibit
The exhibit, "Baseball in Vermont: An Enduring Love of the Game," remained open through the end of 2001. VHS, assisted by the Larry Gardner Chapter (Vermont) of the Society for American Baseball Research, showed the history of the game as it evolved over time. The exhibit told the stories of the teams at the local, college, and professional level — and of the fans and the communities that supported them.
The atmosphere of the game was recreated by picturing the places where the games were played, from Centennial Field in Burlington to Island Park in Brattleboro. Baseball artifacts and memorabilia from private and public collections provided a setting to tell the story of baseball in Vermont and put it within the context of the larger historical trends of the day.
The history of Vermont's organized leagues — from the semiprofessional Northeastern League of the 1880s to the present-day professional New York-Penn League — provide a chronological outline for telling the story of Vermont Baseball. All 34 Vermonters who made it to the major leagues, from Fred Mann to Mark Brown, were highlighted in the exhibit. Also featured in the show were major leaguers Larry Gardner, Ray Collins, Ray Fisher, and Ralph Lapointe, who maintained close ties to the state and contributed to baseball's growth and popularity here.
A major focus of the show was on the popularity of town teams. Stories ranging from homegrown talent like Barre's Cornelius Granai and Walter Lanfranconi to the imported professionals like Richford's Jack Bishop or Montpelier's Robin Roberts were told in the exhibit. Famous exhibition games such as the Red Sox visit with the "Home Run King" Babe Ruth in 1919 to the many visits of African-American teams like the Cuban Giants were also recounted.
This exhibit caught the excitement and never-ending popularity of the game, its many variations, and its memorable personalities.
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