It’s a Beautiful Night for a Ballgame

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Cloudy and drizzling in Washington today, but I can almost hear old Jack Brickhouse, "It's a beautiful day for a ballgame." And Ernie Banks, "Let's play two." And Harry Caray, "let me hear ya!" at the Seventh Inning Stretch.

It's early April and optimism thrives—every fan's team is headed straight for the post-season playoffs. Stuck, like me, in your cubicle? No tickets? Here's some baseball culled from the Smithsonian's collections to cheer you:

Roberto Clemente became a legend in the 1960s and 1970s with his explosive throwing arm, lightning speed and consistently high batting average. Check out his uniform on view at the National Museum of American History. Or if you happen to be in Austin, Minnesota, the Smithsonian's traveling exhibition, is on view at the Austin Public Library through June 7. Or check the online exhibit from the comforts of your own computer.

Here in Washington, the Anacostia Community Museum looks at the phenomenal popularity and community draw of the sport when played by African Americans in the city's segregated fields and sandlots. Featured are such personalities as Josh Gibson and "Buck" Leonard, stars of the Negro Leagues' most celebrated team, the Homestead Grays.

And over at American Art, check out Morris Kantor's 1934 painting of a night baseball game. Kantor came across a game being played one evening at a country club in West Nyack, New York. Stadium lighting was rare in 1934, (major leagues would not begin night games until 1935) but, the artist knew he had something: "the panoramic spectacle of the field, the surrounding landscape, the people, the players, and the nocturnal atmosphere."

Let me hear ya! Take Me Out to the Ballgame.

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