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Soak up baseball history at these museums

By: BETH J. HARPAZ The Associated Press
March 30, 2014 Updated: March 30, 2014 at 10:02 pm
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photo - FILE - This June 16, 2008 file photo shows baseball fans in front of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. There are many destinations of interest to baseball fans around the country outside ballparks from museums and statues to historic homes. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)
FILE - This June 16, 2008 file photo shows baseball fans in front of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. There are many destinations of interest to baseball fans around the country outside ballparks from museums and statues to historic homes. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File) 

Dedicated baseball fans often take road trips to watch favorite teams play in storied stadiums around the country. But there are plenty of places to steep yourself in baseball lore outside the ballparks.

Here are a few ideas, ranging from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., to the Louisville Slugger factory in Kentucky.

Salutes to individual players: If you have a favorite baseball great, chances are there's a destination honoring him, whether it's a birthplace, home, museum or statue.

In Baltimore, check out the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, located inside four row houses, baberuthmuseum.org, with the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards a few blocks away. In Fargo, N.D., there's a Roger Maris Museum, rogermarismuseum.com. Mobile, Ala., has the Hank Aaron Childhood Home and Museum, hankaaronstadium.com, while Royston, Ga., is home to the Ty Cobb Museum, tycobbmuseum.org. The Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame at Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, in St. Petersburg, Fla., pays tribute to the Red Sox legend and others, tedwilliamsmuseum.com.

Salutes to individual teams: Many teams have their own halls of fame or exhibit halls, often in or near the ballparks.

Ghosts of old parks: There's a sign for Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, N.Y., where the Dodgers once played, but today it's the site of an apartment complex and parking lot. Sections of Braves Field in Boston were incorporated into Boston University's Nickerson Field. And in Hoboken, N.J., you'll find markers in the vicinity of 11th and Washington for Elysian Fields, marking the spot where locals say the first organized baseball game was played.

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum: The museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., a four-hour drive from New York City and Boston, celebrates its 75th birthday this summer, with events planned for June 12 that include guests such as Cal Ripken Jr., and an Aug. 2 concert featuring Paul Simon. The museum tells the sport's story through thousands of photos and artifacts, baseballhall.org.

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum: Located in Kansas City, Mo., the museum preserves the history of the leagues where black athletes played before the sport was integrated, nlbm.com.

World of Little League Museum: This museum in South Williamsport, Pa., reopened last year after a $4 million renovation. Its collection includes President George W. Bush's Little League roster along with Little League jerseys worn by Gary Carter and Mike Mussina, littleleague.org/learn/museum.htm.

Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory: Located in Louisville, Ky., this company has been manufacturing bats since 1884. There's a factory tour and a museum featuring bats gripped by baseball greats, sluggermuseum.org.

Field of Dreams: The field in Dyersville, Iowa, was the setting for the 1989 movie "Field of Dreams" starring Kevin Costner. Fans can toss a ball around on the diamond carved from a cornfield from April to November, fodmoviesite.com.

Schrader's Little Cooperstown: This exhibit at the St. Petersburg Museum of History in Florida showcases the world's largest collection of signed baseballs - 4,600 of them valued at more than $2 million. It's named for collector Dennis Schrader, spmoh.com/visit/exhibits/baseball/.

International museums: The Latino Baseball Hall of Fame (Salon de la Fama del Beisbol Latino) is located in La Romana in the Dominican Republic. In Japan, there is a Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum within the Tokyo Dome. The Canadian Baseball Hall located in St. Marys, Ontario.

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