Home Town Teams: A Ball and a Bat”
The Independence Historical Museum and Art Center opened a new exhibit in 2013 dedicated to the history of baseball in Independence. Many articles and artifacts from this rich history have been, and continue to be collected to enhance the exhibit. The current exhibit features the first night game in the history of organized baseball and and tells of games against Negro League baseball teams. Female players, like the Detroit Bloomer Girls, played baseball in Independence. Registration of the Producers Park Grandstand as an historic site is being pursued with plans for renovation underway.
The Hometown Teams partner exhibit will feature multiple activities that will enhance the themes of the traveling Smithsonian exhibition and provide an opportunity to engage all ages in baseball events. Possible activities include:
- Opening Reception -A reception is planned during the first days of the exhibition to introduce the exhibit to the public and promote activities associated with it. Local businesses, media, state and local elected officials, members of the Kansas Humanities Council staff and board, and the Attorney General will be invited guests.
- A baseball luncheon will be held to commemorate Independence as a professional baseball site with members of early teams as guests.
- Guests will be invited to tell stories of their baseball experiences in Independence. These stories will be video taped for archiving and research.
- Mantel Home-run Derby-A home-run derby is planned to engage young baseball players by competing for prizes while attempting to hit a baseball over the wall where Mickey Mantel hit is first home run. The event will be planned by local baseball enthusiasts in association with the Independence Recreation commission.
- Exploring the impact of baseball on Independence - A panel will be held with former professional ball players, radio announcers, and community members involved with baseball activities in the community to explore the questions previously mentioned.
- Book Discussion - The library will host book discussions led by experts on the topic.
- Oral History of Baseball in Independence - Recorded interviews will be conducted with people that watched or assisted with early baseball games. Interviews edited and played during the exhibition.
- 1890's Baseball Game - A exhibition baseball game in 1890's uniforms, with rules of the time staged at a local ball park.