Monday, August 8, 2011

"Not Exactly Cooperstown" Exhibition Opens in Burbank

From The Baseball Reliquary -

In its ongoing mission of traversing the Southern California landscape to present a wide variety of baseball exhibitions and programs, the Baseball Reliquary returns to beautiful downtown Burbank with Not Exactly Cooperstown, an exhibition which features new and recently-acquired artifacts and artworks, along with some perennial favorites. Not Exactly Cooperstown will run from August 8-September 29, 2011 at the Burbank Central Library, 110 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, California.

Highlights of the exhibition include the first public display of one-eyed umpire Max McLeary’s legendary mask, with the Frontier League baseball still lodged between its bars that broke his nose, gave him a concussion, and led to one of the greatest stories in baseball history; a singed toupee worn by the late Ron Santo, the power-hitting third baseman and long-time radio announcer for the Chicago Cubs, which caught fire on a cold night in April 2003 at New York’s Shea Stadium when he stood up in the announcer’s booth for the National Anthem and got too close to an overhead electric heater; and some of the grooviest threads to ever appear on a professional baseball diamond, a psychedelic peace-and-love jersey featuring peace symbols, flowers, spacey swirls, and Great Britain’s Union Jack flag, worn by players on the Stockton Ports of the Class-A California League for a 2010 promotion, “Salute to the Beatles Night.”

Other artifacts on view include a box of baseballs bearing the forged signature of Mother Teresa, seized in 2000 as part of the FBI’s undercover “Operation Bullpen” raid and later donated to the Baseball Reliquary to alert the general public to the prevalence of counterfeit and fraudulent memorabilia in the hobby marketplace; a humanitarian award given to Ty Cobb in 1950 by the Royston, Georgia Chamber of Commerce along with a handwritten letter by pitcher Carl Mays which provides the sordid details of an on-field confrontation with Cobb that nearly ended Mays’s career; a collection of relics from the legendary House of David barnstorming baseball teams; and paintings depicting the most valuable baseball card in history, the Honus Wagner T-206 tobacco card, along with a selection of artist-designed and defaced baseball cards, sans the bubble gum of course.

And to top things off, the Baseball Reliquary presents a shrine to one of its newest inductees to the Shrine of the Eternals, the organization’s alternative and anti-establishment hall of fame: Ted Giannoulas, a.k.a. the San Diego Chicken. On display is the Chicken’s head from a game-worn costume, a variety of props including the infamous eye chart to better assist umpires in their chosen profession, photos and memorabilia, and the Chicken’s Shrine of the Eternals inductee plaque.

As is the case with most Baseball Reliquary exhibitions, Not Exactly Cooperstown features an excellent selection of artworks, courtesy of Ben Sakoguchi, Greg Jezewski, Paul Kuhrman, and William Scaff. Also on view is a new work, “Got Cheery Optimism?,” from Stephen Seemayer’s L.A. Blue Bum series, which is depicted on the artist’s Web site at

Library hours for the exhibition are Monday-Thursday, 9:30 am-9:00 pm; Friday, 9:30 am-6:00 pm; Saturday, 10:00 am-6:00 pm; closed Sunday. For further information, contact the Baseball Reliquary by phone at (626) 791-7647 or by e-mail at For directions, phone the Burbank Central Library at (818) 238-5600 during library hours. Not Exactly Cooperstown is made possible, in part, by a grant to the Baseball Reliquary from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

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