I love when two of my unrelated interests come together. My recent visit to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum fit that bill nicely, combining baseball and presidential history in one place.
Through this weekend, the museum — located in West Branch, Iowa, about 35 minutes southeast of Cedar Rapids — is hosting an exhibit called “The Signature of Baseball.” I had hoped to make this trip to Iowa sooner — the exhibit opened in late January — but unfortunately I couldn’t go until last weekend. Anyway…
The first thing you see when you walk into the two-room exhibit is a display case containing some of Hoover’s baseball memorabilia, including tickets and passes, medals, correspondence, and baseballs. My favorite pieces in this part of the exhibit are the season-long passes and schedules given to Hoover by the two major leagues, including the 1962 National League ones seen in the photo below.
The wall behind the display case is filled with Hoover-related baseball photos, including this one of the former president flanked by Connie Mack (left) and Cy Young (right) before a special Hall of Fame game at Yankee Stadium in 1954.
Along the opposite wall is the Randy L. Kaplan Collection of baseballs autographed by more than 180 world leaders and heads of state, including Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, and the last eight U.S. presidents (Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama).
The second room of the exhibit showcases a glimpse of Iowa baseball history, with a focus on the Cedar Rapids Kernels. The Kernels loaned some artifacts and their historical timeline posters to the museum for inclusion in the exhibit; normally these things can be found on the suite level of Veterans Memorial Stadium.
I highly recommend you check out the history timeline and artifacts at the stadium if you haven’t done so already. Free tours are offered during Kernels games.
*All photos by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler