Anchorage Museum swings into the history of baseball in Alaska
April 22, 2015
“Home Field Advantage: Baseball in the Far North” opens May 1
On its first official Fourth of July celebration in 1915, Anchorage built a new baseball diamond amid a ramshackle tent city sprawled across the flats of Ship Creek. Baseball was becoming a national craze, and Alaskans made it distinctly their own.
“Home Field Advantage: Baseball in the Far North,” on view May 1 through Nov. 1 at the Anchorage Museum, reveals how this national pastime adapted to arctic conditions. Archival photographs, art, artifacts and memorabilia showcase the rich history of baseball in Anchorage and throughout the state, including how late 19th century icebound whalers spread ashes on sea ice to form baseball diamonds.
Visitors also learn about early Ketchikan teams, whose beach-based games were called due to high tide, and how some major league players, including Satchel Paige, once played in the far North.
Exhibition highlights include a program and baseball signed by Satchel Paige when he came to Anchorage to pitch in an exhibition game in 1965; Alaska Goldpanners jerseys for Tom Seaver and Barry Bonds; Roger Clemens’ rookie contract; a 100-year-old baseball from Barrow; first-hand accounts of the Whaleman’s League at Hershel Island from the late nineteenth century; historic film footage of baseball being played around Alaska; and baseball drawings by renowned Alaska artist Fred Machetanz.
This exhibition is an official program of the Anchorage Centennial Celebration.
Home Field Advantage: Baseball in the Far North Opens
6 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 1
Enjoy hot dogs, Cracker Jacks®, Wii® home run derby and a pitching mound. Test your pitching arm against the Mat-Su Miner’s radar gun. Held in conjunction with the exhibition “Home Field Advantage: Baseball in the Far North.” Free
Cook Inlet Historical Society: Home Field Advantage
7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 21
Join Katie Ringsmuth, curator of the exhibition “Home Field Advantage: Baseball in the Far North,” to explore Alaska’s more rugged brand of baseball. This event is presented by the Cook Inlet Historical Society. Free
Anchorage Bucs and Glacier Pilots Fourth of July Throwback Game
6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 4, Mulcahy Stadium
The Anchorage Bucs and Anchorage Glacier Pilots pay tribute to the Anchorage Centennial and the long history of baseball in Anchorage. The players sport their throwback uniforms and feature facts about Anchorage history and baseball during intermissions and before the game.
Alaska Baseball “Curtain Call”
Thursday, Aug. 13
Players, coaches, pundits and fans to relive the glory days of Alaska baseball. Participants share the game’s historic moments and their fondest memories, featuring Bill “Spaceman” Lee who went on to pitch for the Boston Red Sox; Coach Jim Dietz, longtime coach for Goldpanners and Pilots and named coach of the decade by Baseball Congress; Don Dennis, who started the Alaska Baseball League with Red Boucher; and historian Terrence Cole.
The Anchorage Museum is the largest museum in Alaska and one of the top 10 most visited attractions in the state. The museum’s mission is to connect people, expand perspectives and encourage global dialogue about the North and its distinct environment. Learn more at anchoragemuseum.org.