Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (Kansas City, Missouri)
On Feb. 13, 1920, Andrew “Rube” Foster gathered the owners of seven Midwestern Black baseball teams for a meeting at the Paseo YMCA in Kansas City. His goal? To establish a Black professional league that would protect owners and players from being fleeced by white booking agents who controlled access to big stadiums. Together, the group established the Negro National League, which operated for 40 years, sparking economic growth within Black communities and leading to social change in America. Those teams are celebrated at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, two blocks from that historic YMCA. Through interactive exhibits, video presentations and memorable artifacts, museum visitors learn the history of African American baseball from Jim Crow to Jackie Robinson, examining the impact of discrimination and racial divide on the Black players’ experience and the role the game played in promoting desegregation and social advancement.
1616 East 18th St.; 816-221-1920; $10 adults, $9 adults 65 and older, $6 children 5-12, free for children 4 and younger.
Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory (Louisville, Kentucky)
What do Cal Ripken Jr., Derek Jeter, Jackie Robinson and Lou Gehrig have in common? Besides being some of baseball’s most famous players, each one stepped up to the plate swinging a genuine Louisville Slugger bat. Dedicated to baseball’s second most important piece of equipment, the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory pays homage to the players who set records with their Sluggers and the skilled craftspeople who make the bats. An enormous, 120-foot replica of Babe Ruth’s iconic bat greets museum guests who head inside to swing for the fences in the batting cages, view a bat used by Mickey Mantle and examine the third Slugger Joe DiMaggio used during his epic 1941 hitting streak. The best part may be the tour experience at the on-site factory, where cylinders of northern white ash are turned into 1.8-million bats every year. The museum is celebrating the renovation of the gallery on April 5, when the first 500 guests to tour the museum will receive a pennant and miniature bat.
800 West Main St.; 877-775-8443; $18 adults, $17 adults 60 and older, $11 children 6-12, free for children 5 and under. Timed admission tickets are recommended and can be purchased online.
Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum (Baltimore, Maryland)
Whether you know him as the Sultan of Swat, the Colossus of Clout or the Great Bambino, there’s no denying that George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr. was a baseball legend. Tucked down a Baltimore side street a short walk from Oriole Park at Camden Yards sits the redbrick row house where Ruth was born and lived until he was sent to the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys at age 7. That house is now a museum that traces the Babe’s life story from his tumultuous childhood years through his rise to fame and his poignant personal life. Exhibits — assembled with the help of Ruth’s widow, sisters and daughters — feature memorable pieces such as his boyhood catcher’s mitt, his 1914 rookie baseball card and a kimono from Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel that was presented to the Babe during a 1934 barnstorming tour of Japan.
216 Emory St.; 410-727-1539; $13 adults, $11 military and adults 65 and older, $7 children/teens 5-16. (No advanced ticket purchase is necessary.)