The Chicago Cubs won their last World Series 107 years ago, led by Fresno High School alumnus and player/manager Frank Chance, now best remembered by the “Tinker to Evers to Chance” refrain from the poem, “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon.” The trading cards of Chance, fellow Baseball Hall of Famers Tom Seaver and Bobby Cox, and 25 other 20th century Major League Baseball players with Fresno-area ties will be exhibited at Fresno State’s Henry Madden Library from April 1 to May 30.
The display of more than 380 baseball cards will be the inaugural exhibition of the Fresno-based American Baseball Card Museum. The museum is a new nonprofit organization to promote and facilitate the study and appreciation of American culture, history and art through baseball cards. The museum’s strategy is to build its collection via tax-deducible card donations from aging collectors.
Most local baseball fans will recognize the featured players from the 1960s and later, such as Dick Ellsworth, Jim Maloney, Pat Corrales, Rex Hudler and Tom Goodwin. Few will recognize colorful old timers like Frenchy Bordagaray, the only major leaguer to wear a mustache between 1914 and 1972, or Hub Leonard, holder of the modern record for lowest earned run average during the 1914 season. Leonard is also known for accusing Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker of conspiring to throw a game.
The exhibition includes more than 35 of Chance’s tobacco and candy cards from the beginning of the 20th century, more than 30 Dave Henderson cards from near the end of the 20th century and many cards in between. There will be cards from the T206 set (the set that has the iconic Honus Wagner card), American Caramel, T205, Goudy Gum, Sporting News, Play Ball, Bazooka, Mecca, Turkey Red, Hassan, National Chicle, Red Heart, Signal Gas, Zeenut, Bowman, Kellogg and nearly every Topps set from its initial one in 1951 through 1999.
The show will feature augmented reality technology to enhance the visitors’ experience. A supplemental American Baseball Card Museum Fresno cARds exhibition app, created by University of Iowa professor Kevin Ripka, will allow users to interact with the cards and virtually flip them over in their display cases. The free app also serves as a virtual exhibition for those who can’t be at the show.
A special version of the app will also be featured in a Madden Library kiosk to give visitors a sense of the cards’ tactility. These augmented reality cards, when viewed through the kiosk iPad, will allow a user to interact with them as if they were handling the real thing.
The public is invited to an American Baseball Card Museum opening reception at 6 p.m. Friday, April 8, at the Madden Library. The event is free and open to the public. Parking is free.
RSVP to the reception by entering the code LIBBASEBALL.
To download the free app, look for Fresno cARds in the Apple App Store or download it here.
For more information about disability accommodations or physical access, call 559.278.5792 in advance.