The Polo Grounds will come alive again through an upcoming exhibition located in the shadows of where the extinct sports venue once stood in New York City.
“Home Plate: A Celebration of the Polo Grounds” will open at the Morris-Jumel Mansion on August 22 and run through January 5, featuring memorabilia from moments associated with the historic stadium.
The exhibit will be curated by Neil Scherer, a long-time sports fan whose specialty is creating framed tribute pieces to historic baseball moments with photographs, autographs and memorabilia. His works will be among the items on display inside the mansion, which was built in 1765 and is considered the oldest residential property in Manhattan. For several weeks in 1776, George Washington used the home as headquarters for his army. The entire history of the home is fascinating but it’s the location near one of New York’s most historic sports venues that makes it a perfect host for the baseball exhibit.
“The Morris Jumel was basically across the street from the Polo Grounds and was in viewing distance to historic events including Willie Mays’ catch, Bobby Thomson‘s blast, Carl Hubbell‘s All-Star feat as well as Dempsey-Firpo and the sad death of Ray Chapman,” Scherer told us.
The owner of Going, Going Gone Sports, Scherer’s “sports conversation pieces” have previously been featured in numerous other exhibits dedicated to baseball history. This time, he’ll incorporate both his framed collages, which feature ticket stubs, autographs, photos and programs, with standalone items. He works to acquire memorabilia from auctions and online sources that help him build the framed pieces that tell a story. Most take nine to twelve months to complete and some are for sale.
“Some of the works are direct to the Polo Grounds such as the Shot Heard ‘Round the World and 1938 New York Football Giants championship,” he explained. “Others such as Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig World Series displays include World Series home run tickets from the Polo Grounds. Although the 1927 Yankees won at Yankee Stadium, we show that the team started to take shape at the Polo Grounds, with Ruth, Meusel and others.”
The bathtub shaped stadium was home to the New York Giants baseball team from 1891- 1957, the New York Yankees from 1913 – 22, the New York Giants football team from 1925-55, New York Mets from 1962-1963, as well as other professional teams and memorable athletic events.
“The exhibition will explore and celebrate those teams, players, and personalities that solidified the stadium as a New York icon and famed venue where local and national heroes cemented their reputations and legacies. Included in the exhibition are extraordinarily rare autographs, tickets, photos, programs, and other ephemera that serves to commemorate the ghosts of this legendary New York athletic pantheon. –Morris-Jumel Museum
An advance preview of the exhibition will occur before the public opening featuring a meet and greet with Scherer. He’ll also conduct hour-long monthly tours on five Sundays during the exhibit’s run.
Tickets and more information is available on the museum’s website.