Dr. Stan the Stats Man Travels to Baltimore (Part 2) – A Fabulous Sports Vacation Awaits You in Baltimore

Three blocks away from the Babe Ruth Museum is the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards, which is the state’s sports history headquarters. It features exhibits on the Baltimore Orioles, Colts, Ravens and Blast; Orioles Hall of Fame; Negro League teams; the Preakness; the Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame; regional college athletics; a Kids’ Discovery Room; and much more! This museum occupies the basement and first floor of the old Camden Railroad Station. Opened in 1856, the Camden Station served as a passenger terminal for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the country’s first commercial railroad. Camden Station itself is an historic site, as the first blood of the Civil War was shed outside the station on Pratt Street.. Abraham Lincoln also passed through the building on several occasions, once on his way to Gettysburg. Unused since the 1980s, the Camden Station was restored to become the home of the Sports Legend Museum which opened in May of 2005.Above the main desk of the museum is a large sign listing the favorite Baltimore sports legends, ranked from 1 to 10 on the basis of the total votes they received from visitors to the museum. The names that appear are Ray Lewis, Michael Phelps, Cal Ripken Jr, Juan Dixon, Roger Staubach, Babe Ruth, Johnny Unitas, Frank Robinson, Pam Shriver, and Brooks Robinson. I challenge you to rank them from 1 to 10. The next blog will list them from 1 to 10 along with their total votes. Jerry A., who was at the front desk , told me that six years ago all the votes were lost from a computer failure and the vote counts I see are what they were six years ago.Jerry A. also told me some interesting stories about Babe Ruth. One of these stories was about a special hymnal book which was discovered under floor boards at the St Mary’s Industrial School in Baltimore. At the age of seven, George Ruth Sr. delivered his mischievous son George Herman Ruth to St. Mary’s (the story that Babe Ruth was an orphan is false). Many years later under these floor boards Ruth’s hymnal book was found. Ruth wrote on the inside cover “World’s Worse (sic) Singer, World’s Best Pitcher.” Inside the Sports Legend Museum I came across a display featuring a man I never heard of. His name was Sam Lacy. Sam Lacy was a newspaper man who wrote for the Afro-American in Baltimore. He was a major driving force that led to Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball. It was Lacy who began a dialogue with Branch Rickey, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers that ultimately led to Jackie Robinson signing with the Dodgers. Lacy spent the next three years traveling with Jackie dining at the same segregated restaurants with Jackie, and staying at the same “blacks only” boarding houses as Robinson. Like Robinson and the other black athletes he had covered, Lacy encountered racist indignities and hardships. Lacy became the first black admitted to The Baseball Writers Association of America. Lacy died in 2003 at the age of 99. What upsets black historians is the failure to mention Sam Lacy in the movie 42. If your family loves sports, like I do, a weekend spent at the scenic Inner Harbor of Baltimore is a five-star vacation. Within easy walking distance of each other are Camden Yards, the Babe Ruth Museum, and the Sports Legends Museum. On one day you can first have a meal in the Orioles Restaurant located in the warehouse behind the right field stands and then attend a baseball game at Camden Yards. On the next day you can visit both the Babe Ruth Museum and the Sports Legend Museum. I promise you this weekend will provide your family with lasting memories.

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