Baseball is both heroic and humble. It is neighborhood and childhood and summer all rolled into one. It has its own time frame—as Yogi Berra says, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over. It also has its own unique space, as no other game is played on a diamond. For generations, the game has challenged artists to capture some of this magic.
Each work of art in The Gladstone Collection of Baseball Art—whether the maker was an academic artist or a sign painter with a deadline—is about the game itself. No two games are alike, but they all have in common the bat, the ball, the players, the crowd, and the moment.
The Art of Baseball, on view from April 17 through September 20, 2015 in the Wallace Kane Gallery at the Concord Museum, featured works by acclaimed American artists—including William Merritt Chase, Robert Rauschenberg, and William Zorach—as well as folk artists who were inspired by the sport (walk through the galleries of The Art of Baseball). This accompanying on-line exhibition brings together additional material for an expanded look at the history of baseball in the town of Concord, Massachusetts.
To view images or videos, please click on the images below.
Browse the Boston Public Library’s rich archive of photographs related to Boston’s home team–the Red Sox.
Explore The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum whose 40,000 three-dimensional artifacts are used to tell the story of nearly two centuries of baseball history.
Read the essay “Fan” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, on the website for the PBS film Baseball by Ken Burns.
Whether it is the famed Henry Thoreau writing in 1856 about when the Concord fields were sufficiently dry in April to play ball, or the local newspaper gloating about a Concord Base Ball Club defeat of Boston 36 to 2 on Fourth of July 1879, baseball has a place in Concord’s history. As Renee Garrelick wrote in Concord in the Days of Strawberries and Streetcars, her 1985 history of Concord in the early twentieth century, “Baseball once held an unrivaled place in the recreational life of the community. From backyard games to semi-pro events swelling crowds to the thousands at Emerson Playground, baseball was the dominant recreational pastime for Concordians.”
“Fast day—Some fields are dried sufficiently for the games of ball—with which this season is commonly ushered in. I associate this day, when I can remember it, with games of base-ball played over behind the hills in the russet fields toward Sleepy Hollow where the snow was just melted & dried up.” – Henry D. Thoreau, Journal, 10 April 1856
“At 9 o’clock A.M., a match game of Base Ball was played on the Concord grounds, between the “Diamonds” of Boston and the “Concords” of Concord, in which the former suffered an overwhelming defeat. Score 36 to 2 in 8 innings.” – The Concord Freeman, July 10, 1879, reporting on July 4 festivities on the grounds behind the railroad depot
“Concord was all asparagus in those days, and we all worked at the asparagus farms. When we would get done working at night, we would all head down to Emerson Playground to play baseball in the Asparagus League. That league was established in about 1930, and it quit in about 1950 when television came in….It was the happiest time in my life in the Asparagus League.”
– Tom Hayes, interviewed August 22, 2005 at age 81, Concord Oral History Project (click here for the full interview)
With special thanks to
Doris Kearns Goodwin
Millie and Bill Gladstone
for making this exhibition possible
We are also grateful for the support of
With major foundation support from
Elise and Pierce Browne | Susan M. Halby | Ginny and Peter Nicholas
Renee and Jim Skeffington, Jr. Charitable Fund
Salem Five Charitable Foundation
Lowell Spinners | Red Sox Foundation
Barbara and Ted Alfond | The Gladstone Collection of Baseball Art
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
Background photo: Pillow Sham, 1907. The Gladstone Collection of Baseball Art. Photograph by John Maggiotto.
The Art of Baseball, was on view in the Wallace Kane Gallery at the Concord Museum from April 17 through September 20, 2015. Photos by Mary Orr.