Did I go to The Baseball Hall of Fame last week with the intention of writing a blog post about knitting? Absolutely not. But when you love two very different things, like baseball and knitting, you tend to freak out when those things unexpectedly overlap.
So fair warning: this is a real freak out baseball knitting love fest.
New York Giants Warm Up Sweater
The Baseball Hall of Fame is in Cooperstown NY – a tiny town in the middle of the state that just happened to fall not too far out of our way between Boston and the cottage we were driving to last weekend. We couldn’t NOT make it happen!
At the start of The Baseball Hall of Fame it’s a lot of memorabilia from the few baseball teams that have been around since the late 1800s. The New York Giants, who didn’t move to San Fransisco until 1958, were one of those original teams, so the start of the museum was Giants-heavy, including this spectacular knit warm up sweater, which still looked to be in pretty awesome shape considering it has to be around 80 years old.
Yankees Warm Up Sweater
This Yankee warm up sweater from 1925 hasn’t held up as well but looks very hand knit, doesn’t it? The way the sleeves and pockets are set in? There was no information on either sweater about their origins, and I couldn’t find any information about the history of hand knits in baseball online.
There were tons of knit stockings from every early team displayed, including these White Sox stockings from 1917.
Babe Ruth Mini-Tapestry
Though not knitted, this mini-tapestry of Babe Ruth caught my eye. Ray Masterson creates these tiny baseball tapestries with 1,200 stitches per square inch. He started making them to pass the time during a 15 year prison sentence! He’s got a crazy story and is a great example of baseball crafting.
The elaborate embroidered jerseys everyone had in the early baseball days were all amazing. None were as detailed as the early St Louis Cardinals jerseys. Again, I couldn’t find any information on the history of the embroidery on the jerseys. In my next life I’m going to be a hand crafted baseball historian.
Once you walked up through the 1950s, though, most of the knitwear disappeared. Which makes sense! I can’t imagine anyone playing baseball in knits. Its a summer sport! I bet all the players were excited to see the back side of knitted garments.
Hand Knit Socks!
THEN toward the end of the museum I came across these hand knit socks made by Meredith Wills, who I FOUND ON RAVELRY and sent a gushing HOLYSHITYOUAREAMAZING message. Because this knitter is in the freaking Baseball Hall of Fame! For knitting! I immediately put this sock pattern in my queue, momentarily forgetting how much I hate colorwork and mostly seriously dislike sock knitting.
Size 0 needles. I would have to frame them. Or, I would have to frame one of them because if I ever cast these on there would be no way I could finish one, much less TWO! Gah. We can dream.
In my baseball knitting research I did come across knitting patterns for baseball warm up sweaters available on ebay! Those are more my speed.
My pictures weren’t all knitting related. I did geek out over my Tigers a LOT. And PT geeked out over the Twins. We were both geeking hard core from start to finish.
It was basically the best time ever. Baseball has such an amazing, rich, long history that I just want to suck up through my pores. As much as it hurts me I keep coming back, and will for the rest of my life. And all that love also involving knitting?! Tears were shed. Tears were shed.
Needless to say, if you ever find yourself driving around New York state, make your way to The Baseball Hall of Fame. If not for a love of baseball, do it for a love of the history of knitting. And bring me with you! I’d go again in a heartbeat.