CLARKSVILLE, TN – The Customs House Museum’s Crouch Gallery is packed with nostalgia, art, and artifacts of baseball. The exhibit, titled Batter Up! Celebrating America’s Pastime, features items from the Museum’s collection, the art of Chris Felix, and memorabilia from private collectors. One gem in the show includes a 1927 World Series game ball signed by the Washington Senators, including local legend Hod Lisenbee and several Baseball Hall of Famers, including Goose Goslin, Tris Speaker, and Sam Rice. Other collectibles include an Orioles Baseball Jersey worn by Jim Palmer and a 1950 Brooklyn Dodgers Baseball Cap.
Fans of the sport will enjoy the artwork of legendary players done by artist Chris Felix, who specializes in realistic acrylic paintings with a story. A graduate of Elder High School and the College of Art Advertising in Cincinnati, Felix first received recognition for his art as a sixth-grader at St. William School when his pencil sketch of Johnny Bench won him a Cincinnati Reds autographed baseball in a local department store’s “Draw Your Favorite Reds Player” contest. 32 years later in 2012, Felix took 1st and 3rd place in the “Art of Winning” art show at the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. His work has been accepted by such honorable institutions as The Louisville Slugger Museum, The National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (New York), The Green Diamond Gallery (Cincinnati), The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, The Museum Center at Cincinnati Union Terminal, The National Art Museum of Sport (Indianapolis), The George Krevsky Gallery (San Francisco), Convivio Center (San Diego), Art on the Levee Gallery (Newport), Topps Baseball Cards as well as others.
A main focus of the exhibition is the local history of the sport. The Clarksville Little League, school teams, Austin Peay University, and the Clarksville Rockets are included. William “Little Billy” Jackson founded the Rockets Baseball Team in Clarksville in the mid-1940s. The Rockets were scouted by various Negro League Teams, including the Kansas City Monarchs, who recruited players Davey Whitney and Steve Wylie. Also in the show is Hugh Poland’s New York Giants uniform, glove, and ball. Born in Tompkinsville, KY, Poland debuted in the Major League with the New York Giants in 1943. He went on to play with the Boston Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, and Cincinnati Reds. Poland batted left-handed and threw right-handed.
Batter Up! Celebrating America’s Pastime is on view through July 28. The Customs House Museum & Cultural Center is located at the corner of Second and Commerce Street, the Customs House Museum is the second largest general museum in Tennessee. For more information contact Terri Jordan, Exhibits Curator, at 931-648-5780 or firstname.lastname@example.org.