Resources available at sports halls of fame can make research a slam dunk.
If there is one aspect of American life that cries out for archival preservation, it’s the memory of our sports leagues and competitions. Name your favorite sport and there is more than likely (1) a Hall of Fame for the sport, (2) an associated reference library associated with that hall staffed by smart researchers who can field even arcane questions and (3) usually an archive.
The Giamatti Research Center at the Baseball Hall of Fame, named the former MLB commissioner Bart Giamatti, is one of the great ones. Their research library and archives have old box scores, multimedia records of broadcasts, line-ups, bios of players and just about anything else to make the heart of a diehard [Insert your team here] fan go thumpetty-thump.
The researchers are awesome. Got an unanswerable question about a 1936 Yankees game? Forget about going to the videotape. Go to these researchers. They’ve got all the play-by-play you will ever need.
- Giamatti Research Center
- Library Catalog (Select “Manuscript Archives Collections” to narrow your search for archival holdings under Collection Search.
OTHER SPORTS HALLs OF FAME
Alas, no searchable archive or research library, though the contacts do list an archivist. The University of Kansas maintains a centralized archive of materials concerning basketball’s inventor James Naismith. Good luck finding a collection of original Air Jordans.
Bowling has a hall of fame. I have been to it. I am proud of it.
Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame
International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame
There is no library or searchable archive that I could find, but the international museum does have a feature titled “Explore the Vault” – you might want to tune in to the oxymoronic “Bowling Fashion” for tips on how to stay stylin’ on the lanes.
Soccer (“Football” to non-Americans)
FIFA World Football Museum
Information Research Center