The American Legion, which celebrated its 100th anniversary on March 15, is teaming up with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for a centennial celebration at the home of baseball this weekend, March 29-30.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will feature programming with military themes as the American Legion celebrates its 100th anniversary. The iconic veterans organization, which was founded March 15, 1919, has an estimated 2 million members.
Class of 2019 Hall of Famer Lee Smith, who played American Legion Baseball in Natchitoches, La., will participate in a welcome event at 10:30 a.m. Friday in the Museum’s Plaque Gallery and a question-and-answer session at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday in the Museum’s Grandstand Theater. Both events are open to all Hall of Fame visitors.
Following the question-and-answer session, Smith will sign autographs for all guests with American Legion Family membership cards.
Joining Smith for remarks at Friday’s welcome event will be three guests from The American Legion: National Commander Brett P. Reistad, Past National Commander and Chairman of The American Legion 100th Anniversary Observance Committee David K. Rehbein and New York Department Commander Gary Schacher.
Reistad’s theme as national commander is "Celebrating Our Legacy," with special emphasis on the organization's centennial.
Special veterans-themed museum programming March 29-30 will include:
• Plaques of the Gallery Tour – 2:30 p.m. Friday; 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Aimed at visitors of all ages, this program educates visitors about the history of the Hall of Fame gallery, and the process by which each plaque is made and installed in this 20-minute guided tour.
• Guided Museum Tours – 1:30 p.m. Friday; 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Join us in honoring the museum’s military members in a special guided tour that highlights artifacts and players that have served our country.
• Curator Spotlight: Moe Berg Exhibit – 11:30 a.m. Friday. Visitors will have the opportunity to go on a special guided tour of the museum’s newest exhibit, Moe Berg: Big League Spy, led by a Hall of Fame curator. This tour provides visitors the unique opportunity to learn about the creation process behind the Hall of Fame exhibits.
• Operation Gratitude – 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Honor the military personnel and veterans by taking some time out of your visit to write a letter to our soldiers and veterans. All letters will be sent to Operation Gratitude.
From March 29-30, a display titled “American Legion Baseball: Citizenship Through Sportsmanship” detailing the history of American Legion Baseball and its ties to the Hall of Fame will be available to museum visitors in the Library Atrium with a corresponding video shown in the neighboring Bullpen Theater.
American Legion members, family members and their guests will receive a special museum admission rate of $12 March 29-30. RSVP is requested by The American Legion at this website.
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American Legion Baseball, established in the 1920s, has become a part of the fabric of our national pastime. One-quarter of the 329 members of the National Baseball Hall of Famers have roots in Legion ball. The first of those 81 Hall of Famers was Bob Feller, inducted in 1962.
The Hall of Fame celebrates veterans year-round with free admission to active and career 20-year retired military members, and honors Hall of Famers whose careers were interrupted by military service with special medallions in the museum’s historic Plaque Gallery.
The Hall of Fame annually honors the American Legion Baseball Player of the Year at the Memorial Day Weekend Hall of Fame Classic.