A hidden gem awaits baseball fans on the second floor of the River’s Edge Convention Center in downtown St. Cloud. The Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has been in the building since 1992, and is free to the public.

Cathedral baseball coach (and Hall of Famer) Bob Karn has been the museum’s secretary and treasurer since 1998. He says the idea for the Hall of Fame goes all the way back to the 1960’s, thanks to Glen Carlson.

“It’s such a rare and wonderful thing,” Karn said. “It was started by Glen Carlson, who was on the Chamber of Commerce. He wasn’t a baseball player, but was a lover of the game and the tradition of baseball.

The Hall of Fame honors people from town ball who keep amateur baseball traditions alive through fundraising, taking care of fields and managing teams.

“The people who go into the Hall of Fame are primarily people who have ensured that town ball is going to continue,” Karn said. “Skill as a player is not a requirement...although there is nothing wrong with that either.”

In 1992, the Hall of Fame wanted a permanent place to house all the materials they had been gathering for thirty years since beginning the inductions. A number of cities bid to host the Hall of Fame, including New Ulm and many others, but ultimately St. Cloud was chosen.

Local American Legions, VFW’s, and St. Cloud Sports, Incorporated were among the entities that did the initial fundraising to get the displays built.

The museum includes the names of all 301 individuals who are in the Hall, with personalized baseballs and their name placed on a map of the state showing where they are from, geographically.

The display cases house many treasures from Minnesota’s rich amateur baseball tradition, including championship trophies, programs and game-used equipment from as far back as the early 1900’s.

Above the cases, a timeline of baseball in Minnesota tracing all the way back to 1857 and ending in 1961 with the arrival of the Minnesota Twins points out many incredible facts many may not be aware of, such as Satchel Paige playing for a trio of teams in Southern Minnesota during the 1950’s.

“We thought, when did baseball start in Minnesota,” Karn said. “1857, and the Civil War ended in 1861, so we had baseball in Minnesota since before the end of the Civil War.”

Baseball fans at the museum will also see displays of the three (soon to be four with Jack Morris) Minnesota-born Hall of Famers, a Minnesota Twins display case donated by Calvin Griffith, and a video reflecting on the old St. Cloud Rox franchise.

More information on the Hall of Fame and Museum can be found HERE.