ST. CLOUD - September 26th, 1992 – Minnesota Baseball Hall of Fame Museum opens

Founded in 1963, the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame had been an organization that helped promote amateur baseball and preserve its history in Minnesota. Unfortunately, the Hall of Fame didn’t have a home. The organization did a lot of good, but they didn’t have a place to display the history that existed. So in the early 1990s, the Minnesota Baseball Hall of Fame decided to look for a permanent location to create a museum so that they might share the state’s rich baseball history.

In 1991, St. Cloud was chosen as one of three possible candidate cities to become the home of the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame Museum. The museum had the potential to draw up to 100,000 visitors per year, so it was definitely a desired attraction. The tentative location was to be near the Stearns County Heritage Center. The only prohibitive factor was that of price; a new building to suit their needs would cost between one and two million dollars. But a solution to the problem of cost soon presented itself. Instead of building a new facility for the museum, the St. Cloud City Council approved a request for the St. Cloud Civic Center or the Municipal Sports Center to house the museum.

St. Cloud won the competition to house the museum, which was set to open in 1992 on the second floor of the St. Cloud Civic Center. A campaign was then started to acquire baseball memorabilia from across the state. Bats, balls, uniforms, shoes, and record books were among the things the museum received. The museum got another boost when the St. Cloud City Council loaned the project $25,000, and donated another $5,000. The donation and loan were used to furnish the new museum’s display cases, lighting, and to restore old or damaged pieces.

Then finally, on this date (September 26th) in 1992, the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame Museum opened, allowing its guests to experience the sport that has been a large part of our culture from the beginning. With memorabilia from almost every facet of Minnesota Baseball History, the museum features items from small town teams, VFW and American Legion teams, and items from players who started out in Minnesota but went on to play in the major leagues.

Minnesota’s history of baseball goes all the way back to 1857, when the first ‘town team’ started playing. The state’s love of baseball allowed for many small teams to form across the state. Ten years later, in 1867, the Minnesota State Association of Base Ball Players was official formed, and the first state-wide tournament was held. In 1884, the Northwest League was developed, consisting of five Minnesota teams. And after 1900, more permanent teams began to develop, like the Minneapolis Millers, the St. Cloud Rox, and the Saint Paul Saints, (a team originally founded in 1894) that is still active in today’s Northern League. Minnesota currently supports the most amateur baseball teams in the country.

Thanks to Stearns History Museum volunteer Spencer Brown for his help with our series, “This Date In Central Minnesota History” on WJON.