The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum has opened “Miner Leaguers: Mining and the Great American Pastime,” an exhibit that explore the unexpected relationship between mining and baseball. The exhibit features vintage equipment and uniforms, historic photos, and text in English and Spanish. It includes a video on West Virginia coal-town teams. “Miner Leaguers” will be on display through December 2021.
Baseball and mining expanded together across the country, with the game arriving in Colorado in the 1860s. Miners worked long hours under difficult and dangerous conditions and played baseball on weekends to let off steam during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The game provided recreation as well as helped build community. Mining companies supported teams by buying uniforms and equipment, providing easier jobs for good players, and hiring former pro and semi-pro players. Some miners were such good players that they moved on to minor league or major league teams, although they often found that they could earn more as miners than as ballplayers.
Access to “Miner Leaguers” is included in the price of admission to the museum. The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum is currently open Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m.- 4:45p.m.
See www.mininghalloffame.org for more information about the NMHFM.