City Scene August 2011 : Page 39

Comprehensive collection tells story of baseball from the beginning By Zachariah Jones PHOTOGRAPHy By CHRISTA SMOTHERS are is the man whose reverence for a sport can match Tracy Martin’s love of baseball and the storied history of the game. Reaching well beyond your typical childhood library of baseball cards, Mar-tin’s colossal collection helps preserve and celebrate the history of America’s favorite Baseball memorabilia covers almost every square inch of the basement pastime. of Grove City resident Tracy Martin. So dedicated is Martin to his baseball theme that a visit to his Grove City home ment, which is more of a museum – covered “Baseball among adults began as a begins with offerings of Ball Park hot dogs, ceiling to floor with more than 2,000 base-gentleman’s game,” he says. “It didn’t really popcorn and glass bottles of ball artifacts dating from become too competitive until money and Coca-Cola. the 1850s to today. owners got involved.” “From up here, you would And the history lesson Game-used bats that are cracked or bro-never know that anything begins. ken are used for each step of the banister baseball-related was in this “No one person real-down the basement stairs. A wall of vintage house, but when you open ly created it, like Abner photos at the foot of the stairs features a that door, it’s like the Wiz-Doubleday was supposed to team photo of an 1860s Buckeye baseball ard of Oz of baseball is have been said to,” Martin team. down there,” Martin says. says. “It kind of evolved “We are not sure if that team is from “We had an arrangement itself from bat-and-ball Columbus or Cincinnati,” Martin says. when we got the house games that came over from “Interestingly enough, at that time, both that I got the basement to England and were mainly cities had teams named the Buckeyes.” do whatever I wanted with, played by children.” His collection of autographs – some from and (my wife) got the back Martin’s collection dis-players he has met, some from players he yard.” plays the evolution from hasn’t – is full of Hall of Famers. Tracy Martin That back yard includes baseball’s humble begin-“My all-time favorite would probably a fire pit and a koi pond with a stone wa-nings to its massive popularity today. have to be my Babe Ruth autograph,” Mar-terfall. The first wall in Martin’s basement tin says. “But of the people I have actually “I kind of thought it was shaped perfectly displays photos and memorabilia from his met in person, I would have to say Mickey for a baseball diamond, but she didn’t really experiences with vintage baseball, which Mantle is my favorite.” go for that one,” Martin says with a laugh. have brought him to the Field of Dreams A baseball movie-themed room features The word overwhelming does no justice to movie site in Iowa and even the Capitol a 16-millimeter film of Babe Ruth burned the natural reaction upon entering the base-Building to play on the lawn. onto a DVD and set on a loop to play on an R Take Me Out to the Basement L u x u r y L i v i n g 39

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