Baseball was Louis Armstrong’s favorite sport and he followed it passionately. A longtime Brooklyn Dodgers fan, Louis switched to the New York Mets in the late 60s, even attending the deciding game 5 of the 1969 World Series. This new exhibit debuting at the Louis Armstrong House Museum – Swinging with the All Stars: Louis Armstrong & Baseball includes photos and artifacts exploring Louis’s relationship with the game including Louis’s handwritten list of “my four choice Dodger players at all times,” a photo of Louis backstage with Dodgers Don Newcombe and Junior Gilliam, a rare Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald “baseball card” from Holland, and one of Louis’s famed tape box collages featuring a photo of the trumpeter with New York Yankees Phil Rizzuto and Joe Collins.
The exhibit also contains information about Louis’s “Secret 9” baseball team. In the summer of 1931, Louis returned to New Orleans for the first time since leaving it for Chicago in 1922. While there, Armstrong took interest in a sandlot team, bought them brand new equipment and uniforms and renamed them “Armstrong’s Secret 9.” The exhibit includes a photo of the Secret 9, an advertisement for one of their games taken from one of Louis’s oldest scrapbooks, and a humorous excerpt from an unpublished 1955 manuscript in which Armstrong details how the players were so proud of their new uniforms that they refused to slide and lost every game!
Though a Mets and Dodgers fan, the new exhibit also features Louis’s connections to the Yankees, namely through his manager, Joe Glaser, who was a legendary Yankee fan who attended nearly every home game. When Louis was mobbed by fans during a tour of Buenos Aires in 1957, he asked Glaser to have Yogi Berra send a catcher’s mask to protect his “chops.” Swingin’ with the All Stars includes a photo of Louis in Yogi’s mask!
Swingin’ with the All Stars: Louis Armstrong & Baseball will be on exhibit now through August 31st and is free with museum admission. Remember, Louis Armstrong House Museum is just seven blocks away from Citi Field, home of the 2013 All Star Game!
The Louis Armstrong House Museum is located at 34-56 107th Street in Corona, New York. The museum is open Tuesday – Friday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Saturday/Sunday from 12:00 noon – 5:00 pm. Travel directions and more at LouisArmstrongHouse.org or 718.478.8274.
Admission is $10.00, $7.00 for seniors, students and children and free LAHM members and children under 4. Groups with reservations enjoy a discount on admission. The Louis Armstrong House Museum is closed on all Mondays and the following Holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. It is always open on the 4th of July, in honor of Louis’s traditional birthday.
Museum admission can be purchased onsite.