Today marks the opening day of the baseball season, a welcome day for a large swath of the U.S. after last year’s COVID-19 lockdown. Just in time for a springtime weekend visit, the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM) in Leadville has recently opened its new exhibit exploring the unique relationship between mining and baseball, “Miner Leaguers: Mining and the Great American Pastime.”
The exhibit, which has text in both English and Spanish, features vintage equipment and uniforms as well as historic photos. It also includes a video on West Virginian coal-town teams.
Baseball and mining expanded across the country together, as the game first arrived in Colorado in the 1860s. Miners played baseball on the weekends to let off steam after long hours under difficult and dangerous conditions during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Mining companies would support teams by buying uniforms and equipment, offering easier jobs for good players, and hiring former professional and semi-professional players. Some miners were so good at the game that they moved on to minor and major league teams, though they frequently found they could make more as miners than as baseball players.
“Miner Leaguers” will be open and on display through December 2021.
The museum is located at 120 West Ninth St. in Leadville. It is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 pm. Tuesday through Saturday, and closed Sunday through Monday.
Access to the exhibit is included in the price of museum admission. Currently, the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum is open from Tuesday through Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. For more information about the NMHFM, visit, www.mininghalloffame.org.