ABOUT THE MUSEUM
MUSEUM BRINGS SPECIAL ELEMENT TO TROPICANA FIELD
The Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame brings a special element to Tropicana Field. Fans can view an array of different artifacts and pictures of the "Greatest hitter that ever lived." These memorable displays range from Ted Williams' days in the military through his professional playing career. This museum is dedicated to some of the greatest players to ever "lace 'em up," including Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Sadaharu Oh.
The Rays invite all fans to enjoy this unique experience in sharing a rare glimpse into these extraordinary players' lives.
The Museum is located just past the rotunda on the right-hand side. Admission to the museum is free to the thousands of fans attending Rays home games.
WHAT WE ARE ALL ABOUT
What this Museum is all about is best described in Ted's own words: "Through the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame, we hope to build a lasting monument, an architectural tribute to what I think is the single most difficult thing in all of sports: hitting a baseball. We hope the Museum will become a place millions of baseball fans will visit and enjoy for generations to come. I hope you'll join us as we transform our dreams into reality." Previously located in Hernando, Florida, in Citrus County, a few blocks from where Ted Williams himself lived during his later years, the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame is the first Museum ever dedicated, at the time, to a living athlete. The Museum's goal is to preserve and build on the rich tradition and heritage of our national pastime -- baseball. The Museum's mission is one of outreach and education.
The Museum could never operate but for the enormous assistance of a dedicated corps of volunteers who make all the difference. It is a true "labor of love" for the many who have helped the Museum since it first opened in February of 1994. For more information about how this Museum became a reality, please see Ted Williams Museum: History and Future.
7,000 FEET ADDED TO TED WILLIAMS MUSEUM AT TROPICANA FIELD ON MARCH 13
Special thanks go to John Coscia from the Citrus County Chronicle for the following article from the March 4, 2007 issue.
On April 10, 2006, the Ted Williams Museum & Hitters Hall of Fame found a new home on Baseball Alley inside the Tampa Bay Devil Rays Tropicana Field. The museum had previously been located in Hernando, a few blocks from where Williams himself lived during his later years.
"It was a difficult decision to leave Citrus County, but it was necessary so that we might accomplish what Ted would have wanted with this museum," said the Museum's Executive Director, Dave McCarthy. "The goal has always been and continues to be to help as many charities as possible with the money raised from the museum. That was Ted's goal and it remains our mission today." "Ted was dedicated to the needs of Citrus County youth and the charities, and the majority of money raised by the museum, although it now resides in St. Petersburg, will still go back to the charities in Citrus County," McCarthy confirmed. "Making the move here to Tropicana Field is a win-win situation for everybody."
For example, the Museum will now be accessible free of charge to the thousands of fans attending Devil Rays home games. The added traffic of fans attending the games will result in even more interest in the Ted Williams Museum & Hitters Hall of Fame. The Museum will hold silent auctions at least once a week and the interest garnered from the museum's presence inside the ballpark will ultimately result in more money for Citrus County charities.
Williams himself would no doubt be proud of the fact that this dream has not just become a reality; it has grown into something that even he may not have dreamed. On Thursday, March 13, the museum opened a new 7,000-square-foot upstairs wing that will highlight Williams' life by decade. It will also be a home for the Hitters Hall of Fame, which was an integral part of Williams' dream.
As you walk in the main entrance, you can't help but notice the bronze statue of Williams standing in the on-deck circle. There are several self-explanatory dedication cases on the first floor, but when you walk up the stairway and enter the new wing, you are greeted by rows of memorable cases that will without question keep the most avid of baseball enthusiasts entertained for hours while still piquing the interest of the baseball novice.
Downstairs, in addition to the bronze statue of Williams, there are several cases of particular interest. One such case is a military tribute, another is a collection of photos that once appeared on a wall of the Prudential Building, directly across from Fenway Park in Boston. And yet another is a tribute to Japanese baseball. "This is the only Japanese display in any Museum that resides inside of a major league baseball park," said McCarthy, as he pointed to a copy of Ted Williams famous book, "The Science of Hitting," which had been translated into Japanese. "Every kid coming up in organized baseball in Japan receives Ted's book."
Williams military service was a proud part of his life that is also reflected with the honor it deserves. A picture of Larry Hawkins, a fellow Marine pilot, is prominently displayed. If not for Hawkins' heroic efforts, the greatness of Williams might never have come to fruition. While fighting in the Korean War, Williams' plane was hit by enemy fire. As the plane smoked, Williams apparently became disoriented and continued to fly deeper into North Korea -- enemy territory. An alert and brave Hawkins chased down Williams plane, pulled up alongside his plane and signaled for Williams to follow him. Williams did, saving himself from what otherwise would have been a most certain death. Several years ago, the recipient of the Museum's Military Achievement Award was Citrus County's own Aaron Weaver, who died during active duty in the Army.
As you walk the hallways upstairs, you quickly realize that this museum has grown into much more than just a Ted Williams Museum. You'll soon notice that there's a plush 50-seat auditorium that continuously shows baseball movies throughout the day.
And even the diehard Yankees fans will have plenty to gobble up their attention as they are drawn from one case to the next. There is an M & M tribute wall dedicated to Yankee greats Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. But what would a Hitters Hall of Fame be without the likes of Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, Don Mattingly, Wade Boggs, and George Brett? All have their own displays.
Guests will be the first to see the famous Babe Ruth baseball signed for Ted Williams. The recently recovered ball was stolen 27 years ago and will be on display for the first time ever, thanks to Ted's daughter Claudia, who has decided to put the ball on permanent display at the museum.
"The museum was founded by Sam Tamposi, who has since passed, and Gerald "Gerry" Nash. They're really the ones that helped make all of this possible," said George Katis, a member of the executive board of directors. "Gerry is still very active in the new museum and Sam and Ted would be oh, so proud. It's really a dream come true."
McCarthy said that none of this would be possible if not for the cooperation and help received from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays ownership. "They let us reside here rent free," McCarthy said. "They've been nothing short of great. Without them, none of this would have been possible."
As a major league baseball player, Ted Williams was every major league baseball pitcher's worst nightmare. But Ted Williams had a dream. And thanks to the hard work of many and the vision from "the greatest hitter of all time," that dream became a reality when the Ted Williams Museum & Hitters Hall of Fame was founded in Hernando.
Today, that dream has grown by leaps and bounds as it adds features never thought imaginable just a few years ago. Don't miss your chance at experiencing history come alive.
It's a stroll down memory lane that will last you a lifetime.
COMPLETE LIST OF TWM INDUCTEES
For a complete list of all award winners inducted into the Ted Williams Museum & Hitters Hall of Fame since 1995, please see Inductees to Date.