The heart-pounding peal of the pop-up, the round-shouldered slink of the slain titan on his return from first base, the wild-eyed chants and jeers and tossing of beers—baseball has always been for America a variety of religious experience, with its cosmic pageantry, fanatic energy and ability to spoil family dinners with argument. At the center of the faith is the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum—in Cooperstown, New York—which acquires, catalogues and conserves the trappings of its legends as reverentially as the Vatican does its relics. A new book from Simon & Schuster, Inside the Baseball Hall of Fame, offers an insider’s view into the museum’s archives, turning up many treasures that have never been displayed before. Pictured here are the treads of one of baseball’s fallen angels, Shoeless Joe Jackson, an apostate of the Chicago White Sox accused in his time of conspiring to fix the 1919 World Series. Wherever he is, he likely won’t be missing them. At 25 Main St.; baseballhall.org.
Waiting in the Bullpen: Fewer than 15 percent of the Hall of Fame’s 40,000 baseball artifacts are on display.