Legendary Playing Fields

Chief curator Daniel Piazza shares intimate knowledge, little-known facts and secrets about the stories told in “Baseball: America’s Home Run,” highlighting some of the spectacular objects on display, including discussions with key lenders to the exhibition on artifacts never-before displayed for pubic view.

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I'm Dan Piazza, curator of the National Postal Museum exhibition, Baseball: America's Home Run, on view until January 2025.

Join me for an inside look at some of the most exciting objects from this blockbuster show that  explores America's national pastime through stamps, mail and memorabilia.

Issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 2001 the Legendary Playing Field stamps speaks to the sense of community that fans derive from a favorite baseball park.

Eleven ball fields built between 1891 and 1923 are pictured.

Made of concrete and steel rather than wood, they had seating capacities in the tens of thousands and provided the setting for some of the game's greatest moments.

Press sheets and proof material for this issue are shown alongside signs, seats, architectural elements, and other artifacts from the stadiums pictured to evoke the heyday of these  cathedrals of the game.

Let's take a closer look.

The Legendary Playing Field stamps were based on vintage postcards chosen to give a uniform look and color palette, four of the eleven ballparks pictured were still standing when the sheet was issued.

Tiger Stadium was demolished in 2009 and Yankee Stadium in 2010, leaving Fenway Park which opened in 1912 and Wrigley Field which opened in 1914 as the only survivors.

The issue was printed in press sheets of 160 stamps that were further cut down into eight panes of 20 stamps for sale at post office counters.

This rare example of a press sheet exhibits an approval signature, as well as serial numbers and marginal markings that were normally trimmed away before sale to the public.

A four-color printing process was used  in which different inks are printed sequentially, one on top of the other, to achieve the full range of final colors.

The U.S. Postal Service also reproduced  the stamp designs as fully mailable, postage paid postal cards.

This rare uncut press sheet features Manhattan's Polo Grounds, Pittsburgh's Forbes field, Boston's  Fenway Park, and Chicago's Comiskey Park.

For more on the intersection of postal and baseball history visit the National Postal Museum exhibition, Baseball: America's Home Run, online at postalmuseum.si.edu/baseball

Baseball: America’s Home Run