GLOVERSVILLE — When the New York State Baseball Hall of Fame opens its doors in Gloversville next year, the museum will have a new $2.5 million collection of baseball memorabilia to display.
The collection of over 1,100 autographed baseballs and programs includes balls signed by every National Baseball Hall of Fame player from the 1880s to the early 1900s.
The treasure trove was donated to the Parkhurst Field Foundation by collector Stanley Harry Silver to display at the Gloversville museum, a move which will be permanent upon his passing.
The New York hall was founded in 2011 by Rene LeRoux — the first physical site for the museum set to open in the spring of 2023 adjacent to the Parkhurst Field grounds.
David Karpinski, executive director of the Parkhurst Field Foundation, said the donated memorabilia collection will provide a major boost to the planned museum.
“This is a one-of-a-kind collection,” he said. “Rene has done a tremendous job building this hall of fame up over the last 12 years from nothing. The museum itself is a destination and that combined with this generous donation and park across the street really builds out a complex that people will come from around the country to see.”
The museum will be situated in a converted retail space, with no external construction required for the property.
“They’re working on displays and there’s going to be a theater room, as well as memorabilia and plaques,” Karpinski said. “The build-out is happening and we’re hoping for an opening in the spring in association with the Parkhurst Field project across the street.”
Renovations on the ballfield, which opened in 1906, will also commence next year with the first phase of a planned two-year project beginning with the installation of new grandstands and a concession stand at the historic field.
Fulton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gregory Fagan noted during the board’s meeting on Nov. 14 that the trove of baseball collectibles contains an impressive array of items.
“They’ve got one baseball with the 1927 Yankees with six Hall of Famers’ [autographs] on there,” Fagan said. “There’s 700-800 signed balls and programs dating back to 1903.”
Fagan added that the collection should attract visitors to the new state hall of fame.
“It’s a tremendous asset that’s going to be moving into that museum when they get ready to move in there,” he said.
Karpinski said that Silver chose the Gloversville site because of its historical significance.
“He was doing his diligence and figuring out ultimately what he wanted to do with the collection,” Karpinski said. “He had a number of feelers out to a number of different places. What drew him to us was that the hall of fame and Parkhurst project across the street was going to be drawing thousands of families a year, and kids especially. He wanted it [the collection] to be seen.”
Silver’s father Harry Silver began the collection while growing up in Chicago, with his son Stanley Silver, 87, continuing to amass the baseball memorabilia in his stead.
“I chose the Parkhurst Field Foundation as the recipient of my collection to be displayed at the New York State Baseball Hall of Fame as I wanted it shared and seen by children and their families so they may be able to experience learning the great history of baseball together,” Silver explained in a statement. “The rich 100-year history of Parkhurst Field inspired me, as it features many Hall of Fame players and common baseball history that aligns with my collection.”