By Lloyd Jodah
On April 17 America’s original game came home, and met America’s National Pastime in Cooperstown, at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. There, amidst the artifacts of Babe Ruth, Ty Cobbs and Jackie Robinson hung the uniforms of James Anderson and Shahid Afridi and artifacts of John Bart King.
The occasion was the Opening of “Swinging Away- How Cricket and Baseball connect” – a joint exhibition between the Marlebourne Cricket Club (MCC) and the National Baseball Hall of Fame, with artifacts from the C.C Morris Library.
I was honored to be invited to the Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies, along with 2011 American College Cricket co MVP Adit Bhatti (Montgomery College).
Over a year in the conception, approval and planning, the result was a momentous day for cricket, and an amazing acknowledgement by the Baseball Hall of Fame of cricket’s place in American history.
It was thrilling to see avid baseball fans, who had made the trip to this hallowed baseball place, walk through the cricket exhibit, stop, ask each other questions, ask myself and Adit questions, and whilst probably surprised to see cricket in this bastion of baseball, took it in stride and no doubt left a bit closer to that special piece of America that was, and could be, cricket.
One little boy, upon seeing a “Gentlemen of Philadelphia” cricket team touring jacket from the 1880′s asked his father, “Is this what a cricket uniform looks like ?”
So I showed him Adit, in Montgomery College cricket uniform, and said, ”This is a cricket uniform.”
The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was simple, and afterwards we were excited by the opportunity to get pieces of the ribbon- one day they will be displayed in an American College Cricket Hall of Fame.
I then made a presentation of an American College Cricket University of Pennsylvania cricket shirt to the President of the National Baseball Hall Fame, Jeff Idelson as a gesture of appreciation from the cricket community. A UPenn shirt because UPenn began the 2nd college sports team in the USA back in 1842, a cricket team. But not content to rest on past glories UPenn Cricket became an earlier supporter of American College Cricket and participated in the 2009 and 2010 national Championships.
The Haverford College cricket team, begun in 1834 as the first college sports team in the USA, came with longtime Coach Kamran Khan, and gave cricket demonstrations to kids and adults visiting the Hall of Fame.
Everyone connected with “Swinging Away” deserve the thanks and appreciation of the cricket community, and hopefully some will take a drive to this beautiful little town, nestling on a lake, and see cricket as they have never seen it before….as Americana.
Lloyd Jodah is the President of American College Cricket