FanPost

An Indians fan visits the Bob Feller Museum in Van Meter, Iowa

My daughter graduated from Grinnell College last week, and I decided to make the drive from Denver so I could help her move some of her stuff. This presented me with two distinct advantages. First, I missed watching the entire Oakland series/debacle. Second, it gave me a chance to make a visit to the Bob Feller Museum in Van Meter, which I’ve always wanted to do. As reported here recently, the museum is in serious financial trouble and may soon close its doors. I took a bunch of pics and thought that I’d post them here since many of you may not be fortunate enough to ever make the trek before the place closes.

When I arrived on Saturday afternoon, I was surprised to find the tiny parking lot full. The exterior wall contains a frieze of images of Feller, and the walkway has a home plate and pitcher’s rubber embedded in the concrete. The museum itself is housed in small building with an entry hall and two other rooms, each of which has a ton of memorabilia on display.

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via i.imgur.com

For such a small museum, it had an impressive collection. I noticed that a couple of objects, including a Babe Ruth bat, are on loan to the Baseball Hall of Fame. A lot of things are for sale, including racks of autographed baseballs and, curiously, a bunch of football memorabilia, too, perhaps as a way to generate enough revenue to keep the place open. There was a display case devoted to Feller’s three no- hit games, and another one with memorabilia about his military service. There was a lot of stuff about his younger days, including a photo of him pitching for Van Meter High School and his American Legion uniform. Some of the most interesting other things (to me) I saw were a model of old League Park, a scorecard from his no hitter against the Yankees, and Feller’s original contract ($500 – his dad had to sign it because he was still a minor).

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via i.imgur.com

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via i.imgur.com


I discovered a few facts from chatting with Andrew, the person working the museum that afternoon. First, the entire building is paid for, having been donated for the museum. That made me wonder what expenses they have that aren’t covered by the small number of admissions and donations they receive, but I didn’t pry. Andrew told me that they typically get about 25 customers a week, but that the day I was there was the busiest he’d seen in a while, with about 20 people coming through. I asked if any of the Feller family still lived in Van Meter or the surrounding area, but he told me that as far as he knew they all now lived in the Cleveland area. I bought a couple of souvenirs and gave them a $50 donation and went on my way.

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via i.imgur.com

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via i.imgur.com


If you happen to be passing through Iowa at any point and can get there, I definitely think it’s worth the visit for any baseball fan, but especially for an Indians fan. I hope they’ll find a way to stay open.

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via i.imgur.com

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via i.imgur.com

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