The Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum will be exhibiting a large portion of the internationally recognized Randy L. Kaplan Collection of autographed baseballs from world leaders and heads of state. The exhibit, The Signature of Baseball, features over 180 signed baseballs from leaders, both past and present, from all over the globe, including the late South African President Nelson Mandela, former leaders Mikhail Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher as well as the nation’s sitting President Barack Obama.
Kaplan, who is a governmental affairs specialist in New York, has been collecting signed baseballs from world leaders and heads of state since 1996 when then President Bill Clinton signed a baseball for him at a meeting in Washington, D.C. According to Randy, “The collection has taken on a life of its own. Almost everyone who I ask is honored to sign a baseball. It is as if every political figure secretly yearned to be a professional ballplayer, at least that is what most of them tell me!”
A portion of Kaplan’s collection has been displayed at several presidential library-museums: the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California, the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan and the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum in Austin, Texas.
In honor of Herbert Hoover’s love for baseball, the exhibit will also showcase baseball memorabilia from the Hoover collection, including tickets, medals, and baseballs. A ball signed by Babe Ruth will be on display, along with another singular ball signed by Herbert Hoover and the New York Yankees.
Another component of The Signature of Baseball will be the history of the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Included will be a timeline of the Kernels history, and items from local legends such as Beldon Hill, Mike Chartak, Art Pennington and others. An interactive feature of the exhibit will be a simulated baseball field, where visitors will learn about the history of the game!
The Signature of Baseball will be on display at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum from January 24 – March 22, 2015. The Museum is located in West Branch, Iowa, ¼ mile off I-80 at Exit 254 and open daily from 9 am – 5 pm.