A significant addition to CHS Field that includes a unique museum devoted to area baseball history was recognized in the 2019 Ballpark Digest year-end awards, as the new City of Baseball Museum at the home of the St. Paul Saints was cited as the Best $1-Million Ballpark Improvement.
“You don’t see many museums at ballparks: on their own, they don’t generate much in the way of revenue,” said Ballpark Digest publisher Kevin Reichard. “The St. Paul Saints ownership stepped up with a unique ballpark addition that combined a state-of-the-art museum space with a second-level group space, enhancing what had already been a top-notch fan experience at CHS Field.”
The 2,000-square-foot City of Baseball Museum details St. Paul baseball history, including multiple Saints franchises, plus so much more. There is plenty of Saints memorabilia, including some nifty turn-of-the-century trophies, a bat used by former Saints catcher Roy Campanella, and a great map showing historic city baseball sites. But that’s only part of the story: You’ll also see a baseball signed by Toni Stone, the Twin Citian considered to be the first woman to play pro baseball during her time in the Negro Leagues, as well as a Minneapolis Millers uniform worn by Carl Yastrzemski when Nicollet Park hosted Red Sox prospects. Displays highlighting the history of African-American baseball in St. Paul, including info about the St. Paul Colored Gophers, is a window to undertold stories.
The vision of team owner Marv Goldklang to have an in-stadium tribute to the national pastime in and about St. Paul was finally realized in April 2019, largely through the efforts of his son, Mike Goldklang, and with design from Snow Kreilich and Split Rock Studios. Built around an impressive collection developed over the years from Taylor Simons, The City of Baseball Museum was expertly curated by Dave Kaplan (founding director of the Yogi Berra Museum in Montclair, NJ), with consultation from Frank White and Stew Thornley, and additional artwork from noted baseball artist Graig Kreindler.
“The City of Baseball Museum represents the collective efforts of many people within the Saints organization, from Derek Sharrer and our entire front office staff, to John Wenzel, our 70-year-old game-day employee who served as nightly museum docent,” said Mike Goldklang. “Each helped to engage our fans and demonstrate how this team, with origins dating to the 19th century, historically has intersected with the social, cultural and economic evolution of the City of St. Paul. With our new rooftop seating on the Spire Sun Deck atop The City of Baseball Museum, we strive to connect that history with the present-day St. Paul Saints.”
The year-end Ballpark Digest awards annually honor the best of the baseball industry, covering MLB, MiLB, independent-baseball, and summer-collegiate programs in a wide range of categories. Announcements run through the fall and culminate in an awards reception at December’s Baseball Winter Meetings.