Today marks an important day in sports—the official first day of baseball season and the NCAA men’s basketball national championship game. It also marks the first day of my takeover of the Air & Space Magazine Instagram account! Over the past few years, I’ve shared many of my sports-related finds from the National Air and Space Museum Archives, and we’ll revisit some of my favorites. I’ve also been looking for new images to share and found a couple in an unexpected source—the National Air Races Negative Collection.
The National Air Races were an annual, week-long event that started in 1920 and included formation flying, parachute drops, aerobatic displays, and races. In addition to photos of races, aircraft, and pilots, the archival collection also contains photographs of everyday life in the Cleveland, Ohio, area during the 1940s. And a part of everyday life was baseball!
Cleveland company Thompson Products is probably best known for manufacturing automotive and aviation products and sponsoring the Thompson Trophy, whose winners included Jimmy Doolittle and Roscoe Turner. Employees also formed a “winning” baseball team, possibly sponsored by the company.
The Centerville Mills YMCA camp was located just southeast of Cleveland and had a history dating back to the turn of the century. By the late 1940s, girls were also attending camp and participating in baseball games.
Enjoy the sports on the field and court this week, and tune in to Instagram to see what other sports gems I’ve found in the Museum’s Archives!