As if a 21-year Major League career with 11 teams, including the Mets and Yankees, weren’t enough, LaTroy Hawkins got in touch with a little more baseball history this week when he visited Christie’s Auction House in Rockefeller Center to view the new The Golden Age Of Baseball, Selections From The National Pastime Museum.
Christie’s consultant — and “Antiques Roadshow” pop culture specialist — Simeon Lipman took some time to pull a few of the treasures from the unique collection for Hawkins to peruse. The items Lipman reviewed with Hawkins included bats used by Josh Gibson and Shoeless Joe Jackson, a Jackie Robinson-signed ball, numerous rare photos of Negro leagues stars, an original copy of Sol White‘s 1907 History of Colored Base Ball book and much more.
For Hawkins, a student of baseball history, the treasure trove represents an important connection to baseball history that he has tried to impart to players in his two decades plus in the majors, which completed upon his retirement after last year’s stint with Colorado and Toronto.
“Whenever we would go through Kansas City, I’d make sure to take players to the Negro League Baseball Museum,” said Hawkins, who will serve as coach for the Brazil team at next week’s World Baseball Classic qualifier in Brooklyn. “The pieces in this collection blow me away with their condition and how many different things are here.”
There are nearly 500 lots in all in the auction, which takes place Oct. 19-20 at Christie’s. New York area fans can check out the full collection on display at Christie’s from Oct. 13-19. The contents of the auction are from the National Pastime Museum, which is an online museum based on a private collection of baseball artifacts.