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New baseball exhibit open at Paso Robles History Museum 

The Pittsburgh Pirates practicing at the Paso Robles Athletic Park in 1930.

Memorabilia from Pittsburgh Pirates displayed

The Paso Robles History Museum has opened their newest exhibit, which celebrates the local history of baseball; this comes during the 100th anniversary of Major League Baseball team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, commencing spring training at the Paso Robles Athletic Park in 1924.

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution for the 100th year anniversary on Feb. 27, which in part reads “the Paso Robles community welcomed the Pirates with enthusiasm and greeted them as they arrived on train, immediately making them feel at home…baseball fans would line up to have memorabilia signed by players and coaches…the Pittsburgh Pirates appreciated and adopted the Paso Robles community as their own, employing local residents and drawing huge crowds to their ball games.”

The new baseball exhibit at the Paso Robles History Museum.

The Pittsburgh Pirates trained from 1924 to 1934 at the Paso Robles Athletic Park, which was found at Sixth Street and Spring Street. Before the Pittsburgh Pirates, teams such as the Chicago White Sox and San Francisco Seals trained at the Paso Robles Athletic Park. After the park was sold in 1938, it was demolished for commercial buildings.

While the Pittsburgh Pirates completed their spring training, they “were headquartered at the old Hotel El Paso de Robles where they enjoyed the health benefits of the mineral waters,” according to Paso Robles Historical Society research director Jan Cannon, who also serves as the library and office coordinator.

A uniform worn by Chris Klintworth during a practice session with the Pirates, donated by June Bertoni.

The resolution notes that “the Pittsburgh Pirates had a lineup of future Hall of Famers including Harold ‘Pie’ Traynor, Freddie Lindstrom, Paul Waner, Lloyd Waner, Kiki Cuyler and Burleigh Grimes…[and] Honus Wagner, who at one time was considered the greatest hitter and shortstop of them all.” The Pirates have won five World Series championships from 1909 to 1979.

Several items in the exhibit were donated by community members; SLO County District 1 Supervisor John Peschong loaned a uniform, bat, statue of Wagner, and signed baseballs, along with a 1960 World Series program, baseball and ticket. June Bertoni, whose father William Klintworth and uncle Chris Klintworth practiced with the Pirates as part of the local team, loaned two baseballs and a gold baseball souvenir from the practices.

Part of the new exhibit with a picture of Chris and William Klintworth, along with a token gold baseball.

The Pioneer Museum loaned a uniform and catcher chest protector worn by Chris Klintworth during a 1927 practice game, which was donated by Bertoni. Other items include a 1925 glove endorsed by Traynor.

“Paso Robles has a rich history in so many ways…all because of the hot mineral springs, climate, [and] hospitality,” Cannon said.

For more information about the exhibit, visit pasorobleshistorymuseum.org.

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