Baseball and nostalgia have always gone hand-in-hand. Remember where you were on the day Roger Maris earned his asterisk in 1961, or who you were with when Bucky Dent’s three-run homer sank the Red Sox in 1978?
David V. Pomeranz, the executive vice president of the Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale, hopes to harness that nostalgia with a new exhibit he spearheaded at the home, using it as a catalyst to link residents and their families through their shared love of the American pastime in general and the Yankees in particular.
“It’s something I wanted to add to the environment,” said Mr. Pomeranz, an aficionado of the game. “Baseball serves as a connector for generations.”
To get to first base with his idea, Mr. Pomeranz approached Brandon Steiner of Steiner Sports, a well-known sports memorabilia company, to get donations for the exhibit. Mr. Steiner appreciated the concept, according to a grateful Mr. Pomeranz, and agreed to an indefinite loan to the Hebrew Home “within 30-seconds.”
Among the many items on display are a page from Joe DiMaggio’s handwritten diary and several bats signed by Yankee legends, as well as seats and a turnstile from the original Yankee stadium. Sounds from Yankee Stadium play in the background, and the exhibit features a video of interviews with residents discussing their attachment to baseball.
The displays have jogged the memories of several residents including 88-year-old William Beck, who, despite admitting to having a poor memory, can remember watching specific home runs from his youth, and can even remember the numbers of his favorite Yankee players.
65-year-old Albert Cappiello recalls his awe at going with his brother to his first baseball game as a sixth grader, and remembers being surprised that there was no announcer at live games. He also fondly recalled the price of a box seat when he was a child: $3.50.
The Hebrew Home has begun integrating baseball into its arts and crafts projects as well. Residents are invited to create their own personal cards in the style of baseball cards, which feature highlights of their own life. Grandparents and their grandchildren have enjoyed working on their projects side by side.
“It is so accessible — people are really excited,” said Mary Farkas, the director of therapeutic activities. “[Baseball] is part of the long term memory of people.”
The exhibit will remain at the Hebrew Home indefinitely, but items on display may change. The exhibit is open to the public Sunday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.