AidSpace Blog

Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

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The 2011 Major League Baseball season starts today at 1:05pm, when the National Air and Space Museum’s hometown Washington Nationals host the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park.

This afternoon the red and white uniforms of the Nationals will stand out against the bright green of the field.  In the late 1950s, players took to the field of the U.S. Naval Air Material Center in Philadelphia wearing a different uniform—B.F. Goodrich Mark IV spacesuits.  Photographs of this event were found in the Archives Division’s Frederick Clark Durant Collection (Acc. No. XXXX-0084).

space suit

Hey batter, batter!  Swing batter, batter!  NASM 9A05849, use courtesy of Goodrich Corporation

The game was staged as a flexibility demonstration for the spacesuit.  The final score of the baseball game is unknown, but the Mark IV would evolve to become the original Project Mercury spacesuit, a definite home run!

space suit

He checks the runner on second and turns to the plate… NASM 9A05850, use courtesy of Goodrich Corporation

There’s only one thing left to say as the season begins…

Play ball!

Elizabeth C. Borja is a reference services archivist in the National Air and Space Museum’s Archives Division.

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