DENVER (CBS4)– It’s called the best kept secret in baseball and it’s right next to Coors Field: The National Ballpark Museum.
For Bruce “B” Hellerstein, curator and creator of the National Ballpark Museum, baseball is more than just a sport, it’s the perfect game, “So much of baseball is magic. It is so magical, it’s beyond description.”
It’s filled with one-of-a-kind treasures. It’s been recognized as one of the top private collections in the entire world.
From light fixtures at Ebbet’s Field to a piece of Fenway Park’s Green Monster, Bruce’s collection tells the history of baseball in America.
“These are seats that came from Wrigley Field, the bench here came from the bleachers at Wrigley,” said Hellerstein. “These things don’t exist anymore because they replaced them with aluminum or plastic.”
Bruce’s collection actually includes authentic seats from 14 of the oldest and most famous ballparks, legendary stadiums known as “the classics.“
“I tell people about the old classics, they’ll never exist again,” said Hellerstein. “They say history repeats itself… no way. What you’re seeing are things that will never happen again.”
The collection also tells the lesser-known story of baseball in Colorado. Before the Colorado Rockies, there were the Denver Bears and the Denver Zephyrs.
Mile High Stadium was Bears Stadium, long before the Denver Broncos called it home.
“The Denver Bears are a major, major part of baseball history here,” said Hellerstein. “People think baseball was invented in 1993 when the Rockies came here. Far from it.”
Some of the most famous players of all time played games in Denver.
“Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig would team up and play exhibition games there,” said Hellerstein.
As a member of the Coors Field design committee, Bruce wanted the park to carry on the tradition of the classic parks, including one in particular.
“The most beloved ballpark of the most beloved team, the Brooklyn Dodgers, Ebbets Field, it doesn’t get any better than that,” said Hellerstein.
“People have things that are really important and they want to carry it on as a legacy. This is my legacy.”
The National Ballpark Museum is at 19th and Blake.