Last weekend, 11-year-old Oscar Youngquist of Racine, Wis. received a personalized tour of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. It was a once in a lifetime moment, and it was all made possible by a trip to the Racine Public Library.
On October 3, Step Up to the Plate spokesperson and Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, drew Youngquist’s name as the grand-prize winner.
The Youngquists at the Baseball Hall of Fame
Youngquist was one of thousands of baseball fans across the country to participate in the third season of Step Up to the Plate @ your library. Developed by the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Step Up to the Plate teamed up two American pastimes - baseball and libraries - to encourage fans of all ages to use the print and electronic resources at their library to answer a series of trivia questions.
As the grand-prize winner, Youngquist, who is a Chicago Cubs fan, traveled with his father, Grant, to Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame’s World Series Gala on Saturday, Oct. 25. He also received a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum and archives, which houses such iconic baseball artifacts such as Bath Ruth’s bat.
Grant had begun to use the Racine Public Library for home schooling resources for Oscar and his younger brother. When they saw a display for Step Up to the Plate, it really hit home.
“We make tremendous use of the library,” said Grant. “All Oscar talks about is baseball. He couldn’t be more excited about going to the Hall of Fame.”
This year’s national program celebrated the 100th anniversary of the song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Contestants who answered four questions from Step Up to the Plate @ your library playbooks correctly were entered into the national drawing. Questions were divided into four “playbooks” corresponding to different age levels. Oscar’s questions included:
- In what year was the first baseball song written? (1858, “The Baseball Polka”)
- For what major league team was Wrigley Field (then called Weeghman Park) built? (The Chicago Whales of the Federal League)
- In what year was the first major league baseball game shown on television? (1939)
- Who was the fist woman elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame? (Effa Manley, former owner of the Negro Leagues’ Newark Eagles)
“Step Up to the Plate was a great way for us to bring the community together,” said Becky Spika, program coordinator at the Racine Public Library. “It was wonderful seeing grandparents, parents and children working together to locate the answers."
Step Up to the Plate @ your library is part of the Campaign for America’s Libraries, ALA’s public awareness campaign about the role of libraries and librarians.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is a not-for-profit educational institution dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the historical development of the game and its impact on our culture by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting its collections for a global audience, as well as honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to our National Pastime.
For more information, including a list of first-place runners up go to www.ala.org/baseball.