Posted: October 01, 2010
A baseball fanatic’s favorite spot
After Coors Field, it's B's Ballpark MuseumBy Randi Abels
I've encountered my fair share of baseball fans, but I've never met anyone as passionate about the history of the game as Bruce Hellerstein.
Hellerstein, known as "B", has been collecting baseball items since he was little -- and now it's all in a museum.
B's Ballpark Museum features the memorabilia from Hellerstein's collection, including seats from all the classic ballparks, uniforms from years ago and signed balls from special games. He collects objects from all over, sometimes at auctions, sometimes through ads in the paper. He has recently moved into a location a few blocks from Coors Field to showcase his collector's items from baseball's past.
"When I was in my thirties, I was asked at a seminar to think of the perfect place. While other people were thinking of beaches or mountains, I pictured a ballpark. I love baseball, but I love the ballparks more," Hellerstein says.
He was on committees to bring a major league team to Colorado in the 80's and to design Coors Field. He was the leading mind behind making the entrance to the stadium look like Ebbets Field.
The team most on display at the museum is the Denver Bears, said Hellerstein. The Bears began in the 20th century, and existed until 1984, when they became the Denver Zephyrs under new ownership. In 1993, the team became the Colorado Rockies, as we know them now.
But B's favorite team might be a surprise. This Colorado-born man loves the Yankees. "I don't think anybody can question their respect for the game. When the Yankees play at Coors Field, the stadium is full, and people are outside hoping to buy tickets. It's magic."
The museum has been a non-profit organization since 1999, and so it no longer belongs to Hellerstein. But his office is conveniently located in the same building as the museum. It connects to the main museum room, and specialty items are in his office as well. "I want to add things to this that I feel will be the community treasure for the love of the game."
As Hellerstein spoke about the greatness of the game, his passion was palpable. "It's a great game-scratch that-it's the greatest game," he says. "The museum is about sharing the love of the game, sharing a national pastime. It is about the history of the game."
Admission to the museum is $5, and is open to anyone who wants to visit. Most of the items are one of a kind, and there is a library in the back with the most extensive baseball book collection in any baseball museum. It is open during the week, but is especially emphasized certain days-game days.
Randi Abels is a ColoradoBiz intern.