With more empty storefronts than full ones, the 30-year-old Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough, Massachusetts, has seen better days. But near Spencer Gifts and a now-shuttered Hollister, something rather unexpected is alive and well: baseball.
The Baseball in the Berkshires Museum celebrated its first anniversary this spring.
The museum offers a chance to learn more about America’s pastime, and its rich — and surprising — connections to Berkshire County.
The museum has collected more than 1,200 artifacts, representing everything from Little League, town, and American Legion teams to the majors and minors.
Perusing the autographed balls and uniforms, pennants and posters, score cards and photographs, you’d never know you were standing in a 3,500-square-foot former Eddie Bauer store.
But then museum director Larry Moore points out a door in the back — the kids’ locker room — which happens to be a former Eddie Bauer dressing room.
Burgeoning baseball fans can try on professional uniforms, mitts and catchers’ masks. They can compare their handprints, footprints and heights with some of the dozens of pro players who grew up or settled in the Berkshires.