About the Exhibition

“Baseball was a kind of secular church that reached into every class and region of the nation and bound millions upon millions of us together in common concerns, loyalties, rituals, enthusiasms, and antagonisms. Baseball made me understand what patriotism was about.” — Philip Roth, My Baseball Years

Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American
March 13, 2014 – October 26, 2014

Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American is about the central role our national pastime has played in the lives of American minority communities as they sought to understand and express the ideals, culture, and behaviors of their homeland—or challenge them. It is the first large-scale exhibition to weave together the history of American sport, leisure, and national identity with the history of Jewish integration into American life. Fascinating artifacts, original films, and digital interactives immerse visitors in the story of how Jews and others have navigated American culture and addressed the ongoing challenges of life in the United States.

For nearly two hundred years, baseball has been a poignant and exhilarating metaphor for America, a land of so much promise and opportunity, whose best ideals are realized through creativity and consistent, determined hard work.  And for minority communities in this country—be they Jews, African-Americans, Italians, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, or Japanese—the sport has long served as a path to learning and understanding American values. Our national pastime represents a shared American identity, melding immigrants and natives. Yet it also sometimes highlights our differences. It is, in short, a mirror of America.

Baseball’s legends and myths, its heroes and flops, its struggles and its moments of triumph tell our national story. The exhibition will celebrate well-known Jewish heroes such as Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax, iconic baseball players like Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, and Ichiro Suzuki, as well as those in the extended baseball family—vendors, team owners, scouts, broadcasters, journalists, and novelists. And especially fans.

Major support provided by:


Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American has been made possible in part by
a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

  • Steven A. and Alexandra M. Cohen Foundation
  • Richard A. and Susan P. Friedman Family Foundation
  • Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation
  • Jane and Daniel Och
  • Marc and Diane Spilker Foundation
  • Leesa & Leon Wagner, The Wagner Family Foundation
  • Harriet and Larry Weiss
  • Judy and Fred Wilpon
  • Sam Wisnia

Additional support provided by:

  • Oakland Athletics, John Fisher and Lew Wolff
  • Clayman Family Foundation
  • Cozen O’Connor Foundation
  • Gary Goldring
  • Steve and Myrna Greenberg
  • Macy’s
  • Michael G. Rubin
  • Susie and Robert Zeff
  • The Morris, Max and Sarah Altman Memorial Trust; Arronson Foundation; William S. Comanor Charitable Fund; Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia; Edward H. & Evelyn Rosen Philanthropic Fund; David Seltzer

      And many other dedicated fans

Media sponsorship provided by:

  • Al Día NewsMedia
  • Metro US