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Baseball and unrest explored in exhibition at library

Exhibition explores the triumphant and turbulent year of 1968 through the perspective of the National Pastime.

August 10, 2012|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com
(Raul Roa Staff Photographer )

Terry Cannon grew up in Detroit rooting for his hometown Tigers.

Cannon is the executive director of the Baseball Reliquary, a Pasadena-based nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of American art and culture through the context of baseball history. Cannon has been the curator of a number of baseball-themed exhibitions that have been displayed at the Burbank Central Library.

The latest display, "Bad Moon Rising: Baseball and the Summer of '68," which runs through Sept. 27 at the library, includes a tribute to his beloved Tigers and their seven-game victory against the St. Louis Cardinalsin the World Series.

"This was a really fun exhibit for me because I grew up in Detroit, and I always thought about doing something to celebrate the success of the '68 team," Cannon said. "That World Series victory really galvanized that city, a city that suffered through some pretty bad rioting in 1968. It kind of really brought the city out of the ashes and the population really rallied around the team. What we saw there was a real positive impact of baseball."

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The exhibition is played out against the backdrop of one of the most divisive and turbulent years in American history, marked by national tragedy and sweeping change. The presentation is based on ¿Tim Wendel's book, ¿"Summer of '68: The¿ Season That Changed Baseball — and America — Forever."

"I'm very pleased with it. I think it's one of the better exhibits that we've done," Cannon said. "Because the information is from such a wonderful book, it was vary easy to kind of translate that to the exhibit. It's also interesting because along with what was going on in baseball at the time, it also draws upon what was happening in society at the time.

"In 1968, there were so many changes that were happening at the time in baseball, and it was also a very turbulent time in America with the tensions that were going on, the riots in the cities that were taking place and the assassination of two prominent figures. So you will see all of this sprinkled throughout the exhibition."

The exhibition utilizes photographs, artifacts and documents to illustrate key elements of Wendel's research. Much of the signage, including captions for photographs, is excerpted from the book.

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