For just a cup of coffee you can tour the first real baseball museum in Harford County, and if you decide to take it all in, you could stay for a grand dinner as well and still be gaping at the walls.
It may not be as well publicized as the Ripken Museum in Aberdeen, but it's older and still growing. Rather than a museum with a snack bar, this is a restaurant with a museum
Little did Joyce and Bill Frederick realize when they bought the Ballpark Restaurant in 1989 that it would become a shrine to baseball and football.
The restaurant was built on the lot where the Scarboro baseball team played. On U.S. 1 just south of Poplar Grove, the Ballpark is open seven days a week.
The Fredericks purchased the restaurant from Vonnie and Loren Waddell, and immediately Bill hung up two Orioles pennants and two Colts pennants.
"We wanted to decorate the place to commemorate the baseball that was played there. Soon after the first pennants were hung, folks began donating all sorts of memorabilia to be displayed. I would guess that 80 percent of what is displayed was donated," Bill Frederick said.
"The Babe Ruth section I purchased and is authentic. I guess you might say that is my favorite part of the collection. Ruth's farewell in a Yankee uniform and the photograph of him and Lou Gehrig."
Also in the smoking section is the Colts corner, featuring a framed blue "Colts Corral #20" jersey and other Colts items.
There are team photos of the 1950 and 1951 International League Orioles teams and plaques of the 1966, 1970 and 1983 world champion Orioles. There is a framed print of "333 W. Camden Street," home of the 1993 All-Star Game.
More than 20 Orioles pennants line the main dining room wall. National Football League teams are also included, along with National and American League baseball pennants.
There is a photo of the "Baltimore Bashers," portraying the Orioles who hit 20 or more home runs during the 1996 season.
The local interest is in the league that started in 1948 at the site of restaurant. The Scarboro team won the championship that year. On the team were John Anderson, Louis and Rex Funk, Bill Pugh, Bayse Anderson, Ferd Buecker, Beck Grafton, Bud Lloyd, Tom and Bud Shelton, and Andrew Buecker.
Charlie Weeks of the Scarboro team went on to play professional ball with the Newark Bears.
The Aberdeen Canners, with Bill Ripken, Cal Ripken Sr. and Charlie Deel, played against the Scarboro team. In a photo of the 1946 Canners, Clarence Whiteford is listed as gatekeeper and Cal Senior is the batboy. Others on that team included Snake Toner, Joe Lee, Ollie Ripken and Chinky Volkart.
There is an eye-catching photograph of a baseball game being played in a high-walled prison.
Near it is a photograph of the 1997 Delmarva Shorebirds, in the familiar orange and white uniforms, including Americo Peguero, Ryan Minor and Darrell Dent.
With that cup of coffee a visitor is drawn back into the counter area and that haunting portrait of Babe Ruth, cap in hand, head bowed, saying farewell to the crowd at Yankee Stadium.
A waitress says Toddy Lloyd has donated much of the collection concerning local teams and players. Bill Frederick says there is twice again as much stuff at his home, waiting to be framed and for a place to be found on the walls to display it.
The Ball Park opens at 6 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. On Sunday mornings, it is particularly crowded with diners ordering the buckwheat cakes and chipped beef gravy.