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Sports Legends Museum to hold yard sale on Saturday

A photograph of the Orioles' four 20-game winners in 1971. A montage chronicling of the history of the Baltimore Black Sox. A framed picture of Johnny Unitas, as an infant, cradled in his mother's arms. These sports graphics are among the 1,000 items, all from the now-closed Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards, which go on sale Saturday at the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

There are also storyboards celebrating the Colts' rise to glory in 1958, a mounted photo of the Orioles reveling in their 1983 World Series victory and a panorama of Baltimore's Municipal Stadium, sans upper deck, before it was transformed into Memorial Stadium in 1954. Items will be priced from $1 to several hundred dollars, said Mike Gibbons, executive director of the Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation, which ran the Sports Legends Museum until it closed in October. The museum, which opened in 2005, failed to reach a new lease agreement with the Maryland Stadium Authority. Most of its archival memorabilia remains in storage. Sale items are museum-quality reproductions.

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"These are affordable collectibles that belong in guys' man caves because you can't get them anywhere else," Gibbons said. "Cool as this stuff is, it's not precious, game-used artifacts. But these things still have value because they were used in our museum to tell the stories of Maryland sports."

Ray Schulte, a sports marketing and public relations agent in Potomac, agreed.

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"From a collector's perspective, obviously, an original (keepsake) has more value," Schulte said, "But when an item has been kept in a sports museum for many years, it becomes special to those who understand who its caretaker has been."

The sale, at the tented pavilion at the BMI on Key Highway, runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Also Saturday, the Orioles will hold their annual FanFest at the Convention Center (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

When the Sports Legends Museum finds a home – Gibbons said an announcement could come as early as April – the sale items will be passe as the new museum highlights more tech-savvy exhibits.

"We'll feature a heavier concentration on electronics," he said. "But (keepsakes) like Unitas' high-topped cleats will still be there. You've got to have the real deal or you're not a museum."

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Want Babe Ruth? There's a quirky photo of the Bambino himself holding a camera and taking a picture of Lou Gehrig, his New York Yankees teammate.

Gibbons hopes to raise $15,000 at what he calls "our yard sale."

"It's a fundraiser, a chance to clean out the attic," he said. "This is a new chapter, a new day, a transition time for us. Now, we start over."

Sports Legends Yards Sale

What: Sale of items, mostly photos, from Sports Legends Museum

When: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Baltimore Museum of Industry tented pavilion, Key Highway

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