A suite down the left field line of Bricktown Ballpark laid vacant for years. Until the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame had an idea. The suite used to house a sports bar that allowed fans to eat with a view. Not a bad one for my money.
The new location truly showcases the OKC MAPS vision. I know you’re asking, what in the heck is MAPS?
Allow me to enlighten you.
Oklahoma City’s Big 3 Mayors, Ron Norick, Kirk Humphreys, and Mick Cornett, all had their own version of the Metropolitan Area ProjectS Plan. The original MAPS, in 1986, invented by Ron Norick, put a penny-on-the-dollar sales tax to bring big time entertainment to OKC. Norick felt that Oklahoma City citizens would go to work, and right back home. There was no downtown life in the city, and twenty somethings wanted no part of OKC. Norick’s initiative funded projects such as, The Civic Center Music Hall, the Cox Convention Center, Chesapeake Arena, Bricktown Ballpark, and The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
The Hall didn’t have its own location, so it just had its own sector of a general Oklahoma Museum. They then took on a place near the Capitol, then just yesterday, had its grand opening at Bricktown Ballpark. The exhibits had to be cut down, however, it seems like a small price to pay for the new location, in prime Oklahoma City.
Sitting outside the stairs to get to the front door is a life-size statue of Jim Thorpe. When you walk into the museum, you are automatically inundated with Oklahoma athletics lore. The best part? Admission is free.
The museum has no clear path which allows the viewer to pick and choose the exhibits they want to see. The actual Hall-of-Fame part is tucked away from the main exhibits of the museum, and features glass pane portraits of all the inductees. Thenmost striking part of the museum is the small amount of Hall-of-Famers, just 171. Considering what kind of history Oklahoma Sports has, it shows just how hard induction is.
Highlighting the OSU inductees are Gary Ward, Pete Incaviglia, Bryant Reeves, John Smith, and, one of just three broadcasters, Bill Teegins.
On the OU side, the likes of Barry Switzer, another broadcaster, Bob Barry, Jason White and Billy Tubbs.
I don’t want to spoil it too much, so I’ll leave you with some visiting tips.
1. Don’t be afraid to pay for parking. If you try to park in a free spot, or at a meter, you’ll feel rushed. Although the hall is only about 1,000 square feet, it’s a lot jam packed in there to take in.
2. Choose a weekday afternoon, like I did, if at all possible. I can assure you it would not be enjoyable with a lot of people mulling around.
3. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is free.