LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory is opening up a new exhibit to tell the story of how baseball was used to strip Jim Thorpe of his gold medals from the 1912 Olympics.
Less than six months after Thorpe won the 1912 Olympic gold medals, he was stripped of the titles after news broke that he played semi-professional class D baseball during the summers of 1909-1910, according to a Slugger news release.
That technicality put his amateur status into question.
The display includes reproductions of the Louisville Slugger baseball bat contract Thorpe signed with Hillerich & Bradsby Co. on June 21, 1921.
“We were so excited to discover a microfilm copy of Jim Thorpe’s contract in our archives, and further digging uncovered a number of his actual bat orders in our historic ledgers, said Bailey Mazik, curator of the exhibit for Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory.
"We hope our guests gain a deeper understanding of the tragedies and injustices Thorpe faced as a Native American, and celebrate his remarkable achievements with new appreciation."
Activists protested for Thorpe's Olympic status to be reinstated for years. In 1983, 30 years after he died, replicas of his Olympic gold medals were presented to his children. One of those sets are also included in the exhibit.
The exhibit "Triumph & Tragedy: The Greatest of Jim Thorpe" is included with regular admission to the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. The exhibit runs through Feb. 20, 2022.
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