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San Diego's Hall of Champions.

San Diego's Hall of Champions

Super Bowl host San Diego deserves more than this month's moment in the sports spotlight. At the Hall of Champions in Balboa Park, you can view decades of local athletic prowess. Its collection honors such San Diegans as Gavy Cravath, whose 24 homers set a record in the dead ball era; Brick Muller, star of the early '20s UC Wonder teams; Maureen Connolly; Mickey Wright; Dennis Conner.

Founded in 1961, the same year the Chargers arrived, the hall moved from smaller surroundings to this warehouse-size location in 1983. Since then, many displays have been updated and improved.

Among them, the baseball exhibit stands out. Look for uniforms worn by major-league stars such as pitcher Don Larsen, noteworthy balls and bats, and programs dating from the turn of the century. An interactive computer tests even the most avid fan's knack for trivia. (Do you recall the nickname for Red Sox great Ted Williams? The Splendid Splinter.)

Video tapes of many games are included. Local sports, such as surfing and over-the-line (a sort of beach softball), get coverage, too, as do disabled athletes. Wacky displays include the America's Cup Challenger's Trophy, a 21-foot-tall, tongue-in-cheek sculpture of the Statue of Liberty: she's bending over backward, holding a trophy out of an eager sailor's reach.

Through January, the museum exhibits NFL-collection photographs from past Super Bowls.

The museum lies just south of the zoo. Hours are 10 to 4:30 Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 5 Sundays; it's closed major holidays. Admission is $5 for families, $2 adults, $1 seniors, and 50 cents for ages 6 through 17.

Photo: Local heroes and baseball greats-- both receive praise in these displays
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Date:Jan 1, 1988
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