A delivery driver drops a stack of packages in the lobby of the Los Angeles Sports Museum. What’s in them? “I don’t know,” said Gary Cypres, founder and curator of the downtown museum that will open to the public on Nov. 28. “Let’s find out.” And, with boyish delight, he tears open the top package. It is a baseball for the 65-year-old businessman’s already substantial Joe DiMaggio collection. No, it isn’t the ball that extended DiMaggio’s hitting streak to the record 56 games (Cypres owns that one too, though). It is the ball that would have taken the streak to 57 — had Cleveland Indians infielder Ken Keltner not snared it.
The Brooklyn-born Cypres has similar back stories for just about every item in his 10,000-piece collection, acquired over more than 20 years. The museum — www.sportsmuseum.com — has had visitors over the last few years — but by invitation only. And they say they continue to be stunned by the contents of this place.
“I don’t know of any other collection in the world that has the depth and variety of what Gary has,” said David Kohler, president of SCP Auctions, which recently auctioned off (to another collector) a T206 Honus Wagner baseball card for $2.8 million.
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