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Hit-maker with a passion for the game08/01/2008 11:07 AM ET
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
NASHVILLE -- The country music world lost one of its biggest legends when Eddy Arnold passed away in May, mere days shy of his 90th birthday.
Arnold, known as the "Tennessee Plowboy," is largely credited for taking country music from its humble, rural and down-home sensibilities and bringing it the masses via pop radio.
The singer, who went on to star in movies and on television, left behind a huge songbook of hits from the 1940s until 1980, including "That's How Much I Love You," "I'll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms)," "Anytime" and "Bouquet of Roses" plus "I Really Don't Want to Know," "Cattle Call," "What's He Doing in My World" and "Make the World Go Away." Arnold released more chart-topping singles than any other country artist in the 20th century.
But Arnold also left behind memorabilia from his lifelong obsession with baseball, and he donated several items to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, where he became the youngest inductee in the Hall's history when elected in 1966 at the age of 48.
"He was a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan," says Tina Wright, the Hall's director of media relations. "And fortunately for us, he was an avid collector of all sorts of memorabilia from his own career. And part of that was baseball.
"A few years ago, he donated the largest collection we've ever received, with all sorts of costumes and instruments. And among the things he gave us were two baseballs: one autographed by all of the 1967 Cardinals and one by Roger Maris."
Find out more about Eddy Arnold by visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.