COOPERSTOWN, New York - Baseball's fabled shrine, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, was evacuated this morning when the stench from an athletic supporter on permanent display sickened hundreds of visitors.

The offending jockstrap was donated by Pittsburgh Pirate centerfielder Nate McLouth and displayed as part of the Hall of Fame's new undergarment exhibit that includes Babe Ruth's favorite thong and the pink bikini briefs worn by former baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn.

A total of 371 fans, all female, were rushed to local hospitals for treatment. Male visitors seemed to be immune from the effects of the odor. The Hall of Fame will be closed tomorrow for fumigation, and the undergarment is being buried in an undisclosed location to prevent "jockstrap fetishists" from attempting to dig it up.

Mr. McLouth admitted he forgot to wash the garment before donating it. But Hall of Fame visitor Rosacea Swayne, 76, of Chicago, said McLouth should be excused. "I thought the undergarment exhibit was great," she explained. "Especially the 'Jocks from the Negro League' room."

The last time the Hall of Fame was closed due to stench was when "Shoeless" Joe Jackson removed his shoes in the Plaque Gallery to protest his banishment from baseball, instantly killing three visitors and sickening dozens of others. When Jackson refused to put on his shoes, he was shot dead by Hall of Fame snipers.