This trip was essentially 3 in 1.
The first part was New York City.
Part 2 = Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Part 1b – transitioning from New York City to Cooperstown.
We traveled by foot, subway, train and rental car. The train ride along the Hudson was certainly the most scenic part of the trip.
It was a destination idea shared by at least 50,000 others.
With that many in attendance, you would think it was crowded. And it was in certain areas – like downtown Cooperstown through the heart of the day. Other times were surprisingly low-key. Like early in the morning during “Members Only” hours at the museum. And the road between our hotel and Cooperstown. We were even able to park within one block of the main drag through town.
In the hall itself each major league team has a space where they have uniforms, some special items about the team, and a list of the team’s major accomplishments, such as retired numbers and world series. Due to alphabetization, here are St. Louis and Seattle. One has had a bit more success than the other. (Enlarge to read details)
And it turns out Edgar Martinez is already in the Hall, at least his jersey.
This is nothing special, but I like this idea for a future project.
A bit of Seattle history.
We wandered the Hall early in the morning, and then found the Cooperstown Diner. A small, intimate setting. No taking names, just wait until a table of the correct number of seats opens up. Luckily it was not too long a line for us, or wait. The waitress, on the other hand, was literally running. We asked if this was their busiest day of the year, and she agreed and noted that another waitress would be arriving at 9:00. Of course it was past 9 by this point (she did show up eventually).
Folding chairs are the name of the game for HOF weekend. We had read enough about the induction site to purchase 3 chairs and 2 beach towels when we arrived in Cobleskill. (There are nowhere near enough places to stay in Cooperstown, so most stay a bit out of town. Cobleskill is between Albany and Cooperstown, about a 40 minute drive. Others we spoke with were staying in Albany, and even Utica.)
On our way into Cooperstown on Saturday morning we drove by the induction ceremony site. The induction is on Sunday, but the information said you could leave chairs out overnight. Even though it was not quite 7:30 AM, there were already chairs out in the general seating area. So we stopped and dropped off our chairs in what we felt was a pretty good location. There were about 2-3 rows of chairs between us and the fence separating the riff-raff from those that paid for chairs set up by others.
Once on the main drag, we could see that these same type chairs were in abundance along Main Street. This is the parade route. So Carl & I stepped into the General Store and purchased 2 more chairs and set them out in the second row along the street. They only cost $1 more than the Wal-Mart purchase, and we reasoned that there were 5 of us total, so we would move them to the induction site after the parade.
We spent most of the day wandering up and down Main Street. Many stores with baseball related kitsch and memorabilia. Many ex-players in stores signing autographs (for a fee). And lots of people watching. And it was hot. I think the water concession was the biggest money-maker throughout the weekend.
At 6:30 PM the parade commenced, with Hall-of-Famers riding in the back of trucks – in the order of their induction. First in line was Whitey Ford.
Randy Johnson – A Mariner favorite, even though he was inducted as a Diamondback.
And finally the reason we are here. Ken Griffey, Jr.
Two of the HOFers even acknowledged Carl and his fez.
After a day in the sun we were ready to head back to our home away from home for dinner and some rest. Because we had set chairs at the induction site the day before, we did not feel the need to be there at the crack of dawn. Again, the road was fairly empty until we got close. There were the two State Patrol cars that drove in front of us most of the way, there for crowd control I am sure. When we did get close the number of people and cars multiplied before our eyes. At the last moment we decided to park in a private lot – adjacent to the induction site. This saved the lines for the shuttle, and the sprained ankles sported by two of our five.
If somebody had suggested we join 50,000 others for this event, I might have balked. In the end it was a great time. The five of us in are newly purchased chairs – Carl, Mark, Dottie, Kevin and myself.
The rest of the 50,000 plus. (One woman we spoke with said they thought it was closer to 60,000 or more. But it still paled to the 82,000 they had when Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn were inducted.)
After the ceremony they take the plaques into town and install them in the museum. We did not follow that evening, choosing to wait for the morning on our way out-of-town.
And then we headed north – into Canada.
And out of Canada, and home.