Cooperstown – Thursday to Friday

Our great New York vacation also took us out of The City.

Upstate New York.
The Catskills. From Wishbone, although perhaps not quite correctly, “I don’t know why they call it the Catskills, cats don’t have skills.”
The Baseball Hall of Fame!

The drive up to Cooperstown took about 3-1/2 hours. I am still not quite sure what the mileage was from start to end.
This side trip involved renting a car.
This meant actually driving said car in New York City, on the way out of town on Thursday, and then back in on Friday. We survived, without a ding or dent. [On our way out of town on Saturday AM, our cabbie said traffic on Friday was the worst he had seen in a long time.]

Once we got out of New York City, and then through much of the New Jersey segment, we had a very scenic trip. I had not researched this part of our trip, or even looked at a map. And since the rental car office near Ashlan’s apartment did not have any maps, we were dependent upon our smartphone information.

I believe GoogleMaps was the basis or our directions.
There may have been a route with fewer road changes, but the route provided was fun to drive.
2-lane roads, winding through the countryside. (Very little traffic once we hit these sections.)
Beautiful fall colors. (No pictures. I was driving.)

We finally reached Cooperstown aboutĀ 1:30 PM. Saw our motel on the drive into town, but continued on to the Hall of Fame Museum. The hours were 9-5, so we did not have a lot of time to waste.

Carl had somehow found out that if you had ticket stubs from a major league game on “Induction Day” (July 22nd) you could get free admission to the museum. As luck would have it, we were at a Detroit Tiger’s game on that day (in Detroit), and had the ticket stubs in hand. I think I had tried to recycle these ticket stubs more than once, but Carl stood firm on saving the tokens of the game.

First stop – the Ron Santo exhibit. Santo was one of the inductees for 2012, so he was displayed outside as well as in.

A fond memory for our family is listening to Ron Santo on the radio as an announcer for the Cubs. I don’t remember who he partnered with, but they were providing the play by play. Much of Santo’s color consisted of, “Ohhhhhh”, or “Arghhhhh”, or a very excited explanation for a play that went the Cubs way.

The Gallery was our first stop. The plaques are displayed in order of induction year. An example of how they are mounted, and then some individual favorites.

For the close-ups – Santo first.

Roberto (don’t call me Bob) Clemente Walker

Gaylord Perry – the first Mariner player in the Hall of Fame.

Stan Musial – for our St. Louis connections.

Bill Veeck (Veeck, as in Wreck). On owner with a gift for showmanship.

Veeck is the man who brought in Eddie Gaedel, at 3’7″ the shortest player in the game. At least for one at-bat. He was walked, and then pulled for a pinch-runner.

Carl Hubbell. Note the Carl H. connection.
Funny story with this one. Carl wore a uniform one year that said “Carl H.” on his back.
One of his teammates took to calling him “Hubbell.” Several years later Carl ran into this teammate again. He said he had been trying to look up Carl’s phone number in the phone book, and why was he not listed. Carl asked him what he was looking under. When he said, “Hubbell.” Carl said, “My name is HARMS.”

The announcer’s are in a different wing. The Mariner’s past announcer, Dave Niehause, was inducted by winning the Ford Frick award a few years ago. There was really only a small amount of information on display for any of the announcers.

We sat through a short film on baseball history. The film was shown in a grandstand style theatre, with a backdrop of old Comisky Park.

I was intrigued by this display of old baseballs. There are even more that do not show up in the picture, I am sure they are kept dark to keep the printing on the balls from fading.

A close-up of my favorite. (Carl and his friends have been complaining for years about the practice of stamping “Practice” on the sweet spot of balls often used for batting practice. The sweet spot is where you want to get an autograph, if that is your thing.) Apparently this is not a new practice.

From the smallest (Eddie Gaedel at 3’7″) to the tallest (Jon Rauch at 6’11”). I still think Randy Johnson (6’10”) stands taller.

The Museum does try to keep up with recent events. Here is Felix Hernandez’s uniform from his Perfect Game on August 15th. The story is that his uniform almost did not make it to the Hall of Fame, as the Mariners had to order a second to replace this one, and get it to the team before his next start. [Each player has two uniforms, but they are different materials, and Felix only likes the heavier material.]

There was a small Baseball in Art collection. Many different art styles. Even a Mariner, with a photograph of Ichiro. Actually a photograph of a plastic Ichiro figurine, with the exposure done so that it was hard to tell it was not the real person. I particularly liked the Leroy Nieman print, although my family did not share my opinion.

An outdoor sculpture of some little leaguers.

Pitcher to Catcher.

As it turned out, the approximately 3 hours we had to spend, was just the right amount of time for the museum. They have much more information than is on display (would they be considered hoarders?), and you are allowed to do research in their library. But that was not our plan, or task, so we left to find some dinner.

Being the off-season, the stores on main street had turned into pumpkins by the time dinner was over.
Carl & I did window-shop in the dark. It was fun. The stores seemed vaguely familiar to those in Sault Ste. Marie, if you substitute balls and bats for freighters and lighthouses.

A t-shirt I found humorous. [It might not make sense if you don’t know the Most Interesting Man in the World commercial for Dos Equis beer.]

We did stop by briefly in the morning for a few postcards, coffee and some pastries, before hitting the road back to the big City. The trip back was similar to the trip up, except that it rained for a good portion of the drive. We have been fortunate on our trip to generally be inside when the rain was falling, whether it was a building or a car.

Hall of Fame at Night

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