A Baseball Fans First Trip to Cooperstown.
I have been a huge baseball fan my entire life. I have been to hundreds of baseball games. Up until last week I had never taken the four-hour trip up to Cooperstown to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. I am really glad I finally decided to pack up the wife and kids and take the journey up to Main Street.
Centered around the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown is a picturesque small town whose main focus is the history of the great game of baseball. From Double Day field, were some believe the first organized game was played, to the many shops that peddle autographs and memorabilia along Main Street, Cooperstown is the Mecca of baseball. It is like taking a trip back in time to the early days of the game when rural America lived for baseball tuning in each day on the family radio, no television, no 8:00 games, just good old fashion baseball.
I guess that any trip to Cooperstown has to start with a visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame, so I held off on going into any of the many stores and made my way to the entrance to the gates of the History of Baseball.
My walk around the Hall Of Fame started with the Hall of Fame Gallery of Plaques. This is room where all the plaques that have been dedicated to each member of the Hall reside. Only 15 of all the players that have ever played the game have their likeness hanging on a bronze plaque in this room.
A couple things that stand out in this room, along with the individual plaques of the greatest players to ever take the field. First, the to painted wood statues of babe Ruth and Ted Williams, looks like the rivalry is alive at the hall also. These two statues have unbelievable detail fir wood sculptures.
The second thing that really stood out to me is the plaque of Jim “Catfish” Hunter. Hunter played for both the Yankees and A’s during the 1970’s he won championships with both teams. He is the only modern day player that does not have a team emblem on the cap he is wearing on the plaque. I guess he couldn’t or wouldn’t decide; maybe he wanted to aggravate Boss George.
The rest of the Hall of Fame is filled with the memorabilia from every era of baseball. All the greats of the game are represented, both modern and past greats. From the bat that Ichiro used to break George Sislers single season hits record to a glove worn by Babe Ruth, you can find it throughout the Hall.
Along with the 200 or so items that are on display at any given time the Hall collection also contains 165,000 other items and it is always growing. To me that is the most amazing thing about the Hall. The Museum could be the entire length of Main Street and they would still need more room to display everything.
The Hall also has a very large baseball card collection. As a long time collector I found this area very interesting. Cards were on display from all the eras. Each decade had it’s own case with highlights of some of the great players from those years. This display of cards shows how important cards are to the game of baseball.
Outside of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Main Street is filled with Baseball shops that sell all types of baseball memorabilia, cards, shirts, furniture and tons of autographs. If it’s been made or signed chances are you can find it in one of the stores here. Each store is like a mini-museum, I recommend walking through each one. I didn’t buy anything because, as expected, the prices were way to high.
Between all the shops and a couple of doors down from the Hall of Fame is the newly opened Baseball Wax Museum. This is the only baseball Wax Museum in the world. The Museum is filled with live size wax images of all the greats of the game, Mantle, Maris, Williams, Clemente. Former New York Yankees are strongly represented throughout the museum.
There is also a really interesting Abbot and Costello wax figure re-enactment of their famous who is on first routine. My wife and kids really enjoyed this as well as the rest of the museum. It was more fun for them then the Hall because it was more interactive. My two year old even had a conversation with a wax figure of President Bush, wearing his Texas Rangers jacket of course. I highly recommend shelling out the $8 to walk around the Wax Museum.
Overall the experience in Cooperstown was fantastic, I hope to go back in July when Ryne Sandberg gets inducted, fingers crossed. The only thing I was disappointed about was how fast the entire town shuts down once the museum is closed. All the stores and restaurants close at 5:00. It was really strange how quick everyone cleared out of town.
There’s not much else to do in or around Cooperstown outside of Main Street. So if you haven’t made the trip yet and are thinking o going bring something to do at night, because after 5;00 there is really nothing to do.