- Cooperstown - Getting There
- The Baseball Hall of Fame
- Awards Ceremony/The Parade of Legends
- Induction Ceremony
Craig Biggio said, "It's not easy to get to Cooperstown, but once you do, it's like Candyland!"
For a lifetime baseball fan who took in the entire experience with wide-eyes, I'd say that's true!
Everything about Cooperstown resonates baseball, with the Baseball Hall of Fame located right along Main Street.
When you enter the Baseball Hall of Fame, you are greeted with several options. In my opinion, here's how a first timers tour should begin:
- First, take the stairs to the second floor theater and watch the movie on the history of baseball. It's a cute little film and everyone sings "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at the end. It's a great way to start your day at the Hall.
- After the movie, begin your tour on the second floor near the theater exit. This floor covers everything from baseball's early beginnings to baseball legends, the negro leagues, and women in baseball.
- Next, make your way up to the third floor for a tour of the history of baseball's "sacred grounds", the ballparks.
- Finally, the first floor holds the plaque gallery where you can find every person ever inducted into the hall of fame.
- Oh yes, and don't forget to swing by the gift shop on your way out...you'll definitely want a souvenir to remember your time by!
Two areas of the Baseball Hall of Fame really touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. The first was the overall story of Babe Ruth. Oh how he loved the game...and he passed away from cancer. Did you know that his body was kept for viewing at the original Yankee Stadium rotunda until midnight and fans waited for hours outside in the rain simply to pay their respects? Listening to his farewell to baseball speech overhead, his voice severely affected by cancer.....y'all. I lost it.
This photo won a Pulitzer Prize!
This bat has 28 notches around the Louisville Slugger brand tag, each notch representing a home run!
Here's Mickey Mantle's locker, straight out of the old Yankee Stadium!
My favorite area by far was the Women in Baseball section! This area reviewed everything from the All American Girls Professional Baseball League to the Gold Medal Team USA Women's Softball Team!
I overheard someone humming "Oh we're the members of the All American League..." which instantly brought a smile to my face!
Another story that really touched my heart was that of the great Hank Aaron. I had NO idea that this man put up with so much pure hatred during his career. Samples of hate mail were on display and I can't even repeat the things that people wrote to him...literal death threats, racist remarks...y'all, seriously those people should be ashamed of themselves.
As much as I was repulsed by the horrible things I read, I was glad that the Hall also included samples of "good" mail that Hank received. Actually, the one on display made tears flow freely down my face as I read the words written from a man to his childhood hero. The letter spoke of the impact that Hank Aaron made on the writer's life as a kid. Growing up, he married and eventually adopted a son who he named after his father and his childhood hero. Had I been home alone while reading that letter, I seriously think I would have sobbed. Knowing that someone else's life touched another person's in the manner that Hanks did just overwhelms me. I love hearing positive stories with good outcomes such as that one.
After ALL that Hank Aaron endured, he made a profound statement that blows my mind...he said he not only wants to be remembered as a great baseball player, but as an even better human being. That's pretty incredible.
Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's home run record!
Throughout the remainder of the second floor, you'll find various pieces of baseball history from Don Larson's perfect World Series game (the only one to date)...
...to a ball from the 1919 World Series where Shoeless Joe Jackson received his nickname!
Nolan Ryan gear
The black bat pictured here was used by Cal Ripken Jr. in 2001 where he became the oldest player (at age 40) to ever hit a home run in the All-Star game!
History of the World Series.
The Hall even has a sample of the letter written by the Mayo Clinic to the Yankees, alerting them of Lou Gehrig's unfortunate diagnosis of ALS.
As mentioned earlier, the third floor of the Baseball Hall of Fame includes an entire section dedicated to the ballparks.
You'll even find pieces and parts of old stadiums that have since been demolished!
After a tour of the third floor, we moseyed on down to the first floor to check out the plaque gallery.
On the way there, we spotted a section dedicated to our favorite new hall of famer, Craig Biggio!
Onto the Gallery!
This room is filled with plaques representing 244 players, 23 managers, 10 umpires, and 33 baseball pioneers!
The First class ever inducted into the Hall of Fame is by far the coolest in my opinion (Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, and Honus Wagner)!
Oh yes, and this class of 2015 is pretty cool, too!
I can't say enough great things about the Baseball Hall of Fame. If you're a fan of the sport, you'll love it here!!
I also can't emphasize enough how important it is to arrive for the Baseball Hall of Fame induction weekend a few days early! You see how empty most of my pictures were above? Well, that's because the crowds hadn't jumped to insane proportions yet! See this line in this picture above? That was Sunday's line to enter the Hall of Fame (on induction day). It was at least 45 minutes long. We are Hall of Fame members, so we had the opportunity to stand in a much shorter line but still...CRAZY!
Anyway, I hope you're enjoying these recaps of our fun weekend in Cooperstown! I'm enjoying re-living the fun times we shared as a family! :)
How are you with large crowds? Take it or leave it?