Hall of Fame trip

JMB · May 29, 2005 at 8:02 pm · Filed Under General baseball 

I had Friday off of school, so I made my first-ever trip to the Hall of Fame. It’s a nice day trip from here, about 2.5 hours each way of pleasant driving through the Catskills. Incidentally, I found a great baseball fan litmus test for anyone living in this area. This week at school people were talking about their weekend plans (we have a four-day weekend, Friday off for a day between blocks and Monday for Memorial Day). I told people I’d be going to Cooperstown on Friday. You can tell a baseball fan right away, because the face lights up and they say something like, “oh, that’ll be awesome.” Non-baseball fans who know the town say, “Yes, that’s a very nice little town.”

I spent a little more than three hours taking it all in. It reminded me of watching Ken Burns’ Baseball back in the day — you really have to search to find something, anything, about the Mariners. There’s a Mariners jersey display, which all teams have. The M’s are listed on Gaylord Perry’s plaque. You can scan various displays to find out that Ken Griffey Jr. won an AL MVP award, or that Edgar Martinez won two AL batting titles.

Of course there’s the Ichiro 262 display, which is pretty hard to miss. Derek talked about this before, and it’s pretty darned cool. Bats, gloves, sunglasses, the “Ichi-meter” fan sign from Safeco, it’s all there in a very nice glass case. But, sadly, that’s the only thing that screams “Mariners.” I guess that’s fair, given the team’s place and relative youth in baseball history.

Going on a weekday before school’s out was a good way to go. It wasn’t emtpy, of course, but there were far fewer people there than I expected. There were no fights to see displays or long lines, nothing like that. The biggest annoyance was finding a place to park, as all the street parking nearby is two-hour limit.

All in all, it was a very good time, and I highly recommend every baseball fan make it to Cooperstown at least once. I also suggest, as was suggested to me, that you go by yourself the first time if at all possible. I had been planning to take my son, but I’m glad I didn’t, because there’s no way he would have put up with three hours of looking around. I’m sure we’ll make it up there at least once before I’m done with school, though, when he’s old enough to get something out of it.


2 Responses to “Hall of Fame trip”

  1. dw on May 29th, 2005 10:14 pm

    We went in 2002 at about the same time of year (late May). Only crowd we fought was a school group. There was even less Mariner stuff in the Hall back then — the only obvious thing was the bat from Cameron’s 4 HR game (Edgar Martinez model, BTW). Also, a few things were not on display because the Hall was doing its national tour o’ artifacts. I couldn’t find the Chalmers Trophy or Heinie Groh’s bottle bat, e.g.

    Parking’s a lot easier if you stay at a B&B and walk to the Hall. We were at the same one DMZ stayed at (I’ve been meaning to ask him about that), and it was about a 3 block walk, a little shorter if you cut in around Doubleday FIeld.

  2. Terry on May 30th, 2005 1:31 pm

    I visited the HOF in October 2000 with my (then) 12 year old son. We had a ball! We were there for 3 days (I don’t know it can be done in 3 hours!!), which coincided with the playoffs. Each day we visited the Hall for most of the day, then grabbed some good takeout and headed back to our motel for 2 playoff games – including the M’s Chisox. So we were also lucky to have sparse crowds to deal with.

    Cooperstown was something else – a few blocks of downtown, with nearly every business named after or devoted to some aspect of baseball. The only newspaper box on the main drag sold – what else? – The Baseball Weekly. The scoreboard in front of the Hall listed the final standings for the season – the best M’s reference of all!

    Inside the Hall it was the plaques that really got me – the stillness of the room (remember, there were few other visitors) and its simplicity gave it the air of a cathedral (the Church of Baseball?). I returned to it many times.

    My son is now 17. We’ve never stopped talking about what a great trip it was and we vowed to return for Edgar’s induction.

    Any fan who hasn’t visited Cooperstown is missing A LOT!