For 2011, The Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend takes place on July 22-25.
Please note: Although Cooperstown and its Baseball Hall of Fame is not within the Finger Lakes region, I felt this would be of interest to local residents and travelers coming to this area. So, it is with pleasure that I share this contribution by guest author, Peter F. Eder. Peter is Senior Editor of The HUB magazine, a marketing publication, and Contributing Marketing and Communications Editor of The Futurist magazine. Peter, a Darien CT resident, enjoys travel and writing about destinations in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
Induction Weekend at the Baseball Hall of Fame
Planning Your Visit
The decision to attend a Hall of Fame Induction weekend requires advance planning. For one thing, all the hotels, motels and upscale resorts are booked solid every year, by the sporting goods companies, major league teams, media outlets, etc. So it’s a choice between driving long distances or finding a nearby bed-and-breakfast. The latter is a wonderful option. Our stay at Day Lily Dreams, a ten minute stroll to the Induction site provided a perfect solution to being near-at-hand, and in a wonderful environment.
A second complication is the size of the entering class and the notoriety of the new Famers. In 2007, when the inductees included Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn more than 82,000 fans flooded Cooperstown. [In 2008], Goose Gossage, and Dick Williams drew about 14,000 visitors, putting less strain on the town and the fans.
While the New York State Thruway offers the quickest (and most expensive) option to getting to Cooperstown, the town is served by an excellent network of well paved, scenic, two lane roads. The traveler will pass an occasional Amish farm (and perhaps a buggy), and numerous fruit, flower and ice cream stands. Pick any one of them and you’ll find wonderful flavors, and typically benches or tables where one can take in the lovely rolling hills vistas, peppered with farms, fields and wooded lots.
The Friday and Saturday before the Sunday Induction Ceremony were days of a carnival like event in the town. It was an example of organized disorder.
A focal point of active attendance is getting a Hall of Famer (or aspiring Hall of Famer) to autograph something – not just a baseball or baseball card.
Hall members, (this year more than forty) were sitting at outdoor tables up and down the streets, or in hotels and restaurants, with their hours of appearance and locations pasted on building sites and listed in the newspapers and flyers.” Prices varied dramatically by Hall of Famer – reflecting perhaps age, team, record, availability, .etc.
Collectors bought tickets and then waited in informal lines. Prices varied by the type of item being signed – the bigger the item, the higher the rate, and new to the process, many are also charging extra for “dedications”.
In a short period of time, I saw a man carrying what turned out to be an encased blueprint section of the 1923 Yankee Stadium, covered with gathering signatures. An even more striking example was the fan who had built a mobile device to roll two wooden, old time stadium seats up and down the streets, acquiring additional appropriate autographs
Senior Famers (like Yogi Berra, Bob Feller) sat side by side with recent inductees, bantering with each other and the fans. Both the signers and the requestors were all having fun – polite, reminiscing, hand shaking, picture taking, back-patting and even an occasional hug.
My wife commented that she had never seen so many men dressed and acting like boys. And with players being more mobile these days, (moving from team to team) the array of jerseys, caps and accessories were mind-numbing. Serious collectors mingled with ordinary fans of all ages – all enjoying the experience.
For more information on visiting Cooperstown, visit This is Cooperstown.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to read Genesee Country Village & Museum that covers information about the 19th Century National Silver Base Ball Tournament and league there.