|A Visit to the Hall of Fame
Officially named "The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum," this place…this location on the main
street of the little town of Cooperstown, New York…is on the "must see" list of everyone who loves this
game. It's a living memorial to baseball history and to those whose personal fetes soared high above the rest.
I'll never forget my first visit. I went with a Minor League player on an off day in his season in the Eastern
League, and was anxious to see his reactions. The anticipation of what was to come was overtaken by amazement at
seeing it for the first time from across the street. First thought? The red brick building seemed "so small."
I expected to see something huge. Well, let me tell you, once you're inside, its contents make it gigantic!
Huge banners, each with the name of a player elected to the Hall that year, hung from the ceiling just inside the
entrance. It's as if the Hall were saying, "Congratulations and Welcome" to them. This was just the beginning.
As if the actual Hall of Fame Gallery, crowded with the coveted bronze plaques for each member elected into that
shrine weren't enough, we wandered through many individual rooms which focus on different elements and eras of
the game. You can visit everything from Babe Ruth's locker to changes in the uniform styles, to Astroturf. The
Great Moments Room is filled with nine-foot tall photos portraying historic moments and milestones in the game.
There's the Cooperstown Room with memorabilia from baseball's earliest history. And so many more.
Can you name the first five inductees to the Hall of Fame? Did you know they were elected in 1937? Do you know
which player got the most votes?
I learned all that in the Hall. Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Matthewson, and Walter Johnson were the
big five. And Ty Cobb got 222 votes to Babe Ruth's 215. How about that?
It was a day of getting chills because of baseball. One of the things that gave me chills was upstairs. It was
a tribute to Ebbets Field and the old Brooklyn Dodgers. We passed single file through the actual turnstile from
Ebbets Field to enter the room that was made to look like we were really entering the ballpark. The sounds were
like we were at an actual game or listening to it on the radio. I was just a kid when the Dodgers abandoned Brooklyn
and headed to California, so getting a little bit of Ebbets Field was an unexpected treat.
Let me assure you, spending one full day there left me hungry for more and eager to return.
Did you notice I didn't present any Hall of Fame history here? You can find that in a zillion places on the internet.
The most meaningful part of its history was mentioned in the brochure they gave us on our way in.
It said, and I quote, "Since its dedication in 1939, millions of Baseball fans around the world have made
the pilgrimage to Cooperstown to relive the many great moments of the game's colorful and exciting past."
It also said over 8,000 baseball artifacts are housed there. How can that be? It seems like so much more…a spirit…
a feeling…an aura of greatness all around.