Category: Baseball Travel

Visiting Cooperstown, Part II: Parade of Legends

It was a thrill to see the Parade of Legends, featuring all the hall of famers who made the trip for Induction Weekend.  I snagged my spot about an hour before the parade started, and stood several rows back from the road. Everyone in front of me had brought chairs and staked out spots much earlier in the day, so I still had a great view as most of them remained seated for the parade.

The parade route goes from Doubleday Field to the Hall of Fame, traveling down Chestnut Street to Main Street.  The parade started right at 6:00 PM after the induction of broadcasters that took place at Doubleday Field at 4:30 PM.   There were 52 hall of famers in the parade, and they all rode in trucks provided by the local Ford dealership. Some had family members accompanying them.

I got photos and video of almost everyone in the parade – check out all my pics here.

Of course, I cheered the loudest for the Cardinals hall of famers who made the trip: Tony LaRussa, Bruce Sutter and Ozzie Smith.

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Fans asked Ozzie to do a backflip but he indicated he didn’t have enough room in the back of the truck.

Other highlights included…

Whitey Ford led the parade.

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Fans imitated Carlton Fisk’s famous gesticulations when he willed his home run to stay fair.  Fisk laughed.

Great ovations came for this year’s inductees: Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey, Jr.  Mets fans dominated the crowd as it wasn’t too bad of a journey to get from Queens to Cooperstown. But I was also impressed at how many Mariners fans made the trek.

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Seeing Randy Johnson up close, I could really appreciate how tall and dominant he must have seemed on the mound.

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Seeing Jim Palmer made me think of his old underwear ads.

I had an awesome time at the parade. It was really kind of overwhelming to see so many legends up close.  It was also neat to see the fans in the crowd showing their appreciation for all the hall of famers, disregarding team rivalries. Everyone was just celebrating baseball!

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Visiting Cooperstown – Part I: Baseball Hall of Fame Tour

Recently, I attended the New York State Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, where I worked on writing stuff that is longer than haikus. After I arrived, I realized the college was only about 90 minutes drive from Cooperstown. We had a free day on the weekend in the middle of our two-week conference, so I made a day trip to Cooperstown. It also happened to be Hall of Fame Induction Weekend – perfect timing! In this post, I will talk about my Baseball Hall of Fame visit and my next post will cover the Parade of Legends.

I got to Cooperstown around midday and there was quite a long line to get into the Hall of Fame, but it moved pretty quickly. Inside, it was packed, and I would definitely like to visit again sometime on a normal day where I could feel less rushed and jostled. I still managed to check out the whole collection and spent about three hours in the museum and store.  Ken Griffey, Jr and Mike Piazza were being inducted, so there were many Mets, Mariners, and Reds fans in attendance. There were long lines to see the display cases devoted to those guys.

The exhibits that tell the history of the game are really great and packed with info. I also enjoyed the exhibit on women in baseball.

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Probably some of my favorite parts of the museum were the kitschy nostalgic things, like seeing the old handheld baseball electronic game from the 80s and the San Diego chicken costume.  They had the little plastic helmets for each team that were used for sundaes at Baskin-Robbins. I remember trying to collect them all.  I saw a package of Big League Chew that I would always chew during my softball games, pretending it was chewing tobacco. The museum has so many happy baseball memories.

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I spent most of my time looking at the Cardinals exhibits and there were plenty. It was amazing to see the Stan Musial locker display. I also liked the Whitey Ball exhibit and the more recent items including David Freese’s home run back from the 2011 World Series Game 6.  I took photos of each Cardinal hall of famer plaque and most of the Cardinals memorabilia on display. You can see all my photos here.

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The town of Cooperstown is really cute and has a “Main Street USA” feel to it. I checked out many of the memorabilia shops. There were a lot of baseball players doing signings at these stores, even Pete Rose (isn’t it kind of painful for him to be there on that particular weekend?). For some reason, Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart was also signing. I took a break at the Cooperstown Distillery tasting room and had a good cocktail. Love the baseball bottles! I hope to return and tour the distillery.

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With baseball fans of all different teams and all ages visiting that weekend, united by their love of the game, I couldn’t help but feel America is still pretty darn great.

Check out all my Cooperstown pics.