COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — The last time I was at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum I was all of about seven years old. I don’t remember anything except Doubleday Field — and even that is a cloudy recollection.
This weekend, I’ve at last returned to a place that has been on my list of things to do since I started following baseball when I was eight or nine. Like that last visit, I’m here with my Dad and brother — all of us more than 30 years older. In fact, the reason for this visit is to celebrate my Dad’s 80th birthday (which occured in February, an inhospitable time to visit upstate New York) and have a fun, guys-only roadtrip* along with my two brothers in law.
*A word of advice for anyone making the haul from Detroit to Cooperstown: stamina. We left my parents’ house in St. Clair Shores at 10 a.m. and pulled into our hotel at 10:15 p.m. We thought we were saving time cutting across Canada from Sarnia to Niagara Falls. Ha. Two hours of our journey were spent idling on bridges into and out of Canada. I will say this about the roads in Ontario: they’re immaculate. Nary a pothole or bump along the way. And the service plazas!
Our plan is to spend two days here and that’s going to be a end up being wise. After several hours at the Hall I think I’ve seen about 10 percent of the exhibits, displays and artifacts. Granted, I’m spending lots of time looking at everything they’ve got, especially if it’s Tigers related. Speaking of which, I’ve been posting photos of Tigers artifacts on my other site, TigersHistory.com. I haven’t uploaded everything yet, but it’s coming.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised about the volume of Yankees and Red Sox everything in the Hall, but for crying out loud. The artifacts and displays seem to lean heavily toward the northeast (in order: Yankees, Red Sox, New York Giants, Brooklyn Dodgers) with a good chunk of Cubs and Cardinals stuff. After that it’s a smattering of Tigers, Indians, White Sox and Pirates history. Want a Tigers hat or shirt? Good luck finding one — at least in the Hall gift shops. God forbid you’re a fan of any team West of the Mississippi (excluding the Dodgers, Cardinals and Giants) … or any team that entered the league after 1969.
But I didn’t come here to see and learn about Tigers history. I came to immerse myself in baseball history and, as hokey as it might sound, there’s no better place than Cooperstown. It’s not just the Hall and Museum; it’s the shops up and down Main Street that are filled with baseball books, memorabilia, bats, art and other goodies. And the people are so friendly. Well, except for the guy in the red Yukon.
It’s an incredible experience — and I’ve got about 90 percent still left to see.