With two days left to spend in New York, when the rest of the family headed to school and work, Bill and I turned northward and traveled to Cooperstown to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Bill had visited when he was a young lad and I had never been, so we took advantage of its proximity and made the hour and a half trip.
Upon entering the building, the volunteers suggest that you begin your visit on the second floor, work toward the third, and then complete your experience on the first floor. Known to follow other’s directions well, that’s exactly what we did! Our 3 1/2 hours at the Hall of Fame was very educational, enlightening and downright fun! They allow you to leave and return, so after the first two floors, we left the building for lunch, returning later to complete our tour.
The second floor included actual lockers of many players and contained team memorabilia. As you can see, Bill, the ultimate Dodgers fan, enjoyed that particular locker and even though it has been difficult to be a Phillies fan the past several years, I did enjoy their locker – as I recognized many of the players – and of course I was thrilled to see the Phillies Phanatic in all his splendor! We even saw a glass case dedicated to our South Jersey hero, Mike Trout. The second floor also presented the history of baseball – beginning in the 1800’s and also included an exhibit dedicated to Babe Ruth, another focusing on Women in Baseball, and another exploring the African-American Baseball Experience.
Moving up to the third floor, we focused on famous ballparks, the Hank Aaron Gallery of Records, and an exhibit named Autumn Glory: A Postseason Celebration, artifacts surrounding the World Series through the years. Even if you are not a die-hard baseball fan, the Hall of Fame is amazing! I collected some additional facts that I found interesting and did not know previously. For example, did you know…
- The term “sky rocket” was the original term used to describe our present day “pop fly.”
- The term “southpaw” has been utilized since the beginning of baseball when referring to a left-handed batter!
- A “batter” was originally called a “striker.”
- Baseball games were not always 9 innings but lasted for a total of 21 runs.
- Bats are now primarily constructed of maple rather than ash.
- The Designated Hitter was only introduced in 1973.
- The very first World Series occurred in 1903!
- The Hall of Fame Museum has collected and cares for over three million library items, 250,000 photographs, 145,000 baseball cards, 40,000 three-dimensional artifacts and 14,000 hours of recorded media!
Following our break-away for lunch at the Doubleday Café, we returned to the Hall of Fame to take in the Plaque Gallery, where players, umpires, and managers who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame are honored by individual bronze plaques. I knew that inductees must be out of baseball for at least five years but did not realize that they must also have been actively and consecutively involved in baseball for ten years. The Gallery is a surprisingly quiet and peaceful environment – maybe visitors are silently intimidated by such greatness!
We certainly enjoyed our visit and would recommend the experience to everyone!
Stay Calm and Travel On…