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National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

2 Ratings: 4.0
An American museum and hall of fame, located at 25 Main Street in Cooperstown, New York.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame features 289 members, including 2009 electees Joe Gordon, Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice. Included are 202 former Major League players, 35 Negro leaguers, 26 executives or pioneers, 18 managers and eight umpires. The … see full wiki

1 review about National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Every baseball fan in America should make the pilgrimage to Cooperstown.

  • Aug 27, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+5

If you are a huge baseball fan like I am but reside in a place like Denver or Los Angeles then you might be wondering if a pilgrimage to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY would be worth your while.  After all, Cooperstown is not the easiest place in the world to get to.  It is a tiny village nestled in the Catskill mountains of New York.  Let me assure you that for most people the trip to Cooperstown is an experience that they will never forget.  I would even submit that you do not even have to be a baseball fan to thoroughly enjoy the Baseball Hall of Fame.  The place is just dripping with history and Americana.

Because I reside in New England a trip to Cooperstown is really no big deal for me.  I suppose I can get there in about 5 hours.  Over the years I have visited the Baseball Hall of Fame 8 or 9 times.  If you are going there for the very first time I would plan to spend at least an entire day there.  There is so much to see and do.  I would estimate that perhaps 25% of the exhibits change from time to time.  As such, I find that a visit every 3 or 4 years makes a lot of sense for me.  There are always new and interesting artifacts on display at the Hall of Fame.  As you might expect,  most visitors to the Baseball Hall of Fame are immediately drawn to the Hall of Fame Gallery where the plaques of all 289 Hall of Famers can be found.  For the true baseball fan this is something akin to a religious experience.   Meanwhile, there a dozens of terrific exhibits that are sure to capture your imagination.  Perhaps my very favorite is an exhibit on the Negro Leagues that features actual footage of Negro League games and interviews with some of the all-time greats, most of whom never got the chance to show their skills in a big league game.  I also love the relatively new exhibit on sportswriters and broadcasters.  For me the most impressive exhibit in the building has to be the life-size carvings of Ted Williams and Babe Ruth.  These magnificent carvings were done by Rhode Island sculptor Armand LaMontagne.  According to an article that appeared in the July 28, 1985 edition of the Los Angeles TImes:

LaMontagne's life-like, life-size work of the Boston Red Sox slugger who was nicknamed "The Splendid Splinter" was unveiled Friday at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

LaMontagne caught Williams at the instant after he belted a fastball. He has completed his swing, torso twisted like a pretzel, neck muscles bulging with stress and tension.

Williams' head and eyes are frozen straight ahead, as if watching the ball far above the bullpens that border right-centerfield in Boston's Fenway Park.

At first glance, you'd swear this Ted Williams is wearing an official Red Sox uniform. But it's all carefully sculpted and painted wood, carved from a single 1,400-pound block of laminated basswood. Right down to the beltloops, buttons and the crimson No. 9 on the back.  


Seeing those sculptures alone is easily worth the price of admission. 

Fans, students and researchers may also want to spend some time at the A. Bartlett Giamatti Research Center, the library rededicated to the memory the former Commissioner of Baseball back in 1998.   There you will be able to peruse the vast collection of books, magazines, newspaper clippings, and archival material the Hall of Fame has assembled over the years.  As you might expect it is a virtual treasure trove of baseball related information.  And no trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame would be complete without a visit to the gift shop where you can find all kinds of interesting and unusual baseball merchandise.

While the National Baseball Fall of Fame and Museum is certainly the main attraction in Cooperstown there are lots of other things to do in the area as well.  Opera fans can visit the beautiful Glimmerglass Opera House which stages four productions each summer.  History buffs might enjoy checking out the James Fenimore Cooper House right down the street from the Hall of Fame.  If you enjoy American folk art then you simply must drop by the Fenimore Art Museum which is located in town as well.  There is also swimming and boating at nearby Glimmerglass State Park and lots of great restaurants and accomodations in the area as well.  So if you are a baseball fan who has been threatening to take that trip to Cooperstown I urge you to just do it.  You will not regret it.   Very highly recommended!
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November 10, 2010
As a one-time visitor to the baseball hall of fame I can concur with the statement that it is the equivalent of a religious experience. There is so much to see and as you look through it, fatigue is forgotten.
 
September 18, 2009
Cooperstown is fantastic and should be a required pilgrimage/rite-of-passage for every true baseball fan ... but wait until 2011 when MLB opens the new Pharmaceutical Wing, presented by CVS. Fantastic review!!
 
August 27, 2009
Thanks Paul for your great review. My son has been asking me to take him and it is amazing that I have driven close to it so many times (I live in NY) but have never visited. About 2 years ago my wife and sister-in-law attended a women's event in Springfield so while they were there I visited the Basketball Hall of Fame to kill some of the time. I was greatly disappointed but from your description the Baseball Hall sounds like a great visit.
 
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