I actually went on two tours, one Sunday evening and one Monday morning. The first was the one the players got. After flying into the Oneida County Airport Sunday evening, and busing an hour or so to Cooperstown, the tour didn’t begin until about 10:45 p.m. It was neat to be there. I hadn’t been there in more than 10 years. I won’t bother to tell you how many times I ate Sunday, either. But I was amply nourished, to say the least.
The first photo you’ll see is in the theater, in which tour-goers get to see a film about the game of baseball. Our Reds Hall of Fame compares favorably in terms of the "theater as ballpark" aspect. In both their museum and ours, a film gets things started for the visiting patrons. In this case, it’s a 12-minute film called "The Baseball Experience."
Before showing the players and coaching staff the film, the president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Dale Petrovsky as well as Chief Curator Ted Spencer, told the guys what a truly special place Cooperstown is. Petrovsky said that only the top one percent of players ever make it there, meaning roughly seven current-day players (give or take) will make it.
"This is your museum," Petrovsky told them. "Everyone of you has a file here. We’ll be happy to let you see it."
This will be the "Mother of all Blog Entries." I figured I’d overload you with photos. And I believe you can click on any and all of them to enlarge them for better viewing:
HOF President Dale Petrovsky and Chief Curator Ted Spencer introduce "The Baseball Experience" to Reds personnel.
Here?s a uniform worn by Hall of Famer Buck Ewing, who played for and managed the Reds in the late 19th century.
Rich Aurilia checks out a display featuring Honus Wagner.
GM Wayne Krivsky reading part of the section devoted to the Negro Leagues.
Aaron Harang getting pictures of the Branch Rickey display.
Chris Chambliss checking out some Yankee/Pirate history (I believe from the 1960 World Series).
Jerry Narron checks out the Big Red Machine display (note that Pete Rose is featured).
John Fay (aka "The Bank President") taking a look at the Hank Aaron display.
Reds third base coach Mark Berry grew up a Dodgers fan. These were "his guys" growing up.
Here?s the no-hitter display… with two featuring the Reds? Jim Maloney.
FDR on the cover of the 1937 All-Star Game program at Griffith Stadium in D.C.
Reds Special Assistant to the GM **** Williams checks out the Reds’ locker in "The Clubhouse" display, in which every club is represented. Among the items: a Jr. jersey and the helmet from HR #500.
JFK throwing out a first pitch.
"The Official Spokesman" Larry Herms, from the Reds media-relations staff, in front of plaques for Sparky Anderson, Tony Perez and Bid McPhee, all of whom were honored in the same year as Marty (2000).
Marty’s display in the broadcasters’ wing.
?Look, there he is!? (Steve points out Marty’s Ford C. Frick Award display.)
Here?s Hal McCoy’s display in the writers’ area of the museum.
This part of the private tour was the "basement." Stuff not currently on display (you must wear gloves). Displayed are Billy Hatcher?s 1990 World Series hat (seven consecutive hits), Kent Mercker’s Braves hat from his no-hitter, and Bucky Dent’s jersey and glove from that fateful playoff game versus Boston.
Scott Hatteberg holds the bat with which he hit into a triple play and hit a grand slam in the same game in 2001 while with Boston.
The Hall of Fame has every hall of famer sign a dozen (or dozens) of balls they keep forever.
The beautiful Otesaga Hotel. The hall of famers stay there, and so did we.
The view out the back of the Otesaga.
Another view of the Big Red Machine display.
Downtown Cooperstown was buzzing the morning of the game. No school on the day of the Hall of Fame game. Too bad the weather didn’t stay this good.
Balls from Griffey Sr. and Jr. homering in the same game.
Curator Tom Shieber showing around **** Willliams as well as Reds Chairman Joe Williams.
A Rose jersey in the Big Red Machine display.
A Rose history lesson below his jersey, mentioning he’s banned from baseball.
Martin Luther King Jr. with Jackie Robinson.
Brandon Claussen, Todd Coffey and Matt Belisle check out a pair of spikes once worn by Babe Ruth. (Courtesy Rob Butcher)
The case used to carry Robert Redford’s bat "Wonderboy" in the movie The Natural.
Apparently not everything Gehrig owned was "iron."
Another Reds first: Bench’s jersey from the game in which the Reds were the first to wear green St. Patty’s Day uniforms in Spring Training.
Me with The Babe (no, not that kind of babe).
Sunday night at Cooley’s Stone House Tavern. That’s John Fay, me, Rob Butcher, **** Williams, and "The Amazing" Larry Herms.
Eric Milton during his solid (albeit brief) appearance.
Adam Dunn in the home-run-hitting contest before the game at Doubleday Field.
No lights and no roof at Doubleday Field, but they do have a screen to protect those sitting behind the plate.
Doubleday Field. 10,000 people cram the tiny ballpark. Population of Cooperstown and the surrounding area is usually about 2,000.
. I hope you enjoy this blog entry. Thanks to Dann Stupp for his help posting this.