Visiting Baseball Immortals


Picture taken by Craig Borden at Double Day Field, Cooperstown, NY

For my brothers birthday my Mother came up with the great idea of getting the family together to meet up in Cooperstown, NY to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame.  It has been years since we had been to baseballs sacred grounds.  I remember being a young sprout and just being dumbfounded by all the amazing baseball relics that surrounded me.

So we loaded up the family truckster and hit the road for a weekend of fun and baseball.  Of course with it being 3 Yankee fans vs. 3 Blue Jays fans we had many heated discussions.  My brother, his fiancee, and my Mom making Yankee sided comments toward my Dad, girlfriend, and myself is always amusing when the division is currently up in the air from top to bottom.

We kicked off our weekend at the Ommegang brewery just outside of town and sampled its riches.  I would highly recommend a stop here for a beer if you are in town.  The Three Eyed Raven beer is amazing!  We then parked at Double Day field in the village and began to wander around the town (Pictured above)  we proceeded to visit all the baseball shops and places like the Cooperstown Bat Company in town.  Drooled at all the baseball memorabilia that I can’t afford which included an autographed Roberto Alomar Jays jersey.  After loading my lovely girl friend up with all new Jays gear it was time to retreat for dinner and sleep to visit the Hall the next day.

Picture taken by Craig Borden at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY

After a moderate sleep, well as good of a sleep that you can get after visiting a brewery anyways, it was now time to wander to the Hall of Fame.  Just like when I was a kid I was in awe of how much stuff there was to look at.  First we walked through a locker room area that showed items from every teams recent history.  The Jays locker had the 500th career homerun jersey that Frank Thomas wore, Charlie O’Brien’s original hockey style catching mask, and a hat worn by Yan Gomes that he wore for his debut as the first Brazilian born player in the Majors. (Pictured above)

Going through the different era’s of baseball after seeing recent history was like taking a ride in Doc Brown’s Delorean and punching it to 88 MPH.  The walk takes you from 1800’s baseball clubs for individual towns all the way to the modern era.  Stops included a large Babe Ruth exhibit where I learned that the King of Crash had actually been suspended multiple times for barn storming.  Totally unaware that the Sultan of Swat had been suspended for basically playing on other teams and making side money on baseball outside of the MLB.  There was a stop about the Woman’s baseball league which was depicted in the movie League of Their Own.  After that you move into the Yankee Dynasty along with showing off such greats as Stan Musial, Ted Williams, The Big Red Machine, and so on.

Picture taken by Craig Borden at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY

Finally we get get to the late 80’s – early 90’s where the Jays rule.  Seeing Jays artifacts from Hall of Famer Pat Gillick’s era with the Jays was truly amazing.  Seeing a jersey worn by my favorite player Roberto Alomar right next to a bat from Paul Molitor and John Olerud‘s helmet just brought back memories of WAMCO.  For those of you not familiar with the term WAMCO it refers to the stellar top of the Jays order in the Championship years which included Devon White, Roberto Alomar, Paul Molitor, Joe Carter, and John Olerud.

The area also showed off the Jeter Dynasty and what would become known as the steroid era in baseball.  Mixed in was a spot exhibits on Derek Jeter, Ichiro, and the great Cal Ripken.  I have always been a big Ripken fan and loved re-living those memories of his career.  In the Ripken relics were his ’91 All-Star game jersey in which he won the homerun derby in that year and the helmet he wore the night he broke Lou Gehrig’s record.  I remember staying up late watching that game even though my parents thought I was sleeping.  That home run he hit on that night is still etched into my brain.

Picture taken by Craig Borden at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY

Just down the hall was the World Series area.  They had a case with every World Series ring in it.  Of course I was drawn right to the ’92, ’93 rings for obvious reasons.  The ’93 ring be particularly cool because the face looked like a copy of the ’92 ring in the background but had another Jays logo on top of it to signify the back to back Series wins.  Just sitting there drooling over all the World Series rings and then right next to it was the trophy for the ’96 Yankee’s.  The rest of the world series exhibit was amazing but it I didn’t see much Jays stuff.  Then I walked around the corner and there it was.  The Joe Carter bat that changed our world.  I instantly pulled my phone out and sent a picture to my friend that is a die hard Philly fan.  Touch them all Joe!

Picture taken by Craig Borden at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY

The upstairs area was a fun walk through the fan experience.  This area was awesome and showed all sorts of old stadium pictures along with things more modern.  Everything was dedicated to what we see in a ball park as fans.  They even made the area smell like hot dogs and pop corn.  Seemed like all I was missing was a beer and I could have sat there and watched the days games.  The area also was littered with trivia questions that of course my dad and I aced everyone else at.  Below is a nice picture of my girl and I being interrupted by the iconic Philly Phanatic.

Finally we get to the Hall of Fame immortals.  Wandering through the plaque room is jaw dropping.  I did read a lot of the older plaques like Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial but was drawn to the players I grew up watching.  Seeing Mr. Padre Tony Gwynn‘s and Kirby Puckett‘s plaques got to me some knowing they are not around anymore and always seemed like the coolest guys as I watched them as a kid.  Seeing my brothers childhood favorite Frank “The Big Hurt” Thomas was cool.  Then finding our World Series MVP Paul Molitor ignited memories of his tirade on Philly pitching.  I finally found the plaque I was looking for and Roberto Alomar.  He was hung high for a short person like me to find.  It was good to see a plaque with a Jays hat on it finally.

After raiding the gift shop it was finally time to hop back in the car and go home.  It was an amazing weekend and if you have never had the opportunity to visit the little town of Cooperstown, NY I would highly recommend it.  The town has so much to offer to baseball nuts and normal people.  Find a way to visit and I promise you will have a fun time.  My next visit will be as soon as Roy “Doc” Halladay joins the hall.  There is no reason the Doc should not be enshrined with baseball immortals after dominating his era of baseball history.  I will be on the lawn on induction day for Doc in a few years as another Jays hat is worn into the plaque room.

Visit the Hall of Fame –

Next: Phil Coke is up

Picture taken by Craig Borden at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY