It was interesting to walk through the many exhibit halls of the Hall of Fame & Museum. The walls are adorned with the photos of many players who, over the years, have been elected to join the select company displayed here.
In my younger days, I followed baseball (and hockey) much more than I now do. Because of the relative isolated position of the Maritimes Provinces of Canada from the remainder of the country, Boston has been the major league city of choice for many Maritimers, me included. I religiously followed the fortunes of the Bruins (hockey) and Red Sox (baseball). As far as baseball is concerned, my favourite player was Carl Yastrzemski (an evenutal Hall of Famer) who replaced Ted Williams on the team.
Ted (before my time!) was the last player in the major leagues to bat over .400 for the season, in 1941. He was a standout in many aspects of the game, and further endeared himself to Maritimers by enjoying his Atlantic Salmon fishing trips to New Brunswick. This life-sized statue of Ted was carved from laminated Balsa wood by Armand LaMontagne. I was amazed by it's details, even showing the veins on his hands and the ripples in his baseball clothing!
These days, I have lost interest in professional sports due to the outrageous salaries that are paid to the players and the high cost of tickets for the average fan. The only sporting events that I now truely enjoy are international affairs such as the Olympics or the World Cups of Football (Soccer), Rugby or Hockey!
Finished in 1909, the 139-room Otesaga Resort was built to allow the elite tourist crowd access to the pristine wildness of upstate New York. Located beside the beautiful Lake Otesago (sometimes also called 'Glimmerglass' Lake) in quiet Cooperstown, this is an amazing old structure that owes it's existance to the very wealthy Clark family who settled in Cooperstown (see my Accommodations tips for more details).
It's hallways are lined with photos showing the developement of the town over the years and it's rooms and facilities are first-class. Only recently, the hotel spent US$40 million on renovations, and it shows!
This view shows the rear balcony where patrons can relax with a great view out over Lake Otesago. 'Otesaga' is an appropriate name for the resort because it is an Indian word meaning 'a place to meet'.
Despite it's elegant appearance, many of its attractions are open to the public and at relatively modest prices.
Another Cooperstown attraction which owes it's origins to the Clark family is the Farmer's Museum.
Located almost directly across Highway 80 from the Fenimore Art Museum, the Farmer's Market depicts life on an 1845 era farm.
This site was actually a working farm in 1813 under the ownership of James Fenimore Cooper. It eventually ended up in the hands of the wealthy Clark family in the 1870s. In 1918, the farm was modernized to look after the needs of the family cattle herd with the buildings being constructed using local stone in the Colonial Revival-style.
By 1944, the entire complex was opened to the public as the Farmer's Museum and today it includes other buildings moved in from other parts of the state to reflect what life would have been like on an area farm of the mid-1800s. Staff at the Museum provide a living history of a by-gone life by demonstrating the skills of blacksmiths, a working general store and a wall-paper production shop among other things.
Cooperstown is probably best-known for being the home of 'America's sport' - baseball. Located in a prominant position on Main Street is the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum, established here in 1939 by the influential Clark family (whose fortune derived from the success of the Singer Sewing Machine Company).
The Clark's had a long association with Cooperstown and were seeking to establish new tourist attractions to overcome the effects that both the Great Depression and Prohibition had had on the local economy.
The Museum is quite a building, and was undergoing further renovations when I was there. Each of it's three floors has different tributes to the game and you can also watch a movie that outlines various aspects of the game.
I had some free time when I arrived in Cooperstown, so I decided that now would be a great chance to finally see this place! Entry for a single adult was US$8.55 and you are free to wander around at your leisure.
I ended up taking a photo of the back-side of the building because the front was cluttered with temporary wooden structures as a result of the renovations.
The Smithy is the oldest building in Cooperstown. It was built by Judge William Cooper in 1786 to serve as a blacksmith shop or as a storage place for the infant settlement of Cooperstown. It was a blacksmith shop at least as early as 1806, and its forges, anvil stands, smoke-shadows of horseshoes and other features remain to be seen by the observant visitor. In 1927 its first floor was converted into an antique shop by Marguerite Standish Cockett and her companion Marjorie Jackson. Later the first floor became a pottery studio which has recently been revived, offering spring and fall classes for adults and children.
Unfortunately when we went in the summer/fall of 2003 they were doing extensive remodeling. We didn't get to see 1/4 of what was there. But they did offer us free tickets to come back and visit when it was all done!
Everyone was kind and courteous. What we did see was cool and interesting.
My baseball loving fiance loved every minute.
In the Baseball Hall of Fame there are a variety of exhibits. There are old baseball uniforms that was worn by some of the most famous players ever. There is so much information but they display it so that it is interesting, even to little kids.
This is one of the main reasons most people come to Cooperstown. This is where you can see, remember, and learn of the history of the game. So many great players in here. Almost seems sad that they are adding new players that I watched growing up as it just seems like they dont belong.
Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, Satchel Paige. Legends, all of them. It is great that while they may have been segregated from white ballplayers in the first half of the 20th century, they are enshrined at Cooperstown side by side. No question that these guys could flat out play the game.
Hammerin Hank Aaron was my favorite ballplayer growing up. He broke Babe Ruth's all-time homerun record when I was in third grade. Mr. Aaron has always seemed to present himself with great humility and dignity.
It's what Cooperstown is all about. And it's the perfect example of what America does best. I found baseball as baffling as Americans find cricket, but this museum brings the game and all its cultural trappings alive.
I think visitors get the most out of this museum if they are serious fans! I especially liked the nostalgia of the whole experience.
Fun day............parade, World Series players, Red Sox Team. Ummmmm....Johnny Damon. Hundreds of Fans. Great Excitment in the air.