Cooperstown is more than just a small hamlet in New York. It is a microcosm of baseball. The majority of the year Cooperstown is quiet and off the beaten path. However, nearly every year in late July it swells to welcome thousands of baseball fans as they come to witness the National Baseball Hall of Fame welcome its newest members. The history of the game and the greatest players, managers, umpires, owners, and executives are chronicled and remembered inside the brick walls of the museum on Main Street.
Beyond the Hall of Fame, Cooperstown reminds us with each induction ceremony that it is a reflection of baseball and all who love the game. The majority of the year Cooperstown does not hold the attention of baseball fans. It is in much the same way that the local baseball fields do not hold the attention of fans, yet this is where we all begin. The majority of us are unknown to the rest of the baseball world. We may have some talent to play and/ or understand the game. Ultimately though, the overwhelming majority of us will never make it beyond these local fields.
There is that small slice of the calendar and population which can reflect Cooperstown in late July. The best of the best are honored before the entire baseball world. The select few get their day in the sun in a small town in New York, one weekend a year. This coming weekend the Hall of Fame will both honor and welcome Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa, and Joe Torre. These men are among the greatest players and managers the game has ever seen. Hall of Fame weekend is the mirror which shows everyone that Cooperstown is baseball is Cooperstown. The many unknowns come to a small town, much like the towns and fields they are from, to watch and honor the elite on the biggest stage in baseball. Hall of Fame weekend is upon us. It is time to enjoy our shared love of the game and the people who have done so much in and for the game. Get out the tissues, if this year’s speeches are anything like the induction speeches of the past you are going to need them.