Today we made our way from the bustling metropolis that is New York City to the sleepy village, yes I said village, of Cooperstown, NY, home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Coming to Cooperstown was the seed that germinated for the cross-country odyssey that we are undertaking now. As far as getting to Cooperstown, all I can say is that you have to want it. It is in the back rural country in the middle of New York state. There are no interstates that come by town, and when you get there, there is only two hour parking everywhere, so we had to move the car in order to take everything in without getting a ticket.
There was a lot of baseball history, it was a way of recreating some of the most memorable moments in baseball history and in a weird way, gives you a connection to the baseball legends whose stories still circle around baseball today. Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Cy Young Connie Mack, Casey Stengel are all still alive and well within the hallowed halls of the Hall of Fame. It was also good to see that Negro league players such as Josh Gibson, James “Cool Papa” Bell, and Buck O’Neil were enshrined in the hall, having played their entire careers in the negro leagues. FYI, Josh Gibson was quite possibly the greatest hitter to ever play the game of baseball. All in all, the Hall of Fame was a real treat to see. I took quite a few pictures of bronze plagues for players that I have enjoyed watching play or listening to stories about. I also hope to be coming back next year to celebrate the induction of Craig Biggio, and witness the first Houston Astro to go in to the National Baseball Hall of Fame..
For those interested: The reason the Baseball Hall of Fame is in Cooperstown, New York is because of the work A.G. Spalding (of Spalding sporting goods) did to try and prove that baseball was a pure American game. In his “research”, he found someone named Abner Graves who claimed to have been taught to play baseball by Abner Doubleday in 1846 in Cooperstown, NY. Abner Doubleday went on to gain some notoriety in the Civil War for the Union forces and has a monument at Gettysburg, which we found on our trip. Having a Civil War hero create the game before the civil war was a great motivator for Spalding to claim that baseball had been invented by Doubleday. The story of Abner Doubleday creating baseball is accepted as being a myth and not fact. The fact is that baseball evolved with the country. It is derived from a game called rounders and the first known mention of “base ball” was in 1792. The game evolved in to a game called town ball or country ball or any number of variations. In 1845 the New York Knickerbockers baseball club was formed and they set down a set of rules for the game that, most, are still in use today in major league baseball. Alexander Joy Cartwright, is really the Father of the modern game.