Monday, July 23, 2012

My experience in Cooperstown along with tips for when you go too!

by: Sara Spurr
Staff Writer

Yesterday, Scott shared his Cooperstown experience, and now here’s mine. Barry Larkin has been all over the news lately so I won’t repeat what has already been written. Instead, I’ll focus on some Reds-specific things to look for in the Hall of Fame and Museum as well as some tips for partaking in an induction ceremony.

If you’re hunting for Reds artifacts and information in the Museum: Although I planned on simply taking it all in on my first visit, I did find myself seeking out specific Reds-related information and artifacts. I didn’t take notes, so please know that this from-memory list represents only a portion of what you can find in the Museum:

Sheet music (1869) dedicated to the “Ladies of Cincinnati”
Schedule of the Redstockings’ undefeated 1869 season
Mentions of the 1919 World Series and Black Sox Scandal
Notable Latin American Reds in “Viva Baseball!” exhibit
Marge Schott in “Diamond Dreams: Women in Baseball” exhibit
Big Red Machine display
Reds ashtray (yes, it’s there!)
Barry Larkin’s Olympic medal

Specific Reds players that are featured for their time with other clubs:
- Tony Perez, Frank Robinson, Pete Rose, Tom Seaver

In “One for the Books” you’ll find information and artifacts about many record-holding Reds players
Pete Rose may not have (or ever receive) his own plaque, but he can be found throughout the Museum:

- Big Red Machine exhibit
- Photos and information detailing his stint with the Phillies and their 1983 World Series appearance
- Various appearances in the records room
- You can also find the real Pete Rose doing signing/photograph sessions on occasion, specifically during Induction weekend around Cooperstown.

The view from my seat!
If you want to seek out plaques for Reds whom have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, you can look them up on the alphabetical or induction year lists at the front of the hall. The HoF website includes a search feature, but be aware that it sorts players by their “primary” team, so a search of Reds members does not yield a complete list of all members having spent any amount of time with the Reds; for example, it does not include Sparky Anderson as being “primarily” a Red.

Attending the Induction Ceremony: This annual event is the main attraction of the HoF Induction Weekend festivities. I planned my first visit to the Hall of Fame and Museum to coincide with the 2012 induction ceremony, providing a whole day of excitement. I’ve gathered some notes in case you plan on attending a future induction ceremony.

Cost: Free (separate from other events and admission to the Hall of Fame and Museum)

Location: Clark Sports Center, approximately one mile from the Hall of Fame and Museum
You’ll be in a big open field with a stage, video board and sound system.

Getting there: The HoF website recommends parking in a designated lot (free, 2012) and taking a trolley ($2 all-day, 2012) for service to/from the HoF and Clark Sports Center. Trolley service is suspended during the ceremony, however.

I was able to find street parking on a residential street in town and chose to walk. (There are sidewalks and traffic police the whole way.) As well as saving $2, I got some exercise.

What to take: This depends on your plans, are you arriving early to stake out the best spot for the ceremony? Or like me, are you planning to attend, but don’t necessarily need to make it a tailgating-esque affair? Because it is open seating, some people set up camp early and hang out at the site all day. I saw many groups with camp chairs, coolers, radios and more.

Knowing I would want to go to/from the HoF and the induction site, I packed a backpack with a ground blanket, sun block, rain jacket and umbrella, library book, snacks and sunglasses along with my personal essentials. I claimed my spot at the induction spot approximately an hour early, giving me time to eat my snack and read my library book. This was great, as I didn’t have to lug anything heavy or make extra trips to my car between visits to the HoF and induction site.

There is almost no shade at the induction site, so don’t forget sun block and water!

Refreshments and souvenirs: Students from the local high school were selling hot dogs and bottled drinks (cash only) but water available for free. A small selection of official HoF induction merchandise was available for sale (cash/credit). This same merchandise and more is available in the HoF shop (no admission to the HoF required) and currently, the HoF website.

What to expect: Although the emcee requested that attendees stay seated, there were many who didn’t comply. I didn’t have a great view, but wasn’t bothered because I could hear everything perfectly. If you’re worried about not getting a good view, you may want to take a chair and set up early.

Dress appropriately; you’re going to be outside…in a field…in the middle of July. It was hot and sunny and I was glad to be in shorts, a Reds t-shirt and athletic shoes.

Have fun! I can’t explain how it feels knowing that I’ve now seen Yogi Berra, among other greats, in person. The ceremony featured introductions of HoF members in attendance, overviews of the newest inductees’ careers and acceptance speeches from, or on behalf of the inductees.

There was definitely a shared feeling of awe, pride and respect in the crowd. I was alone but found myself talking to people from all over the country, simply because we were wearing Reds gear.
Want to go? In 2013, Induction Weekend will be held July 26-29, with the ceremony taking place on the 28th. The HoF website has already posted who is eligible in the upcoming years, including some noteworthy Reds: Sean Casey (2014), Aaron Boone (2015) and Ken Griffey Jr (2016). Who do you think will be the next inducted?

A big thanks to Sara for sharing her experience, tips and insight on baseball's greatest paradise. Be sure to give her a follow on Twitter @somegoodideas.

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