With tens of thousands of loving fans before them and a national television audience witnessing the emotional event, the National Baseball Hall of Fame welcomed six new members to the club on Sunday.
For the biggest names in the history of the game, a visit to Cooperstown remains a dream come true. And Saturday of Induction Weekend means the stars are out at the home of baseball – and the soon-to-be inductees are preparing for their moment in the sun.
“This is my favorite place in baseball,” longtime baseball executive John Schuerholz volunteered early Saturday morning. “I’ve been in baseball 48 years and when I come here it’s a thrill for me. To be here at this place, the Valhalla, if you will, of our game. This is where everybody aspires to be.”
For longtime shortstop Ozzie Smith, returning to the Cooperstown for his annual mid-summer sojourn is more than an opportunity to catch up with his fellow members of the national pastime’s most exclusive fraternity. It’s also a chance to give back.
Two longtime American institutions – NBC’s Today show, which began in 1952, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum – highlighted an exciting start to the national pastime’s famed Induction Weekend in Cooperstown on Thursday.
“Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”
On July 4, 1939, Lou Gehrig uttered those words as part of his “Luckiest Man” speech at Yankee Stadium. Just two weeks before, on June 19, Gehrig had been dealt a devastating blow when he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
“I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for,” Gehrig said at the end of his speech.
Pat O’Conner brought with him three decades of professional baseball experience with him when he recently spoke to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s 2014 Class of Frank and Peggy Steele interns. And in 30 more years, he expects many of those interns to be enjoying a life in professional baseball – just as he has.
On the back cover of the recently-published book, Mookie: Life, Baseball, and the ’86 Mets, former pitcher Ron Darling writes, “One of my favorite teammates – a class act, an even better person than the great ballplayer he was. Mookie was the moral rudder wherever he went.”
A day after the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum celebrated its 75th birthday, the Cooperstown institution reached into the game’s past for a new exhibit of one of the game’s all-time greats while embracing new technology in order to share the history of the sport with the world.
Seventy-five years to the day after a beloved Cooperstown institution devoted to the National Pastime officially opened its doors for the first time and held its first-ever induction ceremony, Cooperstown celebrated again.