Family fun

Parents share timeless game of catch with kids on Doubleday Field as part of Hall of Fame Classic Weekend

June 19, 2010
Anthony (left) and Ashton (middle) Zullo play catch with their dad Robert (right) during Hall of Fame Classic Weekend. (Carter Kegelman/Baseball Hall of Fame)

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – During last year’s Hall of Fame Classic Weekend, Robert Zullo and his son Anthony enjoyed running on Doubleday Field and playing a game of catch.

This year, they couldn’t wait to come back to share another Father’s Day in Cooperstown.

Anthony brought his older sister Ashton to join in on the fun at Family Catch on Saturday – the day before the second-annual Hall of Fame Classic. Robert Zullo, a participant in the Hall of Fame’s Membership Program from Stuyvesant Falls, N.Y., comes to Cooperstown every year.

“It’s fun,” said six-year-old Anthony, an Alex Rodriguez fan.

Seven Hall of Famers and more than 20 former major leaguers highlight the rosters for Sunday’s Hall of Fame Classic, co-organized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association. Ford Motor Company will be the Presenting Sponsor of the Baseball Hall of Fame Classic.

The Zullo family is looking forward to see Goose Gossage in the Classic on Sunday, but they are taking advantage of a number of events during their visit.

“We are doing Family Catch, the (Youth) Skills Clinic, the Voices of the Game and the Classic,” said Zullo.

The Voices of the Game Program will feature seven Hall of Famers sharing memories and participating in a question-and-answer session with the audience at 7 p.m. tonight. Sunday kicks off with the Cooperstown Game Day Parade, beginning at noon on Main Street, where the game participants will ride into Doubleday Field. The Legends Hitting Contest will begin at 1 p.m. followed by the Hall of Fame Classic at 2 p.m.

Limited tickets for the Classic are available on gameday at Doubleday Field.

The Becker family took a slightly different route to get to Cooperstown. Michael Becker and his son Michael Jr. came from Philadelphia, Pa., to an Extra Innings Overnight in March at the Museum and had a great experience with a sleepover in the Plaque Gallery.

“The next day we heard people talking about the legends game and tickets were going on sale,” said Becker. “We would never have known about it, but I stood in line, bought tickets and then called my wife and told her we were going to the game.”

Father and son were joined by Michael’s wife Rosemary and their other child Josie for Classic Weekend, dressed in their favorite Phillies gear.

All four took the field to participate in family catch, where Michael Jr. got to show off his skills. His Little League team just finished an undefeated season.

“And we won the All-Star Game!” he said.

The Beckers will also be participating in the Legends for Youth Skills Clinic and are excited to see a number of players on Father’s Day at the Hall of Fame Classic, including Paul Blair, Harmon Killebrew and Ozzie Smith.

“I am hoping to see a couple home runs,” said Michael Jr.

Samantha Carr is the manager of web and digital media for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum