New Hall of Fame Awards Presentation Highlights Induction Eve in Cooperstown
Class of 2011 to Be Enshrined Sunday at Baseball Hall of Fame
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Their moment in the sun in Cooperstown came a day earlier than usual.
But for Bill Conlin, Roland Hemond and Dave Van Horne, the moment couldn't arrive soon enough. And when it did, emotions and memories flooded historic Doubleday Field during the inaugural Hall of Fame Awards Presentation on Saturday.
In front of more than four dozen Hall of Famers – including Class of 2011 members Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven and Pat Gillick – the Awards Presentation was a smash hit for thousands of fans in the brilliant evening sunshine in Cooperstown's grand old ballpark. The event got under way with a touching performance of "Talkin' Baseball (Willie, Mickey and The Duke)" by singer/songwriter Terry Cashman, whose legendary tune was celebrated on its 30th anniversary.
Conlin, the quick-witted veteran newspaper writer from the Philadelphia Daily News, was then presented with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing. Dave Van Horne, the longtime Expos and Marlins broadcaster, followed Conlin to the stage to accept the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting.
Veteran baseball executive Roland Hemond then accepted the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award, dissolving to tears several times during an emotional speech.
"One of my big sayings in life is 'Enjoy the moment,'" Hemond said. "Well, I'm enjoying this one, guys."
The line brought a round of applause from the Hall of Famers on stage and an appreciative crowd who had filled the streets of Cooperstown just hours earlier.
With 51 Hall of Famers in Cooperstown to help celebrate the induction of the Class of 2011 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, fans had plenty of chances to touch a little bit of history on Saturday at the home of baseball.
Some of Saturday's highlights included:
**More than two dozen Hall of Famers and other baseball luminaries teed off at the Hall of Fame Invitational at picturesque Leatherstocking Golf Course. Sandy Alomar Sr.'s team captured first place.
**Class of 2011 electees Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven and Pat Gillick met the media one last time before Sunday's Induction Ceremony. At Saturday's Awards Presentation, Frick Award winner Dave Van Horne, Spink Award winner Bill Conlin and Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award winner Roland Hemond reflected on a lifetime of supporters who brought them to this moment in front of an estimated crowd of 3,000 fans at Doubleday Field.
**Doubleday Field played host to the new Hall of Fame Spotlight Series as thousands of fans heard tales from the game from Hall of Famers Orlando Cepeda, Tony Gwynn, Tommy Lasorda, Paul Molitor, Gaylord Perry, Tom Seaver, Don Sutton and Earl Weaver.
**Fans stood 10-deep along Main Street to get a glimpse of their Hall of Fame heroes during the Parade of Legends. The returning Hall of Famers rode down Main Street in pickup trucks provided by Ford Motor Company.
**Thousands of fans visited the Museum on Saturday, taking advantage of extended Hall of Fame Weekend hours. The Museum is open Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., with participants in the Hall of Fame's Membership Program able to enter the Museum at 7 a.m.
The Class of 2011 – Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven and Pat Gillick – will be inducted at 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown. The Induction Ceremony is free and open to the public and will be shown live on MLB Network.
The Museum maintains the following Hall of Fame Weekend hours: Sunday, July 24: 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Monday, July 25: 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Advance tickets are not necessary but are available by contacting the Hall of Fame at 888-425-5633. For Hall of Fame Members, doors open at 7 a.m. on Sunday and 8 a.m. on Monday. As always, Hall of Fame Members receive free admission. A special Members' only entrance eliminates the need to wait in line. Interested parties may enroll in the membership program in advance or at the Museum.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is open seven days a week year round, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. The Museum observes summer hours of 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. from Memorial Day Weekend until the day before Labor Day. From Labor Day until Memorial Day Weekend, the Museum observes daily regular hours of 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Ticket prices are $19.50 for adults (13 and over), $12 for seniors (65 and over) and for those holding current memberships in the VFW, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion and AMVets organizations, and $7 for juniors (ages 7-12). Members are always admitted free of charge and there is no charge for children 6 years of age or younger. For more information, visit our Web site at baseballhall.org or call 888-HALL-OF-FAME (888-425-5633) or 607-547-7200.