Induction Eve Thrills Fans, Hall of Famers in Cooperstown
Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza to Be Inducted Sunday at National Baseball Hall of Fame
Mike Schmidt looked out onto the first fairway at the Leatherstocking Golf Course and saw Otsego Lake shimmering in the distance.
For the 1995 Hall of Fame inductee, no vision could be more perfect.
“I think of Cooperstown like a toy train village,” said Schmidt, one of 48 returning Hall of Famers in town to welcome Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza to the Hall of Fame. “It's so beautiful. It's almost not real.”
But reality on Saturday in Cooperstown was a near perfect summer day on the eve of the induction of the Class of 2016. Schmidt and his fellow Hall of Famers played golf in the morning, then enjoyed the Awards Presentation and the Parade of Legends before attending a private evening reception at the Hall of Fame.
At the annual Awards Presentation at Doubleday Field, Dan Shaughnessy was presented with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for writers and Graham McNamee was posthumously honored with the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcast excellence. New York City Battalion Fire Chief Vin Mavaro spoke about the healing powers of baseball, describing the moment when he found a souvenir ball in the rubble of the World Trade Center following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
“Writing about baseball,” Shaughnessy said, “is the most fun you can have in the world of journalism.”
A broadcast of the Awards Presentation will be shown at 11 a.m. on Sunday on MLB Network.
Fans packed Main Street throughout the day, with more than 7,200 entering the Museum to walk on baseball’s holy ground. Cooperstown became a sea of Mariners teal and Mets blue as fans celebrated the game’s two newest Hall of Famers.
The highlight of Induction Weekend will come at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday when Griffey Jr. and Piazza take the Induction Stage at the Clark Sports Center.
Some of Saturday’s additional highlights included:
**Saturday’s Museum attendance was fueled by a line at the door that stretched down Main Street for most of the day. 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 annual Hall of Fame Weekend Golf Tournament at the Leatherstocking Golf Course was won by the team led by Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson and featuring big league umpire Bruce Froemming, Eddie Ford and six-time MLB All-Star Rusty Staub. Jackson’s team shot a 127, winning a tiebreaker against a team led by Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith.
**Fans jammed Main Street in record numbers to get a glimpse of their Hall of Fame heroes during the seventh annual Parade of Legends, some lining up for spots along the parade route 12 hours before the event. The returning Hall of Famers rode down Main Street in pickup trucks provided by Ford Motor Company.
**Ozzie Smith was named to the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors, as the Board also announced changes to the Eras Committee voting on managers, executives, umpires and long-retired players along with changes to the Frick Award voting procedure. More information is available at www.baseballhall.org/news/hall-of-fame-announcements.
The Class of 2016 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 and broadcast nationally on Sirius/XM. A webcast will be shown at www.baseballhall.org. The Induction Ceremony is expected to last about two hours.
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