Main Street in Cooperstown becomes Boulevard of Baseball Dreams for Hall of Fame Weekend Saturday
Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martínez and John Smoltz to Be Inducted Sunday at National Baseball Hall of Fame
(COOPERSTOWN, N.Y.) – The line of fans heading into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum on Saturday seemed to get longer with each passing hour, but no one seemed to mind.
During baseball’s best weekend, everyone was smiling in Cooperstown – and preparing for the induction of the historic Class of 2015.
Nearly 6,000 fans entered the Museum on Saturday as Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martínez and John Smoltz met the media and prepared for the moment of a lifetime at Sunday’s 1:30 p.m. Induction Ceremony.
“This has been great from the first moment we were announced,” said Martínez, who drew a rock-star ovation at Saturday’s Parade of Legends on Main Street. “These are four guys that respect, admire and look after each other to learn something from each other.”
Saturday began with the annual Hall of Fame Weekend Golf Tournament at Cooperstown’s breathtaking Leatherstocking Golf Course. Smoltz’s team, which included former Braves teammate Greg Olson, carded a 120 to win the title, beating the runner-up team featuring Greg Maddux, Phil Niekro and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred by six strokes. Randy Johnson’s team finished third with a 127.
“You sit down at a table to have breakfast and you have three Hall of Famers sit down next to you,” said Manfred, who is experiencing his first Hall of Fame weekend as Commissioner. “It is like a little boy’s dream. It’s about as good as it gets.”
By midday, Cooperstown’s historic Main Street was a sea of baseball color – featuring plenty of Astros orange, Red Sox and Diamondbacks red and Braves red-and-blue as village officials closed the thoroughfare to all but pedestrian traffic.
The afternoon featured the annual Awards Presentation, where Dick Enberg was presented with the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcast excellence and Tom Gage was presented with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for writers. Former Reds, Cardinals and Senators outfielder Curt Flood was honored for his pioneering efforts in free agency – with Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark giving a stirring speech on Flood’s behalf – while Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus led a tribute to the ballplayers who served during World War II while announcing a new addition to the Navy’s fleet: The USS Cooperstown.
A packed Doubleday Field played host to the Awards Presentation as the returning Hall of Famers saluted the award winners from the stage.
A broadcast of the Awards Presentation will be shown at 11 a.m. on Sunday on MLB Network.
Some of Saturday’s additional highlights included:
**Saturday’s Museum attendance of nearly 6,000 fans was fueled by a line at the door that had not abated by closing time. 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.
**Fans jammed Main Street in record numbers to get a glimpse of their Hall of Fame heroes during the sixth annual Parade of Legends. The returning Hall of Famers rode down Main Street in pickup trucks provided by Ford Motor Company.
The Class of 2015 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 (Sirius 209 and XM 89). A webcast will be shown at www.baseballhall.org. Sunday’s rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner will be provided by Janette Marquez, a native of the Dominican Republic and a mezzosoprano opera singer. The Induction Ceremony is expected to last about 2-and-one-half-hours.
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