Ozzie Smith Hosts Hall of Fame Weekend Favorite PLAY Ball

(COOPERSTOWN, NY) – In the two decades since his Hall of Fame induction, Ozzie Smith has annually embraced the magic of Hall of Fame Weekend.

In marking the 20th anniversary of his Hall of Fame journey, the Wizard of Oz and his Hall of Fame friends will once again create memories for fans in Cooperstown.

Smith, the Education Ambassador for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, will host PLAY Ball with Ozzie Smith on Friday, July 22, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Cooperstown. Ozzie will welcome fellow Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Jim Thome – along with a Hall of Famer to be announced – as his guests during a fun-filled morning that gives fans a unique chance to experience on-field moments and stories with Hall of Famers.

Now in its 19th season, PLAY Ball is a Museum fundraiser that supports the Hall of Fame’s educational mission and internship scholarships. Participants in PLAY Ball each receive on-field round-robin interaction with the Hall of Famers, along with special mementos to commemorate their experience.

Call 607-547-0385 to secure your spot in the line-up today. This experience is an amazing opportunity to connect with Hall of Famers and create new memories that you will cherish for a lifetime.

The event will begin at 8 a.m. July 22 with an exclusive morning reception in the Hall of Fame Plaque Gallery with Ozzie and his Hall of Fame friends. Following the light breakfast in the iconic Plaque Gallery, PLAY Ball participants will receive a commemorative gift to be autographed by all Hall of Famers present before heading to historic Doubleday Field. There participants will receive non-stop interaction, featuring stories and instruction – along with photos – from some of the greatest players the game has known.

PLAY Ball is a Museum fundraiser that supports the Hall of Fame’s educational mission and the Ozzie Smith Diversity Scholarships for the Museum’s Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development. Since 2002, the program has raised more than $200,000 for the Museum’s initiatives.

Smith, known through his 19-year career as The Wizard of Oz, won a record 13 Gold Glove Awards at shortstop and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2002.

Ripken, elected to the Hall of Fame in 2007, played each of his 21 big league seasons with the Orioles, earning 19 All-Star Game selections, two American League Most Valuable Player Awards and a 1983 World Series ring. He played in 2,632 consecutive games, setting a record that may never be approached.

Thome, a five-time All-Star, hit 612 home runs – eighth on the all-time list – during 22 seasons with the Indians, Phillies, White Sox, Dodgers, Twins and Orioles. Elected to the Hall of Fame in 2018, Thome is one of only five players in big league history with at least 500 home runs, 1,500 runs scored, 1,600 RBI and 1,700 walks.

PLAY Ball is part of the July 22-25 Hall of Fame Weekend activities that will be highlighted by the July 24 Induction Ceremony when Bud Fowler, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Miñoso, Tony Oliva, Buck O’Neil and David Ortiz will be inducted as the Class of 2022.

A limited number of spaces for PLAY Ball remain, and a reservation is required. Event pricing is $750 for Members, $1,000 for non-Members. Reserve spots now by calling 607-547-0385. For more information on Membership, please click here.

The Museum maintains the following Hall of Fame Weekend hours: Friday, July 22: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, July 23: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, July 24: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Monday, July 25: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. As always, Hall of Fame Members receive free admission.