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  • Writer's pictureLeigh Gerstenberger

Hall of Fame

Even though I’m a fair-weathered sports fan, I’ll never forget my first visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame Museum in Cooperstown, NY.

In the early 90s our family traveled to Vermont for a summer vacation. After stopping in Niagara Falls the first night, our route took us through upstate New York on I-90 just north of Cooperstown. Since this was before GPS, our children spent much of the ride looking at the map in our Rand-McNally Road Atlas. Shortly after passing Utica, NY, our son, who couldn’t have been more than 10 years old at the time, announced that we weren’t far from Cooperstown, NY and asked if we could “pleeeze” stop and visit the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Little did he know that I had already made reservations for the evening but had decided not to tell him beforehand, wanting to make our visit a surprise. And surprised he was!

If you’ve never been to Cooperstown, I strongly encourage you to visit. The town itself, is a village that revolves around “all things” baseball. Whether you’re a fan or not, I know you’ll be captivated by the memories the “Hall” will evoke in your mind…some of which may catch you by surprise as it did me.

This experience occurred while watching the film in the Hall’s Grandstand Theater. The movie begins in darkness. The only sound that can be heard is the thumping of a ball hitting a mitt followed by voices of a father and son playing catch. Over the duration of the brief film, other visions presented are of little league games, followed by high school, college, minor and eventually major league games. At the culmination of the film the viewer finds themselves in a packed, stadium watching the World Series. And then there’s a “dissolve to black” followed by silence, after which all that can be heard is the sound of a ball striking a mitt and a father and son playing catch.

The highlight of my visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame was the memories that film stirred in my mind of my father and I playing catch in our backyard with an old, beat-up mitt and a tattered ball as he introduced me to the game of baseball in the late 1950s.

After returning from our trip, I happened to be sharing my Hall of Fame experience with a friend. As I described the film and the memories it brought to mind his only comment was, “I’ve never been to the Baseball Hall of Fame, but I’ve been to the Football Hall of Fame, and I felt like I was going to church!”

If it’s not already there, I encourage you to put a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame on your “bucket list”…you’ll be glad you did.

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