Monday, June 30, 2008

Day 23 - Hall of Fame Material

June 29 - I remember looking at a Google map to find our hotel in Oneida, NY and noticing just how close we would be to Cooperstown, NY, the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. We'll go there, I thought, and we did--my first visit in more than 40 years. Sac said the 60 mile trip on back roads would take almost two hours--I finished it in less than 1-1/2 hours while still observing all posted speed limits.

While the girls got ready, Kay and I drove to Chittenango to eat breakfast with my Uncle Ed and Aunt Jessie and to see their house. I've been critical of Sac on occasion, but she bailed us out on this trip. I didn't listen too well to Jessie's directions and drove past The Hamlet to another intersection. There I drove in all five directions until Kay tried to find it in Sac's database - lo and behold it was there and she directed us to it just before I was ready to go back to Oneida.

Cooperstown is an uber-quaint town on the tip of Lake Otsego. The National Baseball Hall of Fame opened there in 1939 as part of baseball's centennial celebration--the myth is that General Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown in 1839. Interestingly, the museum's displays start with the Doubleday invention story and just a room later refer to it as a myth.

Kay and the girls spent about 45 minutes in the baseball museum; I wrapped up my visit in just under four hours. Highlights included information about Jackie Robinson, a railroad-tielike piece of lumber that Honus Wagner used for a bat, a Philly Phanatic exhibit, tickets from the last game ever played in Veterans Stadium, and Richie Ashburn's Hall of Fame plaque. I waited through 80 years of video about the almost every World Series ever played (which took about 10 minutes) to see the Phillies' win over the Royals in 1980. Toward the end of the day I played "So You Think You Know Baseball", the museum's version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, but without the prize money. My 10-year-old partner and I got six questions right, but got tripped up on naming the first pitcher to be named MVP of a League Championship Series. We polled the audience, who chose Dave Stewart. The correct answer was Burt Hooton, which I should have known, given that his Dodgers beat the Phillies in the 1978 NLCS. But enough about baseball.

The girls enjoyed their visit to the Fenimore Art Museum, and especially to a sidewalk book sale at the Cooperstown Public Library. When we got back together we sought and found a lakeside dinner at the Blue Mingo Grill. The Top Chef-like food was delicious, albeit a little expensive, and the view across Lake Otsego was beautiful. Kallie drove the first half of the trip back to Oneida. My finishing leg encountered the first serious storm we've seen--about 20 minutes of fairly heavy rain that stopped just before we got out of the car.

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