Cooperstown and the National Baseball Hall of Fame might as well be interchangeable.
Pro football has Canton, Ohio. Basketball has Springfield, Massachusetts. Baseball has Cooperstown, New York.
There’s more to Cooperstown — a village founded by William Cooper, the father of famed “Last of the Mohicans” author, James Fenimore Cooper — than the three-story Hall. But not much.
What makes Cooperstown is that museum housing the legacies of the Great Bambino, Teddy Ballgame, The Flying Dutchman and, this year, Junior. It has about 40,000 three-dimensional items, 3 million books and documents, 500,000 photographs and the bronze plaques immortalizing all the greats, which will include Ken Griffey Jr. — even if his cap will face forward.
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Here’s a look at the top hits on the Hall of Fame’s induction schedule this weekend — other than touring the Hall itself — as well as some of the other lesser-known Cooperstown hotspots.
HALL OF FAME WEEKEND
▪ Ump’s Eye View Sports Talk — Q&A talk with Al Clark, who was a former major league umpire of 26 years. He officiated at Nolan Ryan’s 300th win, Cal Ripken Jr.’s record-breaking streak of consecutive games played and the “earthquake” World Series between Oakland and San Francisco in 1989.
▪ Hall of Fame Awards Presentation — Two awards will be presented: Radio pioneer Graham McNamee will receive the Ford C. Frick Award for baseball broadcasting excellence, and Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy will be honored with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing.
New York City Fire Department Battalion Chief Vin Mavaro will share his thoughts afterward on baseball’s role in helping New York City and the nation recover after the 9/11 attacks.
When: 4:30 p.m. Saturday
▪ Parade of Legends — The 2016 Hall of Fame class members, Griffey and Mike Piazza, ride in trucks through downtown Cooperstown from Doubleday Field, down Main Street and ending at a private reception at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Now in its seventh year, the parade also includes previous Hall of Fame inductees, with more than 50 scheduled to be in attendance.
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
▪ Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony — Griffey and Piazza give their speeches and will officially be inducted into the Hall during a three-hour ceremony at the Clark Sports Center.
When: 1:30 p.m. Sunday
▪ Legends of the Game Roundtable — An opportunity to meet and converse with Griffey and Piazza at Doubleday Field. Event is for members only and are $10 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under.
When: 10:30 a.m. Monday
VILLAGE OF MUSEUMS
An unfounded claim continues to survive that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown. If you could care less about discussing the myth, Cooperstown possesses a few non-baseball museums:
▪ Farmers’ Museum — About what you’d expect with farming exhibits, a working farmstead, a historic village and more that recreates rural life from the 19th century. Considered the second-most famous museum in the village behind the one about baseball.
▪ Fenimore Art Museum — Home to the Fenimore House, the museum features extensive galleries of fine folk and Native American art along with a separate library building.