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Friday, May 26, 2023

Former MLB Stars In Upstate NY, Here’s How You Can Meet Them

More than two dozen former Major League Baseball stars are getting together to re-live the glory days sandlot-style.

The annual Hall of Fame Classic returns on Saturday, May 27, at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown featuring a representative of every MLB team. Managing the rosters are non-other than six Baseball Hall of Famers (see below).

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 26, 2023 at 02:38 PM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame

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   1. You can keep your massive haul Posted: May 26, 2023 at 02:52 PM (#6130244)
They have an 81 year old at DH?
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 26, 2023 at 03:23 PM (#6130250)
At first I thought that must be a typo and they meant Scott Spiezio, but no, he's the first baseman.

Not sure "legends game" is an accurate moniker for this particular one. Do people actually show up to watch Bryan Holaday don the mask one last time?
   3. Walt Davis Posted: May 26, 2023 at 05:09 PM (#6130264)
   4. You can keep your massive haul Posted: May 26, 2023 at 05:16 PM (#6130267)
I thought it was a typo because I had never heard of Ed Spiezio then saw Scott and looked up Ed on baseball reference.
   5. Howie Menckel Posted: May 26, 2023 at 06:41 PM (#6130277)
with those lineups, they could play the game in my backyard, and I wouldn't even bother to open the drapes.
   6. JimMusComp misses old primer... Posted: May 26, 2023 at 09:34 PM (#6130299)
Dozier was released this week. He’s likely paying for the post-game spread.

#5 is friggin hilarious. I snorted when I laughed.
   7. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: May 26, 2023 at 10:20 PM (#6130306)
Gotta agree with #2, "Hall of Fame Classic" is really loosely used here a definition for this game. Lavarnway is on the roster. He ended up here in Aus at one stage, that is a long way to fall from MLB.
   8. cardsfanboy Posted: May 26, 2023 at 10:50 PM (#6130309)
My feeling is that these guys agreed to play, thinking they would be the B rated players not the focus, with the assumption that some well respected players would show up and they would be filler. I can't imagine any of these guys thought they were the focus of this thing, just that they show up on the sidelines to cash in a few signatures while a guy like Rolen or Edmonds is showing up for the big name (and I grabbed a couple of Cardinals just because, but it could be Dale Murphy or someone even bigger--sadly a lot of the names who have been these guys have died very recently... and we need a new generation, yet the 70's guys are really not a fan of the spotlight so Schmidt and others just hide from it)
   9. Howie Menckel Posted: May 26, 2023 at 11:10 PM (#6130311)
#5 is friggin hilarious. I snorted when I laughed.

now I have to credit the originator.

in the 1990s, Curtis G. Bunn was an NBA writer for the NY Daily News.

probably this is from 1994.

because the Knicks hadn't been to the NBA Finals in a generation, many of the area writers never took a day off from Knicks beating Nets in 4 (on a Friday, next round started on Sunday), into a Knicks in 7 and another Knicks in 7 and ultimately another 7 game series - Rockets in 7.

so at least 2 dozen writers from NY/NJ worked at least 30 consecutive days - with anywhere from 40 pct to 60 pct of those days on the road, depending on the assignments.

Curtis finally, finally had a day off coming with a fill-in assigned. I think it was a Friday night game, and he would get to skip a Saturday practice. he filed his post-game story, and he was DONE.

so as he exited, he turned to the remaining scribes in the media room and so colorfully explained exactly how 'off' he was going to be on Saturday from caring about that practice - in just that fashion.

one of my favorite quotes ever, and he had a light southern accent that only added to the quality of the delivery.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: May 27, 2023 at 12:40 AM (#6130315)
Dozier was released this week.

That was Hunter Dozier. Brian (no relation AFAIK) hasn't played since 2020.

It's a "typical" old-timer sort of lineup (except for Ed). And I'm sure they knew they were the "stars" -- who can forget the home run derby X thing in which Londoners were gonna get excited about Nick Swisher. I'll admit I don't really understand why the HoF does it other than I suppose it gives them an excuse to be on MLB network for a couple of hours, letting MLBN interview new inductees and any genuinely famous players in for the weekend (which would be quite a few). But sure, nobody's making the trip to Cooperstown for HoF weekend to see Rajai Davis.
   11. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 27, 2023 at 08:29 AM (#6130323)
If you go to the HOF website (I checked it out after reading this thread, because I was wondering how they were promoting this game), it makes more sense:

"Hall of Famers Bert Blyleven, Rollie Fingers, Fergie Jenkins, Jim Kaat, Jack Morris and Lee Smith will serve as coaches and managers for the teams. Players who are scheduled to appear at the 2023 Hall of Fame Classic include..."

So if you go to the game ($15 for the best seats), you can probably get the autographs of most, if not all, of six Hall of Fame pitchers that would generally connect with Baby Boomer and many GenX-aged baseball fans.

I used to go to the Induction Weekend ceremony most years (I grew up about four hours from Cooperstown, then went to college about 2.5 hours from the HOF). One year I went with my then-serious-girlfriend (now wife of 21+ years) who was a very casual baseball fan at the time. She liked the town a lot - the shops, the quaintness of Doubleday Field, restaurants, B&Bs;, the lake, etc. - but it was so crowded on Induction Weekend that you couldn't really enjoy many of those elements. So she hasn't been back since.

I would bet an overwhelming percentage of Cooperstown's tourist dollars and visitors come in a very small window of time each year, and they would like to find ways to draw even modest amounts of additional baseball fans to town at other points of the year.

My wife and I were talking about doing a weekend in Cooperstown where we could do some baseball tourism, and then some non-baseball tourism (Brewery Ommegang is one of the best microbreweries in the country, for example), but we don't want to have to go when the weather is sort of cold. So I could see us picking a weekend like this to go in the future - nice weather, it's a 3-day weekend, there'll be a little extra buzz in town because of the Hall of Famers being around - but it won't be so many extra visitors that it will be impossible to get a hotel room or a table at a restaurant.

And it'd be fun to ask Jack Morris how he did such a uniquely good job of "pitching to the score" (ha,ha).
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: May 27, 2023 at 08:32 AM (#6130324)
There used to be a Hall of Fame game between two MLB teams, played the Monday after induction weekend. It was there when I got my only big leagueish foul ball, off the bat of Mike Jorgensen during a classic Mets-White Sox tilt that ended in a rain-shortened 4-4 tie in 1982. I also met Cool Papa Bell that weekend when I sneaked into the Otsego Hotel during the post-induction banquet.
   13. McCoy Posted: May 27, 2023 at 08:42 AM (#6130326)
Outside of induction week the town seems to rely on a series of little league teams going there for various tournaments.
   14. SoSH U at work Posted: May 27, 2023 at 09:27 AM (#6130328)

Outside of induction week the town seems to rely on a series of little league teams going there for various tournaments.

Yes, that's definitely become a big part of the pull. I know of several families who's kids have traveled pretty great distances to play there.
   15. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 27, 2023 at 01:58 PM (#6130379)
Haven’t been in a couple of decades, but Cooperstown does a fair amount of business throughout the summer. Induction Day is by far the biggest crowd, but some prefer the less-crowded experience available on other days. Good area for fall foliage, too.
   16. Mayor Blomberg Posted: May 27, 2023 at 02:20 PM (#6130384)
It's a beautiful vacation spot and home to the Glimmerglass Opera Festival throughout July. I was in town once for a conference at the Otesaga and loved it.
   17. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: May 27, 2023 at 03:16 PM (#6130390)
I went there last September for the first time. After the museum visit, we walked over to the ballpark to check it out. there was a game going, 2 co-ed teams of middle aged adults. A couple of dozen fans in the seats. Some sort of rec league game I figured. they were not very good. The IF could not get the ball to 1B on the fly. they ran the bases in what I would generously describe as a slow jog. The whole thing was weird.
   18. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 28, 2023 at 10:23 AM (#6130480)
It'd be a great place for a conference, but outside of something quite local, the problem would be the distance from any airport. It's a good 90 minutes from Albany's airport, almost two hours from Syracuse. But that's part of Cooperstown's charm, right? It is in the middle of nowhere, and then you roll in, and it is this really pretty small town.

I also have had an experience similar to #17, where you walk over to Doubleday Field and find a pretty underwhelming group of adults playing baseball poorly, and you're like, "Is this a pickup game?"

On the other hand, I once watched part of a game there during an induction weekend in the 1990s, and sat two rows behind George Steinbrenner, and you look around and realize there are recognizable (some obviously, some vaguely) all over the place. Like once when I literally bumped into Lou Brock and was like, "Sorry about that...hey, are you Lou Brock?" Or the time I just shot the breeze for 10 minutes with Al Downing. We talked about Aaron's 715th HR, pitching for the Dodgers, and how his nephew (with whom I went to grad school) was doing.

You don't get anything like that with the other Hall of Fames, and that's because the town is so small.
   19. McCoy Posted: May 28, 2023 at 11:31 AM (#6130482)
Don't know if that happens nowadays in Cooperstown either.
   20. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: May 28, 2023 at 06:15 PM (#6130528)
Populations of cities with Halls of Fame:

Cooperstown, New York (baseball): 1,794
Canton, Ohio (football): 70,872
Springfield, Massachusetts (basketball): 155,929
Frisco, Texas (soccer): 200,509
Toronto, Ontario (hockey): Pretty big, eh?

EDIT: The US Hockey Hall of Fame is in Eveleth, Minnesota, population 3,718...which is still more than double that of Cooperstown!
   21. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: May 28, 2023 at 07:55 PM (#6130533)
Eveleth is also adjacent to Virginia, MN, which has a population of 8300. There is nothing close to Cooperstown.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: May 29, 2023 at 02:44 AM (#6130541)
If we use Harold Baines as the standard, soon there will be more HoF inductees than the population of Cooperstown.
   23. McCoy Posted: May 29, 2023 at 01:39 PM (#6130566)
Something i didn't think about and not sure how it all washes out in the end is the various tournaments in the summertime change what kind of visitors come to Cooperstown. A LL team and family might stay in the area for a week but they aren't going to the Hall every single day. They might do it once so does the increased amount of people coming into the area mean more or less people go to the hall? Yearly attendance seems to suggest less people are going, is that because they can't get a room because of the tournament or is the tournaments propping up the attendance?
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   25. Anthony22 Posted: June 09, 2023 at 12:59 PM (#6132168)
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