Deep in New York State there is a tiny, tiny town situated literally in the middle of nowhere. The words “historic”, “quaint”, and “charming” are frequently used to describe it. There is one signal light on Main Street. This town, Cooperstown, is home to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Hall was built, in 1936, in Cooperstown because that’s where Abner Doubleday “invented” the game. There are, of course, always disagreements about who invented something and baseball is no exception. The thing that is surprising is that the town has not grown up around the Hall. It’s still a town that pretty much consists of a Main street and not much else. There are hotels and restaurants, naturally. But they are sprinkled along Lake Otsego on route 80, not clustered together with strip malls and busy intersections.
The Baseball Hall of Fame itself isn’t large, but it’s packed with plaques, photos, and baseball artifacts. There aren’t a lot of “interactive” exhibits. There isn’t a petting zoo or an amusement park. The Hall is best enjoyed at a slow and steady pace. It’s no coincidence that this is how the game of baseball is best enjoyed. There’s no rush. There is only the joy and reverence for the great game.
The heart of the HOF is the Plaque Gallery which is a long hallway lined with the plaques of the men, and women, who have been inducted into the hall. Visitors are not held back by ropes. They can, and frequently do, touch the brass plaques. You can’t help but notice that some players’ faces have been shined by admiring hands more than others. There are players who have the numbers the prove they deserve to be in the Hall. And then there are the fan favorites who inspire more than just appreciation; they inspire adoration.
This made me wonder: are any of the current Sox players destined for the Hall of Fame? If he can get healthy again, will Clay Buchholz be Hall of Fame bound? John Lackey has been having a renaissance season. Will he continue in this direction and eventually erase his years of struggle enough to be in HOF? David Ortiz holds so many records as a designated hitter. Will this be enough to get him in The Hall someday? Dustin Pedroia is a fan favorite, a great hitter, a two-time Gold Glove winner, and a “scrappy” player who is fun to watch. Will his plaque be one that fans keep shiny with loving hands?
Only time will tell.