I love baseball and you may have seen some of my posts about MLB ballparks, including my favorite Angels Stadium. As a huge fan, it has always been a dream to get to see the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Last October, my dream came true! We had a great time there and I will never forget our trip. Apparently many other people also enjoy this museum as there are approximately 300,000 visitors each year. incredible.
The Baseball Hall of Fame serves as the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond. Thus they have tens of thousands of three-dimensional artifacts, all of which represent a particular moment in baseball history. Whether it is a uniform shirt that Cy Young or Honus Wagner wore, or it is a bat used by Ted Williams, Willie Mays, or Derek Jeter, the National Baseball Hall of Fame maintains these items in a state-of-the-art, climate-controlled environment to ensure its preservation for future generations of baseball fans. Even with all the items on display, visitors see only a fraction of its 38,000 artifacts, 2.6 million library items, and 130,000 baseball cards.
The Baseball Hall of Fame is a 3 story building which was completed and dedicated on June 12, 1939. After buying our tickets the women gave us a pamphlet and suggested that we start on the 2nd floor, move to the 3rd and back down to the 1st. I was immediately thrilled as we walked toward the elevator and saw my first picture – that of the Angels celebrating after the last out of the 2002 World Series (still be favorite year, ever) I felt like I was already in heaven
Anyway, we made our way to the 2nd floor which contains The Grandstand Theater which features a 12-minute multimedia film. The 200 seat theater, complete with replica stadium seats, is decorated to resemble old Comiskey Park. There is also what they call the The Game, and is the major feature of the second floor. It is where the most artifacts are displayed. The Game is set up in a timeline format, starting with baseball's beginnings and culminating with the game we know today. There are several offshoots of this meandering timeline: The Babe Ruth Room, Diamond Dreams (women in baseball) ¡Viva Baseball! (a bilingual exhibit, in English and Spanish, that celebrates baseball in Latin America), Pride and Passion (Negro Leagues exhibit) and Taking The Field (19th century baseball).
Eventually we made our way to the 3rd floor to see what treasures it held, and we were not disappointed. It has Autumn Glory section which is devoted to post-season baseball and has, among other artifacts, replicas of World Series rings, the Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream area, and an Education Gallery that hosts school groups and, in the summer, presentations about artifacts from the museum's collection. We really enjoyed sitting In the gallery foyer some baseball bloopers and the popular Abbott and Costello routine "Who's on First?". It was great.
This floor also holds the Records Room that has charts showing active and all-time leaders in various baseball statistical categories. The statistics charts are posted on the walls, leaving the center space for other purposes, the BBWAA Awards has replicas of various awards distributed by the BBWAA at the end of each season, along with a list of past winners, an inductee database touch-screen computer with statistics for every inductee, programs from every World Series, and a case dedicated to Ichiro Suzuki setting the major league record for base hits in a single season, with 262 in 2004, after George Sisler had held the record for 84 years with 257. However, the highlight of this floor has to be the case full of World Series rings from prior years from the 1900's to present. So cool to see how they evolved through the years.
Last but not least we hit the first floor. The highlight of this floor and the Baseball Hall of Fame Museum is the Plaque Gallery, but this floor also holds the Baseball at the Movies area which contains baseball movie memorabilia while a screen shows footage from those movies, the Bullpen Theater which is the site of daily programming at the museum (trivia games, book discussions, etc.) and is decorated with pictures of famous relief pitchers, the Induction Row which contains artifacts pertinent to the most recent inductees (Randy Johnson was my favorite this year) and photos of past Hall of Fame Weekends, as well as the Perez-Steele Art Gallery featuring art of all media related to baseball.