Pilgrimage to Cooperstown

On Tuesday, August 14th, Joe McD and I took a couple of days and drove to Cooperstown to visit the MLB HoF. It was not a bucket list item for either of us, more just something to do. We decided to go “the long way” avoiding US90 and other highways as much as possible, so our route west took us along Rt 44 and similar two lane blacktops through RI and part of CT until Rt 20 took us through MA and into NY. We drove a total of 708 miles in the Solara, just leisurely checking out the world as it slowly rolled by.


Joe examines the commemorative cairn for the Jacob’s Ladder Bypass on Rt 20 in Becket, MA.

We arrived in Cooperstown about 5pm Tuesday and, after a quick sandwich we toured the tiny village. As darkness fell, we headed about 3 miles up Rt80 to the Terrace Motor Inn where we secured a double room for $140. Clean, if sparce, with a very 60’s vibe. We watched an AMC James Cagney festival [City for Conquest, White Heat] on an old 15″ color portable with a thunder storm raging outside.

Wednesday morning we had breakfast in town and wandered about awaiting the 9am opening of the HoF. Cooperstown is baseball. Just about every advertising sign in the small [pop 1,840] village references bats, balls, t-shirts, and other team-logo’d tourist trinkets. Souvenir shops and themed restaurants cater to the pilgrims with an emphasis on Yankees, Mets and Red Sox fandom. We saw many funny t-shirts highlighting the Sox-Yanks rivalry on display. Most visitors must be from NY and New England.


Main Street [appropriately], Cooperstown, NY.

I’m not sure what we expected, but the HoF itself seemed rather small. It looked like an elementary school to me. The two story brick structure was built in 1939 and blends in well with the street scene.

Main entrance, National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Main entrance, National Baseball Hall of Fame.

As there is a new 104 team Little League baseball tournament here every single week during the summer, the small town seemed overrun with mobs of uniformed 12 year old boys and much of the commerce was aimed at them.

The HoF was a pretty good take for $19.50 [seniors have to be 65] with tons of memorabilia. I quickly realized that while I am a baseball fan and certainly a Red Sox fan,  I don’t really give a crap about most other MLB teams and their greatest moments. So, many of the exhibits were only marginally interesting to me. There were, however, lots of Red Sox items and those resonated with me.

Curt Schilling’s famous bloody sock from game 2 of the 2004 World Series. Evidently the original bloody sock, the one from game 6 of that year’s ALCS was discarded in the trash in the Yankee Stadium visitor’s clubhouse.

The actual Hall of Fame plaques themselves were cool, although I was, again, mostly interested in the Boston related ones.

Ted Williams plaque.

Ted Williams

Carl Yastrezemski plaque

Carl Yastrezemski

As we needed to be back in Bourne by nightfall, we saw the HoF in about 2 hours and then headed south on Rt 28. We still hoped to avoid as much highway as possible, but decided to take US90 to Albany-Troy where we could pick up Rt2, The Mohawk Trail and drive through the Berkshires.

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