After an excruciating two-year Covid hiatus, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is at last back on track with its traditional mid-summer Induction Weekend. While the Weekend brings in a healthy number of past Hall of Famers as well as, this year, three living inductees, and their families, fans and friends, it also welcomes tens of thousands of baseball fans and all of their families who, when not milling about waiting to catch a glimpse of their baseball heroes strolling about town or on the tee-boxes and greens of Leatherstocking, spend their well-saved dollars on Main Street and beyond. This is a good thing for our tourist-starved Village which, to its credit, not only welcomes these multitudes with open arms, eager cash registers, tempting restaurants and comfortable beds, but also sweeps up every street and sidewalk after them within minutes of their departure.
INDUCTION – 1:30 p.m. Join the Baseball Hall of Fame for the 2022 Induction ceremony of this years class of baseball greats including player David Ortiz, Golden Days Era Committee electees Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Miñoso and Tony Oliva and Early Baseball Era Committee electees Bud Fowler and Buck O’Neil. Lawn seating is free. On the Lawn of the Clark Sports Center, Cooperstown. 607-547-7200 or visit baseballhall.org
PARADE OF LEGENDS – 6 p.m. The stars of Baseball parade through Cooperstown beginning at the intersection of Lake & Chestnut St. and proceeding down Chestnut St. and onto Main St. before concluding at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown. Visit baseballhall.org/events/hof-weekend-2022?date=0
Baseball fans are invited for a book signing of ‘Grassroots Baseball: Route 66’ with renowned baseball photographer photographer and co-founder of the Grassroots Baseball project Jean Fruth, former president of the Baseball Hall of Fame Jeff Idelson, and Hall of Famer/22-year MLB player Jim Thome. The signing will take place from 2 – 3 p.m. on Friday, July 22 in the Atrium at the Baseball Hall of Fame. Only copies of ‘Grassroots Baseball: Route 66’ will be signed and fans must have purchased a ticket from the Hall of Fame.
With our little Town of Cooperstown filling up over the Induction Weekend, the Baseball Hall of Fame has released a parking plan to help avoid delays and parking problems so we all can enjoy this biggest weekend of the year.
There are 3 color coded trolley lots available for parking just outside the village limits. These lots are free and all day service on the trolley costs $5 cash to be paid on the trolley which operates all weekend from 8:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
For Induction Ceremony parking only the Blue-Lot Trolley will be running from the parking lot to the Induction site at the Clark Sports Center. Parking at the Blue-Lot is free. There will be additional paid parking available at the Cy Young Lot (adjacent to the Blue Trolley Lot at 5430 St. Rt. 28, Cooperstown) and at the Hank Aaron Lot on Rt. 33, just east of the Induction site.
The Cooperstown Rotary Foundation’s annual Amazing Autographed Baseball Raffle is back!
This year’s autographed baseball, signed by 20 Hall of Famers during Induction Weekend 1986, features Ted Williams, Stan Musial, and 18 other greats of the game.
Tickets, only $50 each and limited to 100 total, are available now, and the drawing will take place on July 26. Get yours quickly before supplies run out. All proceeds go to the Cooperstown Rotary Foundation, the 501(c)3 tax deductible organization of the Rotary Club of Cooperstown.
INDUCTEES Bud Fowler, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Buck O’Neil and David Ortiz
Here is a little taste of events that will be going on July 22-25 for the Hall of Fame Weekend.
PLAY Ball with Ozzie Smith — with special guests: Ozzie Smith returns in a fundraiser to support the Hall of Fame’s educational mission with a unique opportunity for fans, featuring Ozzie’s Hall of Fame teammate Cal Ripken Jr. and Jim Thome. This event features non-stop interaction at each station with a living legend and includes special mementos. Space is limited. The donation is $1,000 per person, with Hall of Fame Members admitted for $750. To reserve your spot, please call 607-547-0385. 8 a.m., Friday, July 22.
Hall of Fame Parade of Legends: Join the pageantry and excitement as the Hall of Famers ride down Main Street on their way to a private reception at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Main Street, 6 p.m., Saturday, July 23.
OPEN HOUSE – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Learn about the Haudenosaunee who called this area home. Exhibit features an original Seneca log house and a reproduction Mohawk bark house with museum teachers on hand to answer questions and give insight into the enduring legacy of the Haudenosaunee and the changing landscape of Central New York. A guided tour will depart the museum kiosk at 2 p.m. Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1400 or visit www.fenimoreartmuseum.org
BLOOD DRIVE – 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Main Street Baptist Church, 333 Main st., Oneonta. 1-800-733-2767 or visit www.redcrossblood.org
The Baseball Hall of Fame is hosting a movie night featuring ‘The Kid Who Only Hit Homers’ starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 9, in the Grandstand Theater. The movie is free, but registration is required.
The film is based on the 1972 beloved children’s book of the same name by Matt Christopher. The novel is about a child, Codmeyer, who was on the verge of quitting Baseball until he was visited by the Ghost of Babe Ruth whose advice turns him into a ‘slugging hero.’
SPRINGFIELD PARADE – 11 a.m. One of the oldest 4th of July parades in the country returns from a two-year hiatus. Parade will feature floats, marching bands, equestrian and much more to honor veterans groups, fire departments, and community organizations from all over the region. Will be followed by music, Brooks BBQ, historical displays, a quilt show, raffles, and much more at the Springfield Community Center and then a concert at 7:30 at Glimmerglass State Park, followed by fireworks. Parade will proceed down Rt 20 and Rt 80 to The Springfield Community Center, 129 Co. Hwy. 29A, Springfield Center. 315-858-0304 or visit www.facebook.com/SpringfieldParade/
HOMETOWN 4TH – 1 p.m. Kick off the 4th of July celebrations with a parade down Main Street Oneonta finishing at Neahwa Park where there will be live music, dance, kids activities, food, arts & crafts, and much more. Continues to 9:30 with Fireworks and then a fireworks afterparty featuring Cosmic Karma Fire Spinners and Hanzolo from 10 – 11 p.m. Neahwa Park, Oneonta. Visit www.hometown4th.com
CONCERT & FIREWORKS – 7:30 p.m. After parades and festivities head down to the beach for an Independence Day concert featuring the Council Rock Band. Followed by Fireworks at dusk. Glimmerglass State Park, 1527 Co. Rd., 31, Cooperstown. Visit www.facebook.com/SpringfieldParade
Take a look at National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum President Josh Rawitch’s Twitter account and you’ll meet a person not just embracing his profession, but also serving as a de facto ambassador for the Village of Cooperstown. He and his family – wife Erin and children Emily and Braden – relocated to the village nearly one year ago from the sprawling Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale, Arizona, and they’ve welcomed their new lives in a much smaller town in the northeast.
“It’s been exactly what we thought it was going to be,” Mr. Rawitch said in a discussion with The Freeman’s Journal / Hometown Oneonta marking one year since the Hall announced his appointment as its eighth president. “We dove head-first into life in Cooperstown, everything from our kids getting into school activities, my wife getting involved with non-profits, starting to make friends with people who live here. All of that is like we thought it would be.”
He shares with his on-line followers pictures of scenes like the small bridge arching over Willow Brook near Lake Street or a stop at the Cooperstown Diner on Main Street.
“I’m trying to give people a little slice of what life is like with my Twitter account,” he said. “Not everybody can come here, so I try to give them a little bit of the flavor.”
“You can’t really know until you live it what small-town life is going to be like,” Mr. Rawitch said. “There are so many unique things to this town that we love, from the mom-and-pop shops to the walkability of it all to the grade schools to life on the lake. It’s such a special place. On top of it all it happens to have this unbelievable baseball mecca in the middle of it. It’s just an awesome place.”
As he did one year ago upon his appointment, Mr. Rawitch spoke of his deep appreciation for his baseball career, which began at age 18 as an intern for the Los Angeles Dodgers – there for 15 years before a decade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Those jobs, he said, prepared him well for the leadership role at the Hall of Fame.
WRITING GROUP – 6:30 p.m. Bring your notebooks, pens/pencils and be ready to share your writing in a supportive writing group. Springfield Library, 129 Co. Rd. 29A, Springfield. 315-858-5802 or visit libraries.4cls.org/springfield/