News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


Tim Mead

Kochul Makes A Pitch: NYers, Plan ‘Staycation’

Lieutenant Governor Visits Cooperstown

Kochul Makes A Pitch:

NYers, Plan ‘Staycation’

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Hall of Fame President Tim Mead answer press questions after her appearance at 25 Main St. on Monday, Aug. 10. (Jim Kevlin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul had a message for New Yorkers – the best way to vacation is right in your backyard.

“I live in the western part of the state, and I’m surprised at how many of my neighbors have never been to Niagara Falls,” she said. “There are no lines! This is a chance for 19 million New Yorkers to discover New York State.”

Hochul held a roundtable Monday, Aug. 10 at the Baseball Hall of Fame as part of her statewide “Staycation” tour, which has also taken her to Saratoga Springs, Finger Lakes and Thousand Islands to promote in-state tourism as an increasing number of states – currently 33 – are on the travel advisory list.

“It’s always a joy to come back to Cooperstown,” she said. “I had breakfast at what must be the world’s smallest diner, and I realized that this is the place where you come to feel young again, where you can renew your spirits.”

Representatives from the Glimmerglass Festival, the Farmers’ and Fenimore museums, Brewery Ommegang and the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce were on hand for the event, as was Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch.

“What hasn’t been cancelled is our natural beauty,” Hochul said. “Recreation is soaring, the boat launch has seen their traffic triple, and the economic benefits of the outdoors can continue.”

After more than 100 days of closure, both the Hall and the museums opened with new cleaning protocols, social distancing and mask requirements.

And Tim Mead, Hall of Fame president, said some of the newly implemented measurements will benefit the Hall going forward. “Timed ticketing has been great, and we’ve done a lot of external outreach to our memberships,” he said. “We will all grow from this.”

David Neil, Ommegang’s hospitality director, said the brewery switched to canning more beer after restaurant businesses dried up, reducing the need to buy kegs. “The majority of our business was in kegs,” he said. “But now, we’re canning more than we ever had; we completely changed our whole production.”

Ommegang also implemented curbside pickup, and recently reopened its café for outside dining, including the weekly Sunday Brunch Bingo. “We can hold up to 78 people in our pavilion, and we’ve just seen an increase every week,” he said. “And all our reviews have talked about how safe people feel on our grounds.”

Francesca Zambello, Glimmerglass Festival’s music & general director, said the shutdown has allowed the festival to rethink its own marketing.

“Fifty percent of our visitors come from two hours away,” she said. “We’re starting to look at how we can create outdoor programming to market to people who have the Glimmerglass Festival on their bucket list, but who never come here.”

Online programming has been launched, the the Young Artists’ training program is continuing.

In touting the statewide infection rate of less than one percent, Hochul also acknowledged the work that tourist attractions like the Hall and the museums are doing to keep visitors safe inside.

“Seeing everyone in their masks warms my heart,” she said. “We want people to know that they can come here and be safe.”

“I had planned to visit my kids in other states,” she added. “But instead, I’m coming to Cooperstown.”

Lt. Governor Tells Cooperstown: ‘Market To 19 Million New Yorkers’


‘Market To Staycations,’

Lieutenant Governor Says

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, left, hosted A “Staycation Tourism” roundtable at the Baseball Hall of Fame this afternoon, listening to how local tourism drivers – from Brewery Ommegang, The Farmers’ and Fenimore Art Museums, Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce and the Glimmerglass Festival – are surviving and struggling during the pandemic. “Let’s market to the 19 million New Yorkers who may have had Cooperstown on their bucket list, but never made the trip,” she told the gathered group.  With Hochul is Tim Mead, Hall of Fame president.   This morning, Hochul hosted a similar roundtable in Saratoga, another tourism magnet, and has held other ones in the Finger Lakes and Thousand Islands.  (Jim Kevlin/
Delgado Grant Helps Keep Hall, Fans Linked


Delgado Grant Helps

Keep Hall, Fans Linked

Tim Mead

COOPERSTOWN – Congressman Antonio Delgado, D-19, today announced $300,000 in federal funding for the National Baseball Hall of Fame for “virtual education” and access to the digital collection.

The money will come through the National Endowment for the Humanities and was approved through the House and Senate through the bipartisan CARES Act.

Calling the Hall “an iconic landmark and driver of the local economy,” Delgado said “it is vital for the long term well-being of our economy that we support the jobs and build accessibility” there.

Baseball Hall of Fame Opens Doors

Baseball Hall of Fame

Welcomes Fans Back

HoF President Tim Mead reviews the safety manual that allowed reopening. (Libby Cudmore/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to


For the second time in history, the Baseball Hall of Fame had an opening day.

“It’s only the second opener, after the day we first opened,” said Tim Mead, Hall of Fame president. “It puts it in perspective.”

On Friday, June 26, nearly 81 years to the day of the first June 12, 1939 opening, Oneonta’s Steve Pindar, visitor services director, opened the glass door at 25 Main St. and called out, “we’re open.”

It had been closed since March 15, the weekend Governor Cuomo declared a “state of emergency” to combat COVID-19.

“On Friday, we had 150 visitors,” said Mead in a Monday, June 29 interview. “On Saturday, we had 250, and by Sunday, we had 340 guests.”

The Hall was allowed to open under Phase Four of NY Forward with strict guidelines about social distancing, maximum capacity and masks. “Four weeks ago, we began putting together our reopening plan,” Mead said. “Based on the two weeks between Phase One and Phase Two, we projected that we could open by the end of June.”

He worked with the American Association of Museums, Rock & Roll Hall President Greg Harris, formerly of Cooperstown, and Paul D’Ambrosio, Fenimore and Farmers’ museum president/CEO, to design the Hall’s reopening plan.

“We wanted to see what others had done,” he said. “Being a museum, we have basic standards we need to follow, but there’s a uniqueness to how we have to clean.”

The Hall is able to operate at 25 percent of capacity – maximum capacity is 12,000 visitors a day. To maintain a manageable flow, the Hall is using timed ticketing, purchased online, which allows 25 visitors every half-hour.

But enforcing the protocols gave the Hall a chance to be creative. Take the signage. “Yogi Wore a Mask: Be Like Yogi” reads one sign, and the protocols, including social distancing, not entering if sick and frequent hand sanitizing at one of the 25 stations throughout the Hall – are called the “Starting Nine.”

“Wherever possible, when we did signage, we tried to do it in a baseball way,” said Jon Shestakofsky, vice president/communications. “Let’s have a little fun.”

The Hall redesigned the flow of traffic to move one way, and in smaller spaces, such as the art gallery, put up ropes to help keep visitors on the path.

To keep touch-screen exhibits sanitary, Shestakofsky demonstrated a rubber-tipped stylus, which are handed out to every visitor. With it, “you can still push the buttons, make your own baseball card, and see the Holy Grails,” he said. “We wanted all our exhibit spaces to be fully functional.”

And although the Grandstand and Bullpen theaters are closed, visitors can watch the “Generations of the Game” film through the Baseball Hall of Fame app.

Prior to the closure, the Locker Room exhibit had been relocated to the third-floor gallery. “It gives it more of a locker room feel,” said Shestakofsky.

During their closure, the Hall offered a robust slate of digital programming, including talks, trivia and virtual field trips, which Mead says they intend to continue.

“We challenged ourselves,” said Mead. “We didn’t want to look at short-term solutions, we wanted to look at long-term possibilities.”

Baseball Hall Of Fame President: 2021 Induction Still ‘The One’

The One’s Still The One – Later

Jeter’s Celebration

Lives, Only In 2021,

Hall President Says

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Tim Mead

COOPERSTOWN – Just because Derek Jeter’s induction has been postponed for a year doesn’t mean that we’ve missed out on the big one.

“His induction will still be the one,” said Tim Mead, president, Baseball Hall of Fame. “Instead of focusing on it for five years, we’ll have to focus for six. But it will still be a celebratory event, and we’ll all be glad to have it back.”


Showing ‘Angels In The Outfield’

With Cooperstown Film Society


FILM SOCIETY – 7 p.m. Cooperstown film society presents ‘Angels In The Outfield’ (1994) with special guest Tim Mead, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and long time Angel executive to discuss his time with the team, making of the movie. Cooperstown Village Library, 22 Main St., Cooperstown. Visit

Leading Hall Of Fame Is About ‘We,’ Not ‘I’


Leading Hall Of Fame

Is About ‘We,’ Not ‘I’

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Tim Mead, the Hall of Fame’s new president, answers fans questions during a Q&A in the Grandstand Theater this morning during Community Day. (Jennifer Hill/

COOPERSTOWN  – In a Q&A this morning, Community Day at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Cooperstown’s two other museums, the Hall’s new president Tim Mead told of his humble beginnings.

He was born in Greece, and adopted, along with his sister, when he was 6 months old.

He joined the Los Angeles (then Anaheim) Angels as an intern in 1980 after writing three letters.

Hall Of Fame President Mead Plans Q&A With Community


Hall Of Fame President Mead

Plans Q&A With Community

Tim Mead, in his first year as Baseball Hall of Fame president, will participate in a Q&A with the public during tomorrow’s Community Day at 25 Main. (AllOTSEGO photo)

COOPERSTOWN – The Baseball Hall of Fame’s new president, Tim Mead, plans a Q&A with visitors at 10 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday) during Community Day, where local fans will be admitted for free, (a $23 value for adults with drivers’ license or other ID).

Mead , who succeeded Jeff Idelson at the end of the 2019 Induction, spent a career at the Los Angeles Angels, the last decade at vice president/communications.  Following the Q&A in the Grandstand Theater, a film, “Generations of the Game,” will be screened.

Hall Of Famer Lee Smith Returns For Golf Tourney


Hall Of Famer Lee Smith

Returns For Golf Tourney

Hall of Famer Lee Smith and wife Dyana, in back row, toured Pathfinder Village yesterday, along with Hall President Tim Mead, back left. Smith is celebrity host at the Pathfinder Village-Hall of Fame Celebrity Tournament underway today at the Leatherstocking Golf Course.

COOPERSTOWN – Class of 2019 Hall of Famer Lee Smith has returned this week to the scene of his Induction as celebrity host for the Pathfinder Village-Baseball Hall of Fame Golf Invitational, which begins today at the Leatherstocking Golf Course.

The former Chicago Cub will join 23 amateur foursomes on the 18th to support a golf event that raises scholarship funds for Pathfinder Village, the residential community in Edmeston for people with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities.

HAIL TO THE CHIEF! Tim Mead New HoF President

Tim Mead New HoF President



Tim Mead poses with fans from Hartford, Conn., after they asked him to snap a photo of them at the scoreboard in front of 25 Main St., which he gladly did. From left are Luis Garcia, his wife Carmen and daughter Glendaly. In front is granddaughter Macci, 8. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Tim Mead pauses in front of Baseball’s Mecca, which he now oversees.

COOPERSTOWN – Tim Mead is anything if not approachable.

Walking by that display board of standings in front of the Hall of Fame the other day, Glendaly Garcia of Hartford, Conn., called out to the new president of Baseball’s Mecca:  “Can you take our photo?”

Unhesitatingly, he did, then posed with the family, now thrilled at meeting the man who holds one of the highest-profile jobs in the National Pastime.

That kind of personal touch is important, the Garcias can tell you:  A decade ago, dad Luis was diagnosed with cancer, and the family brought him to Cooperstown to fulfill a lifelong dream.   He recovered, and a month ago was diagnosed with brain cancer.

Meeting Tim Mead made their visit that much more special.

SCOLINOS: It’s All We Need To Know: Home Plate 17 Inches Wide



It’s All We Need To Know:

Home Plate 17 Inches Wide

Editor’s Note:  Tim Mead, incoming Baseball Hall of Fame president, cited John Scolinos, baseball coach at his alma mater, Cal Poly Pomona, as a lifelong inspiration, particularly Scolinos’ famous speech “17 Inches.” Chris Sperry, who published, heard Scolinos deliver a version in 1996 at the American Baseball Coaches Association in Nashville, and wrote this reminiscence in 1916 in his “Baseball Thoughts” column.


Cal Poly Pomona baseball coach John Scolinos, Tim Mead’s inspiration.

In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.

After speaking for 25 minutes, he said:

“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck. Or maybe you think I escaped from Camarillo State Hospital,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility.


“No,” he continued, “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”

Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?” After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches,” more question than answer.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: With Hall of Fame’s new President Tim Mead


Teamwork: A Way

Of Life Tim Mead’s

Now Bringing Here

L.A. Angels Communications/VP

To Succeed Idelson After Induction

Tim Mead, L.A. Angels vice president/communications, answers local press’ questions Tuesday after he was named Baseball Hall of Fame president. (Photo courtesy Orange County Register)

By JIM KEVLIN • Exclusive

COOPERSTOWN – Tim Mead, who will become the seventh president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame following this year’s Induction on July 21, has been a team player in the front office at the Los Angeles Angels for four decades.

But for the Angels’ vice president/communications, team playing didn’t start there.

When young Tim was a sophomore at San Gorgonio High School in San Bernadino, he tried out for the Spartans varsity baseball team.  He tried out again when he was a junior.

When he was a senior, he made the cut, but just barely.  The team was waiting for a player to finish the basketball season, and when he did, Mead and another player were bumped.

He was standing out in the rain when he got the news, he remembers.

Angels Executive Succeeds Idelson As HoF President

Angels Executive

Succeeds Idelson

As HoF President

Tim Mead, 61, Hall’s Seventh Leader

Tim Mead

COOPERSTOWN – Tim Mead, 61, 22-year vice president/communications for the Los Angeles Angels, has been named president of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Hall board Chairman Jane Forbes Clark announced a few minutes ago.

“The Board of Directors is very pleased that Tim has accepted the position of President of the Hall of Fame,” said Clark. “Tim is deeply respected throughout the baseball industry, among players, executives and media alike. He has a great affection for the game and its history, and we are looking forward to having him leading the efforts of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.”

In his most recent position, Mead, who has spent 40 years with the Angels,  oversaw the team’s media relations, publicity and broadcasting operations. He was assistant general manager in 1994-97.  He had started in the public relations department  in 1980, became director of media relations in 1985 and assistant vice president/media relations, in 1991.

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