It’s a tell tale sign of just how old we are all getting. The Baseball Hall of Fame has always been a place where players of a past generation have been enshrined. A mausoleum dedicated to the men of a generation of baseball we only know from stories and a few fuzzy highlights. Babe Ruth calling his home run, Carlton Fisk waving the ball fair, Kirk Gibson pumping his fist as he rounds second base. These are the moments I think of when I think of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Unwitnessed “special” moments experienced secondhand. However, this summer, for the first time in my life, the Hall of Fame class is a trio of players who’s careers I actually witnessed. That’s special.
Cooperstown was one of my first ever road trips as a youngster. Fifth grader going into middle school walking around baseball’s most sacred grounds. Didn’t really understand the whole place or really any of the place for that matter. Made up that Jim Palmer was my favorite player just so I could have someone to see. Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandburg were inducted that year.
Went for a second time in the summer of 2008 after the second Red Sox World Series victory (the first time was after the 2004 win). Understood a little more this time, but had more of an obsession with taking pictures of everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. On a camera somewhere stored away in my room I literally have thousands of pictures and videos from that trip. Could probably recreate the entire vacation if anyone is interested. Goose Gossage and Dick Williams were inducted that year.
Now this year, after yet another Red Sox World Series Championship, we are in the beginning stages of a third haj to the baseball Mecca. Except the biggest difference is that this year it’s not Wade Boggs and his 64 beers getting inducted into the Hall, but rather Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, and Greg Maddux. When you throw in coaches Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox, and Joe Torre on top of the players it makes this year’s class one of the most special in years. That being said, it really has more meaning when you actually saw the inductees play a significant amount of baseball. And as the years go by it keeps getting better. Must feel REALLY strange when guys your own age are being inducted.