I’m a sucker for baseball history. I feel like baseball and the academic subject of history always go hand in hand. Something about the perfect combination of fascination and boredom in both history and baseball just piques my interest.
I’d been to the Mecca of baseball history twice before. Once in 2005 after the Red Sox broke the Curse and once in 2008 after the Red Sox defeated the red-hot Rockies for the most forgettable championship of all the 21st century Boston titles. Naturally, my two cousins and I had to take the four-hour trip up to Cooperstown, New York and the National Baseball Hall of Fame after the 2013 worst-to-first season for the Sox.
Baseball Town, USA
First, a few pieces of advice/words of wisdom/important facts about the town itself. Everything is baseball and everything important (except for your hotel) is on one street. The aptly named Main Street is home to the Hall, numerous shops that sell any and every thing baseball, and all the baseball themed restaurants. However, almost all the hotels are located on the outskirts of the town center. The hotel we stayed at was about three miles away and right on the lake.
At only $50 a night, I highly recommend the Lake Front Motel. It was close, the rooms were clean, the view of the lake was amazing, and the staff was friendly. You can’t ask for much more.
For food, we cautiously had our first dinner at Redneck BBQ which is about 10 minutes outside Cooperstown. The place was dead when we got there, but was filled with Little Leaguers when we left. Food was decent. The last day we had breakfast/lunch at the Doubleday Cafe right downtown. Definitely the best meal we had and the atmosphere was awesome:
The Hall of Fame
Simply put: The Hall of Fame has some cool shit. Artifacts that just make you say, “Wow, how did they get their hands on that?!” Here are some that really struck me (yes, they are biased towards the Red Sox).
Cleats Dave Roberts wore in Game 4 of 2004 ALCS and during “The Steal”
Ball from the ground ball that was stabbed by Foulke
Cleats Jon Lester wore during his no-hitter (I was there)
Cleats from Schilling’s “Bloody Sock Game”
Ball and helmet from The Father of Steroids’ 756th home run
Glasses Eric Gagne wore when he broke all-time saves record
First base from game when Jim Joyce blew Armando Galarraga’s perfect game
Worst artifact in the whole museum
Then there is the exhibit that has a few different artifacts from the 2013 World Series. They had the mask David Ross wore in Game 6, the jacket John Farrell wore in Game 6, and the cleats Shane Victorino wore when he hit the grand slam in Game 6 of ALCS, sending the Sox to the World Series.
After you finish with the museum you enter into the hall itself with all the plaques. It is here where you fill the mysticism of the place.
It is simply a trip that every baseball fan has to make at some point in their life.