Cooperstown Crier - Your Source for Hometown News - Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

July 25, 2013

A look back at how Cooperstown became a baseball Mecca

The Babe took the spotlight in 1939


“It seems to me that the museum will be a place of special interest, particularly in this centennial year of baseball.”

From May through August, Cooperstown was abuzz with baseball, with the newly christened Doubleday Field playing host to special high school, college and semi-pro contests. Motorists entering the village from any direction saw markers in the shape of giant baseballs with arrows directing them “To the Cooperstown Baseball Centennial.”

The summer’s crowning moment took place on June 12, a day that not only paid tribute to the game’s best, but also opened a 1,200-square-foot shrine to the national pastime that fans from around the world enjoy to this day.

The Hall of Fame had been in the planning stages for a number of years before its official dedication and first Induction Ceremony. When the day finally came, crowds flocked to the historic village of 2,500 residents nestled in the Leatherstocking Region of upstate New York to witness the once-in-a-lifetime events that forever made Cooperstown part of the cultural landscape of our nation.

“My gosh, there were more people than cows,” marvels Catherine Walker, who was only 8 years old at the time. “I remember my dad holding me up so that I could see, putting me on his shoulders, but other than that it was just a big sea of faces.”

Howard Talbot, who would later serve as the director of the Hall of Fame, came with his family from nearby Edmeston.

“For a 14-year-old it was overwhelming, believe me. No question about it,” he said.

Approximately 12,000 fans, national press and three national radio broadcast were in place at noon on Main Street in front of the newly opened Hall of Fame where the 25 electees from the first three Induction classes were to be honored with bronze plaques.

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Hall of Fame
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