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


“Since for 100 years this game has lived and thrived and spread all over our country and a large part of the world it is fitting that it should have a museum, a national museum,” said Major League Baseball’s first commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, at the beginning of the ceremony. “I should like to dedicate this museum to all America. To lovers of good sportsmanship, healthy bodies, keen minds, for those are the principals of baseball. So it is to them, rather than to the few who have been honored here, that I propose to dedicate this shrine of sportsmanship.”

After a ruffle of drums and the sounding of taps were played for the 14 deceased members — Cap Anson, Morgan Bulkeley, Alexander Cartwright, Henry Chadwick, Charles Comiskey, Candy Cummings, Buck Ewing, Ban Johnson, Willie Keeler, Christy Mathewson, John McGraw, Charles Radbourn, A.G. Spalding and George Wright — the living inductees were introduced and approached the microphone one at a time. All except the Georgia Peach.

Connie Mack, Honus Wagner, Tris Speaker, Napoleon Lajoie, Cy Young, Walter Johnson, George Sisler, Eddie Collins, Grover Cleveland Alexander and Babe Ruth made short remarks for the crowd, the half dozen newsreel cameras and a nationwide radio audience, but Ty Cobb, according to reports, was delayed because he was overcome with indigestion en route to Cooperstown and had to stop off at a hospital in nearby Utica.

“I was washing up over at Knox college,” said Cobb, “the only place in Cooperstown where I could get accommodations — when I heard my name read over the radio. I didn’t know the ceremonies began that early.

“Called out on strikes, I guess,” he laughed.

While Cobb was tardy, Sisler decided to stay in Cooperstown and send his wife to attend their son George Jr.’s graduation ceremony from nearby Colgate University.

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