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

Hall of Fame

August 22, 2013

Earliest ideas about creating a Hall of Fame exist in museum's archive


“I am writing to you about it, and giving you the little outline because you are of course closely associated with the profession, and because I would like to have your opinion as to what could be done, and how to go about it. My interest in the matter is partly because of Cooperstown, and partly because of my great interest in baseball since childhood.”

In Brown’s quick response, dated July 26, he says:

“The plan that you have in mind for getting official recognition for Cooperstown as the birthplace of baseball sounds very interesting … I will try to get in touch with some people who may be influential in the right direction.”

The papers show that Thayer passed along Smith’s original letter to A.G. Spalding & Bros. Chairman Julian W. Curtiss, who soon forwarded it to National League President John Heydler. 

On National League letterhead dated July 30, Heydler responds to Smith’s pleas via a letter to Curtiss.

“At Chicago last December I brought this subject before the Joint Meeting of the American and National Leagues. As result, Judge Landis, Commissioner of Base Ball, and Mr. William Harridge, President of the American League, and I, representing the National League, were appointed a Committee to work out and present a plan for making this 100th birthday a memorable occasion.

“With the date five years off, there naturally is no occasion for hurried action. The thought is, however, that the three members of Base Ball’s Committee go to Cooperstown some day in 1935; meet with the local people and go over the ground in a preliminary way.

“It will be 1938 before any real work and planning could be done.”

According to an Aug. 8 letter written by Smith to Brown, the contents of Heydler’s letter, which appeared in “The Otsego Farmer,” helped with the enthusiasm of the Cooperstown citizenry towards a 1939 celebration.

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