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January 9, 2014

Cooperstown reacts to HOF class

The 2014 class of inductees into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown is good news for the local economy, especially considering last year’s light season, several merchants and others in the village said Wednesday.

Former Atlanta Braves pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, along with retired Chicago White Sox home run hitter Frank Thomas, were elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Last month, baseball’s Expansion Era Committee chose former Braves manager Bobby Cox, along with ex-managers Joe Torre of the Yankees and Tony La Russa of the A’s and Cardinals for enshrinement July 27.

“We’re very pleased with the results,” said Connie Haney, owner of Cooperstown Bat Company in the village. 

The business, which produces and sells autographed collectible bats, will begin reviewing its product line to include elected inductees and also to reflect the Hall of Fame’s 75th anniversary celebration this year.

“We feel it’s going to be a great year for Cooperstown and the Hall of Fame,” Haney said. “It’s going to have a very positive impact on tourism through the course of the year.”

Streets will be crowded the last weekend in July, but attendance isn’t expected to top the 80,000 people at the 2007 induction of Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn, said Jeff Katz, Cooperstown mayor.

Cooperstown public works and police will meet with Hall officials to consider plans to accommodate ceremonies and crowds, Katz said. The village has about 1,800 residents, he said.

Sarah Mower, manager at Mickey’s Place at 74 Main St., echoed optimism about a “good boost” in revenues this summer with this year’s Hall class. The retailer offers a range of baseball memorabilia, and Mower said induction events and attendance can be memorable.

“Induction weekend is an exciting weekend for tourists,” Mower said. “You can just sense the excitement among tourists.”

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