Each year many people come to Cooperstown to celebrate and join in the festivities of the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend. For the local community, the weekend usually means increased business and a chance to share in a baseball tradition.
For Cooperstown Central School students this weekend represents their biggest fundraiser for the sophomore, junior and senior classes. About 75 students helped to sell concessions during the weekend along with about 40 parents and the class advisers, said Nick Marcantino, a teacher and adviser for the senior class.
“This used to be our largest fundraiser, but with the weather and crowds we’ll have to do more fundraisers throughout the year,” said Marge Schleining, a teacher and adviser for the junior class who has been participating in this event for the past 20 years.
The students toted trays full of sodas and chips, much like the ones used during baseball games, to deliver their goods to the people before the Induction Ceremony began. Coca-Cola even offered an incentive to the most motivated salesperson; the student who sold the most would get two tickets to Six Flags.
The goal was to raise $3,000 by selling hot dogs, chips and soda this weekend but they were unsure they would meet that mark because of poor weather and dwindling crowds on Sunday, Schleining said.
Though Schleining seemed disappointed with the turnout she said, “We are fortunate that the Hall of Fame gives us the exclusivity to sell (concessions) at this event.”
The majority of the profits go to the senior class for its prom and senior class trip to Washington and Baltimore, Marcantino said.
“Just to see the players alone is enough for me,” Marcantino continued.
James Ferrara, manager of the Hard Ball Café, said it was a good weekend for July but not like other Induction Weekends in the past.
“It wasn’t like a normal Induction Weekend; it wasn’t as busy,” Ferrara said.
“The fact that there was no living inductee makes less people come,” he continued.
Connie Haney, co-owner of the Cooperstown Bat Company, said the biggest benefit of Induction Weekend for her business is exposure.
“It’s about people coming to Cooperstown and seeing what it is that we actually do,” Haney said.
She explained that Cooperstown Bat Company does custom artwork for each team or person it sells to, and a lot of people don’t know that until they come into her store.
“We love talking to people when they come to Cooperstown, having great baseball conversations and sharing in their excitement; that’s really what it’s all about,” Haney said.
“We do live in a tourism area and it’s really our job to provide as good a time as possible,” Haney continued.
Jim Miles, general manager of the Otesaga Resort and Hotel, said the Otesaga caters to the Hall of Famers, their guests and family members over the Induction Weekend much like a family reunion.
“We thought it was a wonderful weekend,” Miles said. “It’s a reunion environment, they’re either welcoming in new members or just reminiscing with other members.”