Cooperstown residents and visitors said they were disappointed they could not see President Barack Obama in Cooperstown on Thursday, but agreed it was an honor just to be there for the historic event.
After the president’s speech concluded at about 4 p.m., rumors began to swirl on the street that he would be making an appearance outside The Hall of Fame after exiting the facility.
Speculation skyrocketed when news teams and police officers gathered at the entrance to the building and set up metal barriers, which seemed to confirm a possible meet-and-greet.
George and Leola Streeter traveled from Ilion to see the president, they said. George said he collects a special line of presidential baseball cards produced by Topps.
“I’m hoping to get this one signed by him,” Streeter said, before Obama’s arrival.
Leola said this would not be her first time meeting a president. In 1960, she met President John F. Kennedy while in high school at Ilion.
“He was so handsome,” Leola said. “It was really something to see him in person. You don’t usually see a president.”
Nadine Wood, of Cortland, said her friends warned her she would not get to see President Barack Obama.
“They rained on my parade,” Cortland said. “But I was going to come anyways. Maybe I’ll see him, maybe I won’t. But I came to support him, either way.”
Kristin Karasek, an art teacher at Cooperstown High School, and her former student, Elizabeth Kenison, supported Obama in a creative way.
The two women spent more than four hours painting a caricature of Obama on a storefront window of F. R. Woods Memorabilia Shop on Main Street.
“Even if we don’t get to see him, it was still fun to do and be part of,” Kenison said.