By Greg Klein STAFF WRITER
---- — The National Baseball Hall of Fame’s 75th Anniversary celebration will stretch out over four event weekends in the spring and summer of 2014.
“Of course it all starts with the two elections coming up,” HOF president Jeff Idelson said on Tuesday, pointing to the Expansion Era Committee voting results which will be announced at Baseball’s Winter Meetings at 10 a.m. on Dec. 9, and the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame voting results, which will be announced live on MLB Network at 2 p.m. on Jan. 8. “We could be in for a very big induction weekend. I hope we are.
“Of course, it is sort of like predicting the weather,” he continued, “except in this instance, we want it to snow.”
Idelson’s remarks came as he and the HOF staff greeted about 100 Otsego County residents at an open house highlighting the four event weekends.
“As we turn 75, we are building our program for this weekend,” he said about the 2014 Induction Weekend.
The HOF will again have its Hall of Fame Classic as part of Memorial Day Weekend. The game will take place on Saturday, May 24 and will honor baseball’s connection with the Armed Services. Idelson said that Ozzie Smith and Phil Niekro will return as team captains and are currently recruiting four other HOF members and other former MLB players to appear in the game.
The “Night at the Museum” program will return for its second year that night. There will also be a HOF members golf fundraiser and a youth skills clinic. In addition, the “Be A Superior Example” (BASE) Race, which promotes healthy living will take place that weekend. The first two years of the race, it took place in August.
Thursday, June 12 is the actual 75th birthday for the HOF, which opened in 1939. Idelson said he hoped that descendents of Babe Ruth, who was inducted in 1939, would attend the birthday celebration. The rest of the weekend will include a special celebration for members.
The 2014 Induction Weekend is July 25 to 28, with the induction at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 27 at the Clark Sports Center.
On Saturday, Aug. 2, the Clark Sports Center will host a celebration concert staged by LGH Productions and featuring the Boston Pops.
“We are bringing here to Cooperstown the greatest house band in the world in the Boston Pops,” Idelson said.
He said that the rest of the lineup will be announced shortly and will include musicians from various genres including country, rock, classical and jazz. “It is going to be a star-studded line-up with individual performers each coming out to perform three to five songs with the (Pops).
“The reason we have not announced the lineup yet,” he added, “is that performers are just beginning to make their plans for the year. But they are aware of what we are doing and we have a lot of people who are interested.”
Idelson said that he expects many other celebrities to attend the event, including actors and comedians. “Really we are looking at it as a cultural event, and not just a concert,” he said.
“We are really are going to have a lot of tentacles in the water and a lot of reasons for people to become attached to Cooperstown,” he continued.
The open house concluded with a ribbon cutting for the HOF’s new exhibit, “Picturing America’s Pastime.” The exhibit, which includes 50 photos from the collection as well as more than a dozen artifacts, attempts to represent the history of the game and its connection to America, according to Erik Strohl, the vice president for exhibitions and collections.
“The goal was to pick 50 photos that represent the entire scope, breath and depth of the collection,” Strohl said, adding that it took his staff many months to choose the final pictures for the collection.