“Baseball has become such a commercial industry,” Rist continued. “It’s just become about the almighty dollar.”
Rist said she is content to just walk along Main Street and see the baseball players without getting their autographs.
Karen came to Cooperstown with her mother, Carol Rist. Carol said she had always liked baseball but didn’t watch the games until she retired.
“When I retired and the Yankees where on top of the league at the time, I got so into it,” Carol said. “I love baseball.”
Gil Yule, a retired teacher from New Hampshire, has come to the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend for 45 years.
“The first time I came in here was in 1955; I was in 10th grade,” Yule said. “I saw Ty Cobb on the steps of the Hall of Fame and I asked for his autograph.”
Since then Yule has collected 2,000 Hall of Fame autographs, though he has multiple autographs from some players. He said he has the most signatures from Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial and Cal Ripken Jr.
Yule said he has memorabilia all over his walls in his house, and he even has framed baseball jerseys hanging from his ceiling.
Yule recalled how fans used to be able to meet players in the lobby of the Otesaga Hotel and get autographs there.
“I have great memories from that,” he said.
Yule said he loves coming to Cooperstown for many reasons.
“The small-town atmosphere, fans, friends and shop owners I’ve gotten to know very well over the years,” he said.
Gonska Sr. said he loves coming to Cooperstown.
“It’s just something special, one of those things you can’t describe,” he said. “You just have to be here for Induction Weekend.”