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June 20, 2013

A look back: How elections came about

Baseball Mecca not built in one day


The day after the election results were announced, John Kieran, honored with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in 1973, wrote in the New York Times, “Still insisting that any voter is entitled to go to the polls and mark a ballot according to his own opinions and prejudices, it remains a mystery that any observer of modern diamond activities could list his version of the 10 outstanding baseball figures and have Ty Cobb nowhere at all in the group. Four voters accomplished that amazing feat.

“Eleven voters wrote down the names of their top 10 of modern times and ignored Babe Ruth completely. Eleven voters treated Hans Wagner in the same cavalier fashion.

“Beyond these items, the returns were fairly satisfactory. The fact that only five players received enough votes to qualify them for inclusion in the Baseball Hall of Fame is a good thing. A Hall of Fame for any field should not be filled too hastily.”

Evolution of the Hall of Fame

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has grown into a cultural showcase that chronicles the evolution of our National Pastime. But the institution itself has evolved over the years as well.

Today it’s a must-see destination for enthusiasts of the national pastime the world over, but the Cooperstown institution’s beginnings were humble, quietly opening its doors during the spring of 1938, a year prior to the official dedication.

It all began as a small two-story building with a couple thousand square feet of space. Today it’s three floors total 127,000 square feet, split between public space (55,000 square feet), exhibit space (33,000 square feet) and a library (37,000 square feet).

In the original building’s first floor, Hall of Famers’ plaques were interspersed with artifacts, with the famed Doubleday Baseball occupying a place of honor on the fireplace mantle while a portrait of Abner Doubleday, the supposed inventor of the game, surveying the scene.

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