It was not surprising to see such a small crowd for Induction Weekend, as there was much skepticism leading to what is typically the busiest weekend in Cooperstown.
It was a lackluster year, to say the least. The National Baseball Hall of Fame reported an attendance figure of about 2,500 for the ceremony, which was held up by rain Sunday afternoon. It also marked the first time since 1996 the Baseball Writers Association of America elected no one.
According to merchants, it seemed like it was the regular diehard baseball fans that made the journey for an induction that did not include any living people.
Cooperstown Bat Company Co-owner Connie Haney said, “Overall, it has been business as usual for us. We’ve had some of our regulars, who come in every year, come back this year, so we are happy to see them.”
Extra Innings, manager Scott Morley said he recognized many regular visitors.
“The people you expected to see, you saw,” he said. “The diehards you see every year came back this year.
No merchants said business was up from last year when 17,500 fans attended the induction of Barry Larkin and Ron Santo.
Brian Paterno of Paterno Brothers Sports called the weekend a “disaster,” and claimed his shop was no busier than on a normal weekend.
Paterno said he blamed the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for not giving any current candidates the needed 75 percent of the vote for induction.
“These reporters think they are above everybody else by submitting empty ballots, when they should have put guys like Biggio and (Mike) Piazza in this year,” he said. “If you only have three guys to induct who are all dead, what do you expect?”
Clearly no one expected a year like 2007, when Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn brought about 75,000 fans. That was the biggest ever! However, we do agree with Sarah Mower, manager of Mickey’s Place, who believes there will be some exciting inductions in the near future.