Longtime Cooperstown resident Carol Highfield lives two blocks away from The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. During the summer induction ceremonies, Highfield enjoys sitting on her porch and watching people from all over take in the experience that comes with Hall of Fame Weekend in Cooperstown.
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of this summer’s induction ceremony, Highfield wanted this year’s inductees and award winners to get a taste of the once-in-a-lifetime experience. So, Highfield organized thinking-of-you cards to be sent to them, including signatures from Cooperstown residents.
“I just happened to think of it,” Highfield said. “I thought it was a nice idea. I was born and raised in this town. I just wanted them to know that we were thinking of them.”
Highfield, who recently turned 80, produced 175 cards and then distributed them around the community for signatures.
“Maybe a month and a half ago I thought of it,” Highfield continued. “Rich McCaffery has been helping me because he knows a lot of people.”
Highfield even took it upon herself to acquire signatures personally, in some instances.
“She went into Schneider’s Bakery the other day and she encouraged them to sign them,” Ann Highfield-Lomonaco, Carol’s daughter, said. “She said she was going to go around the last couple of days and make sure people knew about them.”
Schneider’s Bakery is one of five participating Cooperstown businesses, with Doubleday Cafe, Tunnicliff Inn Pit, Fly Creek General Store and the Baseball Hall of Fame Gift Shop joining in.
“She asked the Hall of Fame to spearhead it, but they couldn’t really take it on,” Highfield-Lomonaco said. “In the age of social media, she wanted to do it in the good old-fashioned way.”
The Hall of Fame did offer to package and send the cards to each of the inductees and their families.
Each card features a heart-shaped baseball design with a blue outline, a message, and the names of the seven inductees and award winners on the bottom of the card.
Derek Jeter would have headlined this summer’s induction, along with Larry Walker, Ted Simmons, Marvin Miller. The 2020 Hall of Fame award winners included Nick Cafardo, Hawk Harrelson and David Montgomery. Miller, Cafardo and Montgomery are deceased.
With the induction getting pushed to next summer, Highfield is already looking forward to what could be the busiest Hall of Fame Weekend Cooperstown has ever seen.
“I’m sure they’re all looking forward to next year,” Highfield said. “I just wanted to thank those that supported the idea and send something to those that deserve it.”