This is the second part of my Trip to Cooperstown. Since the first one was a little long, we decided to split it into two posts. The first part can be found here.
Headed down to the second floor, there are two exhibits that are featured. The first one focuses on Abner Doubleday “baseball invented Doubleday” in 1839 and the history behind the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. I thought it was really interesting to learn all about Doubleday and even see what the first “ball” that he threw looked like. Obviously, donning my Cubs attire, I had to get a picture taken of a portrait of Mr. Doubleday himself.
The second exhibit on the second floor focuses on the game of baseball from 1900-present. With that huge array of dates, you can only imagine how much memorabilia and sheer amount of stuff is located within this exhibit. By far the most interesting part of this old time exhibit for me was seeing what the early playing equipment looks like, especially the catchers gear. The makeshift gloves and catchers masks they used. As a catcher growing up and having new age equipment, I have no idea how catchers didn’t die wearing that gear. The sheer expansiveness of this floor is too much for me to even talk about. If you want to know the history of baseball, you must visit this floor and see all the sights. It’s glorious.
Saving the best for last, we headed back to the first floor and walked into the shrine filled with the greatest people to ever be a part of the game of baseball. The bronze busts of each National Baseball Hall of Fame member fill the oak walls from top to bottom. There are 306 total people lining these walls, enshrined in this temple of baseball holiness forever. It was a beautiful sight to witness and one that I never will forget. On the back wall, the original class of Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner and Walter Johnson, are singled out and makes known the start of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Finally, the other clever exhibit on the first floor is a small one and somewhat hidden. It features all kinds of memorabilia from baseball films. Being the movie buff that I am, especially with a soft spot for baseball-related movies, I got a kick out of this exhibit. There’s even a list that gives all the names of every baseball movie, which was quite informational – I mean, did you know there are three Sandlot movies? I knew of two, but not the third. There was even a great black and white photo of my brilliant Twitter avatar, (if you don’t follow me, you probably should @hamsterjockey) Rick ‘Wild Thing’ Vaughn, made famous in the Major League films.
Overall, my first trip to Cooperstown and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum was a definite success. It was so much history packed into one visit though, so I feel like I did miss out on some things. However, that just means I will have to go back in a few years. I highly recommend that if you have not been there, visit as soon as you can. If you have visited there previously, I highly suggest that you go back and see the new memorabilia and exhibits.
*Note: the old playing equipment photo is courtesy of Google Maps. You can take a tour of the Baseball Hall of Fame via Google Maps. Technology is awesome.