What a tremendous day it was for me. I boarded my flight late Friday night, arrived in Detroit, then flew out to Albany. I rented a car and drove an hour to Cooperstown. I arrived around lunch time and the first thing I did was grab a bite from a local cafe. I visited Cooperstown back in 2008 so this is not anything new for me. My whole goal was to witness the induction ceremony. Everything else was a bonus.
Because of such long lines to the museum, I decided to wander around Main Street. The street is filled with baseball memorabilia shops. The last time I was here, I didn’t really give it a good look. This time around, I found some really cool gems. Mickey’s Place is one of my favorite shops but I didn’t discover its existence until after I left my first trip. This time I went there. Since I had already bought so many caps from them online, there was nothing there that I needed. It was still nice to see their stock.
As is custom around induction weekend is that players from the past come out for autograph sessions. I saw Greg Maddux, Vlad Guererro, Lou Piniella. I also shook hands with George Foster but the exciting part was for me to meet Bert Campaneris from the A’s. He signed a ball I had picked up from batting practice from an A’s game and he signed it. He even took a picture with me.
After all that, I decided to go into the museum. Not much has changed since the last time I visited. The only new exhibit was the Hank Aaron exhibit. Because the museum was set to close at 5pm for the parade, I just walked around a little knowing I would get most of my exploring done on Sunday right before the induction ceremony.
Lining up for the parade is an art form. Some people were there for hours. I wondered why they would be there so early. I would later find out that Hall of Famers would sign autographs and their locations were perfect. I didn’t try to get autographs when I got there even though I had chances to try to get one from Rickey Henderson and Ozzie Smith. Most of the autograph signings during the parade happened on the other side of the road. I am going to stay there next time — which likely is next year.
Before the parade, there was a lot of chants for Craig Biggio. Naturally, he had a huge following with so many Astros fans coming along. Here are some pictures on my Facebook page.
Cal Ripken spent the most time signing. After the parade and ceremony indoors, he returned to sign autographs on my side. I tried so hard to get his attention, but he didn’t sign my ball. Next year, I will get it. I have to.
This is just the first day. There is going to be so much more fun at the induction ceremony. I didn’t do too much. Most of my time was just getting some traveling done and making sure I was there for the parade. Tomorrow is when I pack in all the museum seeing and final things to buy. After that and the ceremony, it’s off to Boston.