Ken Griffey Jr. Hall of Fame Induction – Cooperstown, NY 7/23/16 – 7/24/16

 

Saturday and Sunday, July 23 and 24, 2016

Cooperstown, NY

 

This isn’t the normal hiking blog entry, but it was part of our trip to New York and I’m including it because it was amazing.  Ken Griffey, Jr. has always been my hero and favorite player and I planned a trip up to Cooperstown for his Hall of Fame Induction and then a couple of hikes over in the Berkshires of Massachusetts a few days later.

This is a really long post, so heads up.

 

I have been to the Hall of Fame once before when I was 14 years old.  I remember a lot of it, but the chance to come see my favorite player ever get inducted into the HOF was the chance of a lifetime.   Both sets of parents joined us on this trip as well.

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We stayed in a rented house about 30 minutes outside of Cooperstown on a hill overlooking the valleys.  The sunrises and sunsets were stunning.  The house was situated on 123 acres of land and had a very interesting, if somewhat odd, layout.

Court's dad (Doc) at the house

Court’s dad (Doc) at the house

View out of the Great Room windows

View out of the Great Room windows

Courtney at the table

Courtney at the table

The first day we got up super early and went to the actual Hall of Fame Museum.  We got to one of the free parking lots (Red, Yellow, and Blue) by about 8am and were able to park and then catch the trolley that runs to the Hall of Fame from the parking lots ($2 for an all day pass).

My dad on the trolley to downtown Cooperstown

My dad on the trolley to downtown Cooperstown

I was told that to beat the crowds we needed to arrive early and I’m so glad we did.  We walked right in at around 8:30am and got done with the museum in about 3 hours and by the time we were leaving the line was way down the street and inside was elbow to elbow.

Tickets!

Tickets!

Seattle Mariners locker

Seattle Mariners locker

Court's favorite team is the Red Sox

Court’s favorite team is the Red Sox

Babe Ruth uniform

Babe Ruth uniform

Lou Gehrig - one of my favorites and the reason I was #4

Lou Gehrig – one of my favorites and the reason I was #4

Rogers Hornsby - 2nd best batting average ever and buried just outside of Austin, along with the rest of the Hornsbys

Rogers Hornsby – 2nd best batting average ever and buried just outside of Austin, along with the rest of the Hornsbys

Dad with Mickey Mantle's locker - his favorite player

Dad with Mickey Mantle’s locker – his favorite player

Griffey display

Griffey display

Griffey display

Griffey display

 

The displays upstairs are great, but I really love the actual hall with the plaques as well.  Here are some of my favorite players.

The Hall

The Hall

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Griffey's soon-to-be plaque

Griffey’s soon-to-be plaque

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We ate lunch at the Lake Front Restaurant on the marina at Lake Ostego (aka Glimmerglass Lake) and then explored Cooperstown for a few hours until the Hall of Famer Parade at 6pm.

James Fenimore Cooper statue

James Fenimore Cooper statue

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Lake Front dock

Lake Front dock

James Fenimore Cooper grave

James Fenimore Cooper grave

We staked out a good spot near the start of the parade, which is only about a half mile long, if that.  The plan was to run to the car as soon as the parade ended and drive to the Clark Sports Center where the induction takes place the next day so we could set out our lawn chairs and claim our spots.

chairs set up for the next day

chairs set up for the next day

The next morning we started out early again.  In fact, very early.  The sun rises around 5:30am in New York in the summer and we woke up to an amazing sunrise right outside our bedroom.  The clouds were still in the valley and the crows were just waking up.

We left the house around 7:30am so we could get a spot in the parking lot for the trolleys back downtown.  We went and ate breakfast at the Lake Front again and then went back to check out the Fenimore Museum.  The museum is right by the golf course and several Hall of Famers were teeing off right across the street including Robin Yount, John Smoltz, Ozzie Smith and Rod Carew.

John Smoltz

John Smoltz

Robin Yount

Robin Yount

Ozzie Smith

Ozzie Smith

After the museum we took the trolley back downtown and the line for the buses to the Clark Sport Center was ridiculous, so we set off on foot.  It’s only about a mile.  Luckily we had set our chairs out on the edge of a pathway that security was keeping clear for emergencies, so it was really easy to find our seats and we didn’t have anyone in front of us for about 20 feet.

Walking to the induction

Walking to the induction

Behind us - 50,000 people total at the induction

Behind us – 50,000 people total at the induction

The sun was blazing and we sat in it for about an hour and a half before the ceremony started.  Piazza was inducted first and he had an amazing speech.  I wasn’t a huge Piazza fan coming in, but I definitely was coming out.  Mets fans, on the other hand, decided after Piazza that they weren’t sticking around for Griffey and started walking out in the middle of his speech.  Come on Mets fans.  That’s just piss poor.

Griffey’s speech was also great, even if he couldn’t make it more than a couple of sentences without breaking down.  I held it together really well, until he put his hat on backwards at the end.  That got to me pretty good.

The lines on the video board weren’t there in real life.

 

Walking back with the mob

Walking back with the mob

It was literally a once in a lifetime experience and I am so glad my family was there to see it with me.  We walked back with the huge crowd and stood in line for another hour in the hot street to get a trolley back to our cars.  Court and I went to the grocery store and she cooked up a fantastic meal at the house where we ate and watched the sun go down.

Court making dinner

Court making dinner

Sunset through a glass sculpture hanging in the window

Sunset through a glass sculpture hanging in the window

Fin

Fin

The next morning we were headed to Copake Lake, NY near the border of Western Massachusetts.

 

Continued on next entry…

 

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