Colorado Rockies and Cooperstown: My trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame
By Kevin Henry
Today, I crossed an item off my bucket list. I finally made it to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., complete with my Colorado Rockies hoodie. I dare say I was the only Rockies gear-wearer in attendance, but I was proud to represent the purple pinstripes in baseball nirvana.
I have always wanted to make the pilgrimage to Cooperstown and finally worked it in around a trip to Buffalo on other business. Right after I finished up meetings on Friday, I headed east on Interstate 90 toward the Mohawk exit, and eventually snaked my way down to Cooperstown.
Here a few things that really took me surprised me about the trip to Cooperstown and a few things that really stood out to me.
First, Cooperstown is a really cool small town. The Baseball Hall of Fame sits right on Main Street and is surrounded by shops and restaurants and some of the friendliest people I have ever encountered. I ended up having Friday night dinner at Cooley’s Stone House Tavern and watched quite a bit of Game 3 of the World Series there.
That night, I ended up talking to two men from Sydney, Australia who traveled all that way to see baseball memorabilia just like me. I ended up standing for the national anthem in the middle of a bar because that’s what a lot of the other patrons were doing. When the bartender cranks up the TV in time for the anthem, it’s a pretty subtle hint. I ended up cheering on the Houston Astros with a couple from Austin, Texas, who were in town for a trip to the Hall of Fame and a wedding. Hey, if you can combine things, why not?
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After breakfast at the tiny Cooperstown Diner on Saturday morning, I walked just up Main Street to the Baseball Hall of Fame. I have to admit, I was a little surprised that a lump built up in my throat as I got closer. I had dreamed of seeing this place since I was a kid. Now, I was about to live that dream. Reality was a little emotional at that moment.
I was the second person in line at 8:55 a.m. Five minutes later, the doors swung open and I felt like Charlie when Willy Wonka opened the doors to his factory. I bought my ticket, proceeded up the stairs to the second floor and started in the locker room.
Every Major League team has a locker here. I headed straight for Colorado’s to see the memorabilia. A glove from Carlos Gonzalez. A jersey from Troy Tulowitzki along with plenty of other items as well. You can see my Periscope video of the moment and see what is in the locker by clicking here.
I weaved my way throughout the Hall of Fame and paused to take in the uniforms of Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron, all of the diamond-laden World Series rings on display and so many plaques with so many amazing names that brought back so many memories. I tipped my cap to Stan Musial and Mickey Mantle because that is what my grandpas would have done if they were there. I thought back to all of the times I watched Willie Stargell, Andre Dawson, Ryne Sandberg, Ozzie Smith, Johnny Bench and so many others growing up. The memories flooded back of WGN, WTBS and Vin Scully on Saturday afternoons.
Of course, I also had my eye out for Colorado Rockies memorabilia … and there were plenty of items that caught my eye. Charlie Blackmon has a pair of socks in the Hall of Fame. Check the socks they chose out here. The Rockies all-time attendance record is noted. A Rockies hat and Coors Light beer bottle stand side by side. The torn pants of Eric Young are hanging for all to see after his six stolen bases in a game. Even the cowboy hat of columnist Tracy Ringolsby, a fixture in the Rockies press box, is on display.
No, the Rockies may not have the history of the Yankees, Red Sox or Cardinals. However, Colorado was well represented in Cooperstown. I was glad to see that. Now, when Larry Walker and Todd Helton take their rightful places enshrined in the Hall one day, it will be even better.
Next: Sorry, but Coors Field is no more gimmicky than Yankee Stadium. Here is why.
Simply put, if you have never been to the Hall of Fame, put it on your bucket list. It is well worth the time, effort and travel costs. Driving away, I knew it wasn’t bidding Cooperstown and the Hall of Fame goodbye but rather, I will come back soon.