Sunday, July 3, 1988

1988 Vacation Baseball Hall of Fame (7/2-3/1988)

Saturday, July 2, 1988
Up at 7:00 to do a load of laundry, which allowed Kyle and Erich to watch Saturday morning cartoons. When the laundry was done and Kent had made sandwiches, we left about 10:30 to head across New York State. We followed Main Street to Clarence and hoped to do some antique shopping, but places were closed, moved, or sold reproductions. At Pembroke we got gas and got on the NY Thruway. Had a picnic lunch at the Clifton Springs rest area.
I took over driving and we exited at Exit 31 for Utica, paying a $1.60 toll. Nearby we found the Best Western Gateway Motel and checked in. It was cloudy and cool, but Kyle and Erich spent some time in the pool.
Erich and Kyle at the Best Western Motel pool
They played video games while Kent showered. In the car, we drove along Genesee Street through the city of Utica, population nearly 73,000. Small downtown, then big houses along the main street. Once we reached New Hartford, we turned around and wandered through some back streets.
We returned to the main drag to eat at Johnny Appleseed’s Tavern, a family restaurant with a bar, and backgammon game lined up for those who were waiting for tables. There was no waiting today. Kyle opted for the kids’ menu chicken fingers with barbecue sauce and waffle fries, and milk. The rest of us had chicken parmigiana, with two pieces of thick chicken, and pasta with sauce. And we had salads, too! Stuffed ourselves, and left $45. As we left, the kids got free candied apples. Kent drove as the rest of us walked back to the motel. Played some catch with the baseball, before showering and heading to bed.

Sunday, July 3, 1988
We checked out of the Best Western for $62 and went up the street to the Village Pancake House for breakfast. Had a bit of a wait because only one cook was on duty, and he was making giant pancakes. Kyle and Erich had three pigs in giant blankets on top of a fourth pancake. Kent had two eggs over easy, with two sausages, home fries, and a biscuit. I had the same, except instead of sausage I had four pieces of bacon I shared with the boys. Left about $25.
By 8:00 we were on our way on NY-5S East, with hardly any cars on the road. Saw a red fox limping across the road. A pick-up truck going the other direction stopped. Kent thought it might be the police or a ranger. Drove through some small towns with fine Victorian houses. Turned south on NY-28 into Cooperstown where cars were lined up for an antique show. We continued down Main Street with its diagonal parking and found a parking spot a building away from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, which had just opened at 9:00.
National Hall of Fame and Museum
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum guide
Hall of Fame and Museum
adult tickets
Hall of Fame and Museum
child tickets
Paid the entrance fee of $5/adult and $2/child. Went right up to the second floor with a chronological history of baseball, from prehistoric stick and ball games to the present. Saw uniforms, gloves, ball from historic moments, and photos of players. Saw how the game evolved, and that the tricks of yesteryear are illegal today (spit balls, dropping infield flies, etc.) The history included the early black or Negro leagues, and the contribution of early black players. There were displays on the evolution of the bat, the ball, and catcher’s equipment. World tours, including to Japan, were shown, and Casey Stengel (inducted in 1966) and Hank Aaron (inducted in 1982) were featured. One room showcased All-Star games. We went upstairs to see a pretty complete exhibit of baseball cards and stamps. A Babe Ruth Memorial contained his locker. A wall display on the minor leagues and youth leagues. More on the evolution of the uniform, including experimental ones. Models of ball parks, and memorabilia from World Series games. Interesting was a display showing Ted Williams strike zone with balls showing his batting averages, all above .200 it seemed for balls thrown in that part of the zone. We headed down to the first floor to see the art gallery and Great Moments. The Cooperstown Room explains why Abner Doubleday, a military hero, was called the Father of Baseball, mostly because a baseball was found in his effects. Thus Cooperstown was adopted as the home of baseball.
Cooperstown was founded in 1786 by Judge William Cooper. He was the father of James Fenimore Cooper, author of “The Last of the Mohicans.” Otsego Lake was called Glimmerglass in his stories. The National Baseball Commission made an official decree in 1908 that Doubleday founded baseball in 1839 in a cow pasture in Cooperstown, while a student at West Point. Now equal credit is given to New York City resident Alexander Joy Cartwright who devised the playing field and rules. We continued down to the basement to see the manufacture of baseball equipment, the displays on the present teams, and the records room, updated every Monday. The highlight film of the hour was the 1986 World Series, lost by the Red Sox. We skipped it and went to the gift shop, where Kyle and Erich bought souvenir batting helmets. There was now a long line waiting to enter the actual Hall of Fame, which of course, we perused to see the plaques of all the members. Having spent 2.5 hours at the museum, we walked up and down Main Street, and saw many young Japanese guys. 

We drove down NY-28 to Oneonta, the home of the Soccer Hall of Fame! But we went on to find I-88, which we took to Cobleskill where we stopped to have lunch at a Burger King. On our way back to I-88, we saw a sign for Howe Caverns, but thought we needed to get Kyle and Erich home to their mother. Got on I-90/NY Thruway after getting gas, continued on the Mass Turnpike, turned down MA/RI-146 and arrived home at 17:00. We called Mary Jane several times, but no answer. Finally at 19:00, we decided to have dinner at the Peking Restaurant. Kyle and Erich started with egg roll, and Erich had wonton soup. Kent and I had hot and sour soup. The boys had chicken lo mein, and Kent and I had the Mysterious Taste chicken, related to Little Chopsticks Strange Flavor chicken? Left about $25. Kyle and Erich ended up staying the night.

No comments: