The Cooperstown Flood

Greetings from Cooperstown, New York, where baseball did not begin, but where it could conceivably end Sunday at what could easily wind up being the first-ever underwater Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies.

At least seven separate cloudbursts drenched this quaint village and the surrounding “Leatherstocking” district of the James Fenimore Cooper works, and the only hope is that the forecast for Sunday (rain, possibly thunderstorms) will be as inaccurate as today’s was.
Here is Main Street, Cooperstown, at about 6:00 PM, during what all official and unofficial weather outlets insisted was “72 and Mostly Sunny”:
This was at about the point where this, the sixth rain, started to hit hard enough to blow the dirt out of the planters next to the shops.
Thus were the hottest commodities in this stretch of American commercialism that rivals any four blocks in the nation, not Jim Rice jerseys nor Rickey Henderson t-shirts nor even Pete Rose autographs (he’s here again), but, simply, umbrellas. One woman was overheard delighting in the red bumbershoot, matching her favorite team’s colors. “Now all I have to do is draw an ‘F’ on it for ‘Phillies.'” She paused. “No, a ‘P.'”
Here is the Hall of Fame itself, the last time I got close enough to confirm it was still there.
And overheard moments later, from one of the people in the foreground, the early frontrunner for quote of the weekend: “Where’s the Chinese food again?”
That, of course, is until Sunday’s speeches, whether they are conducted outdoors, indoors, or on an evacuation raft. Rickey Henderson will necessarily be fabulous; the long-suffering Jim Rice has been underrated both for his speaking and the depth of his thought; and, it will be fascinating to hear Joe Gordon’s daughter – who claims her father never spoke of the game at home – accept on behalf of a second baseman whose career parallels that of Ryne Sandberg (except for Gordon’s five World Series rings). But the sleeper bet for best speech is from Tony Kubek, the Ford C. Frick Broadcasting winner, whose prowess as a Yankees shortstop (they did not truly replace him until the ascent of Jeter) and fearlessness and insight as an NBC, Toronto Blue Jays, and Yankees announcer, were never fully appreciated until he suddenly left the game in protest of the materialism that seemed to have reached a tragic peak around the time of the 1994 strike, and the owners’ cancellation of The World Series.



    Looks like we just missed each other, as I was there on Thursday for my first pilgrimage to baseball mecca. You have to love a town where the local CVS can host a Fergie Jenkins signing.

  2. 1948braves

    Keith, I was so hoping you were going to be in Cooperstown this weekend. I can’t wait to read all of your articles and see your beautiful photos. I hope you drop by and pay a visit to Warren Spahn.

    Hall of Fame: Ty Cobb may have been baseball’s greatest player, if not the game’s fiercest competitor. His batting accomplishments are legendary — a lifetime average of .367, 297 triples, 4,191 hits, 12 batting titles (including nine in a row), 23 straight seasons in which he hit over .300, three .400 seasons (topped by a .420 mark in 1911) and 2,245 runs. Intimidating the opposition, The Georgia Peach stole 892 bases during a 24-year career, primarily with the Detroit Tigers.

    Please tell us after going through the museum, who you think is the greatest ballplayer in your opinion. Who do you think was better than Cobb. Is there anyone NOT in the HOF who you think deserves to be?

    We’re all very happy in Boston for Jim Rice. He has given us a great feeling of pride and a whole lot of wonderful, wonderful memories. But you know, this is always a special weekend for baseball fans, regardless of who is inducted. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. It’s great to have you there, to fill us in on everything as it happens.

    Cheers Keith. I hope you have a great time.

    “I have no regrets … One day I was able to play professional baseball. One day I was able to play in a World Series. One day I was able to be a Hall of Famer. One day I was able to be an MVP. As far as disappointments, I have no disappointments at all.” Jim Rice

  3. beegee

    well, i watched the ceremony on MLB tv – rickey was, amazing. rice – who cares – i’m a met fan and he’s red sox nation.. so who cares.
    but rickey, he astounded. i thought for sure he would showboat… but he didnt. he was great.
    as for the rain – KO – did you not spend 4 yrs in upstate NY??? c’mon you know how it is. it threatened rain here all day in albany — and didnt rain.
    as mark twain wrote about new england – if you dont like the weather, just wait a minute.
    and be thankful we arent in Binghamton!!
    hope youre back on countdown tomorrow nite.. I be missing you!

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