Why is the baseball hall of fame in cooperstown ? The day has finally arrived for former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. Earlier this year, “Big Papi” was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame. He enjoyed a little ceremony at Fenway Park with fellow inductees Rich Gedman and Dan Duquette. Others inducted were the late Bill Dinneen and Manny Ramirez, who had a scheduling conflict and couldn’t attend.
On Sunday, Ortiz hits the big stage as he’s officially inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Ortiz and his friends and family spent the weekend in Cooperstown, New York, the home of the Hall of Fame. Why is Cooperstown home to baseball’s Hall?
Cooperstown has been the home of the Hall of Fame since 1939
It’s there because of the thought Abner Doubleday founded the game there in 1839. After some extensive research, however, it’s believed that’s not the case. According to Baseball Reference, Doubleday never claimed he invented the sport, and the legend was based on one man’s story.
Baseball Reference stated Al Spalding, a former player and sporting goods manufacturer, formed a committee, concluding Doubleday founded the sport.
Spalding organized a panel in 1907, the Mills Commission. The panel consisted of Spalding, two United States Senators, two other former National League presidents, and two other former stars turned sporting goods entrepreneurs.
The final report entailed three sections: a summary written by Spalding of the panel’s findings, a letter by John M. Ward supporting the panel, and a dissenting opinion by Henry Chadwick. The research methods were, at best, dubious.
Spalding’s summary concluded that baseball had been invented by Doubleday in Cooperstown in 1839; that Doubleday had invented the word baseball, designed the diamond, indicated fielder positions, wrote down the rules and the field regulations. However, no written records from 1839 or the 1840s have ever been found to corroborate these claims, nor could Doubleday be questioned because he died in 1893.
Should the Hall be moved from Cooperstown?
He cited no legitimate ties to Cooperstown, and then he added some practical reasons. He mentioned how the Hall struggled to attract visitors, suggesting location as the main reason. Rakich said in 2013, it brought in 260,000 visitors. He compared that to the Brooklyn Museum, which took in more than 500,000.
“The Hall of Fame does a disservice to fans — and to itself — by housing the most important artifacts of our national sport in a place where so few people can go to see them,” he wrote. “Instead, the museum ought to make its home in the capital of baseball, if not the capital of the world. The Hall of Fame needs to relocate to New York City.”
He said the Doubleday story is a “fabrication,” and baseball was born in the big cities.
“Baseball is a composite sketch of several 1800s bat-and-ball games, devised and honed in cities like Boston and Philadelphia,” he wrote. “But the version of the game that won out came from New York City. The first proper baseball team was the New York Knickerbockers, which defined many of the first rules for the sport.”
Rakich has a point, but Cooperstown has been the home of the Hall for 83 years. At least for this weekend, Ortiz and the other inductees are spending their time in Cooperstown.
How The Hall of Fame was Founded
Within the picturesque town of Cooperstown, Major General Abner Doubleday reportedly invented baseball in 1839. For years, there was no answer as to how baseball was formed until the Spalding Commission’s research concluded Doubleday created the game. It has been debated if Doubleday was the true inventor and if Cooperstown was the real home of the game, but the legacy continued to keep the village town its birthplace, and discovered artifacts gave it more proof. Nearly 100 years later, The National Baseball Hall of Fame was established to celebrate and preserve the sport’s history. Iconic players such as Babe Ruth were the first to be inducted, and the Hall of Fame was then opened to the public for visit. Thousands of baseball fans gathered to celebrate the first Hall of Fame induction, and the tradition has continued through today.
The Continuing Legacy
Continuing their efforts to preserve and educate, The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum still provides thousands of visitors with an interesting and unique experience of learning about the sport each year. The museum is home to preserved relics, baseball uniforms from years past, and 250,000 photographs depicting the game’s ongoing evolution. The grounds of the area are also just as memorable to explore compared to the historic hall, especially taking a stroll through Cooperstown. The Hall of Fame has remained on Main Street surrounded by the small-town charm of the nearby shops, and the historic Inn at Cooperstown.
Hotels near the National Baseball Hall of Fame
Looking for accommodations near the National Baseball Hall of Fame? Look no further than the cozy bed and breakfast at The Inn at Cooperstown. Our historic inn is located only one and a half blocks from the National Baseball Hall of Fame, making it an easy walk from our property.
Move the Hall of Fame from Cooperstown to NYC? Don’t be ridiculous
Nathaniel Rakich published a thought-provoking article on Wednesday at The Hardball Times. The thrust: The Baseball Hall of Fame is struggling to attract visitors because of its remote location in Cooperstown, N.Y., and should consider moving four hours south to New York City.
“The Big Apple needs no introduction. It is home to 8.5 million people, and over 50 million more visit each year. That’s a huge potential market for a Hall of Fame that has struggled to attract tourists in recent years. In 2013, the Hall received only about 260,000 visitors — its lowest attendance since the 1980s. By contrast, in New York City, even secondary museums like the Brooklyn Museum top 500,000. A Gotham-based Hall of Fame would become a must-see addition to the typical tourist circuit for the legions of baseball fans who already visit the city regardless.”
Baseball established its Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in the 1930s because of the idea that Abner Doubleday founded the game there in 1839. The idea’s long since been debunked as the most outrageously false myth in a sport that sometimes seems to depend on them.
But out of baseball’s most egregious lie emerged something wonderful. Baseball has the greatest Hall of Fame of any American sport, by a long shot, and Cooperstown is a core part of this. When baseball fans think Hall of Fame, they think Cooperstown. The terms are in fact interchangeable.
That the baseball Hall of Fame commands (and supports) an entire town and that Cooperstown requires a pilgrimage to reach is part of its mystique. In New York City, the Hall of Fame might draw more casual visitors but it’d also be just another museum.
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