Induction Monday, July 27

       The busiest place in town is the tiny Cooperstown diner. It probably seats 6 people and has a line out the door for the first 7 hours of each morning.

Cooperstown Diner
The Cooperstown Diner on Monday morning, July 27

       Perhaps one of the best kept secrets of Induction Weekend is the jewel called the "Legends Event." The Legends Event is a one hour interview with both of the new inductees on the Monday morning after induction Sunday. The Legends Interview is usually open only to Hall of Fame Museum members, but this year the interview was open to the public for a very reasonable $10 charge.

Legends ticket 1

       The interview was held outside and John and I were part of an audience numbering somewhere near 300 people. Faced with the choice of sitting in an audience of 21,000 to hear two short speeches or sitting in an audience of 300 and listening to the two new members of the Hall banter extemporaneously for an hour, I'll take the latter every day.

Legends Interview 1
The outdoor venue of the Legends Interview
at the Clark Center

       We drove down to the Clark Center on Monday morning and, of course, there was no parking. We went out and parked on a nearby street and crossed our fingers that we wouldn't get ticketed or towed. Once we walked onto the grounds of the Clark Center I felt a little better as all 5 officers of the Cooperstown Police force were on the grounds for security (joke here)(or maybe not). Anyway, we got great seats and were offered free bottles of water. It was an absolutely beautiful day.

Legends Interview 3
The Legends Interview

       Jim Rice and Rickey Henderson walked out onto the stage at about 10:30 AM and told some great stories. Rickey was asked which catcher he had the toughest time stealing off of (Bob Boone). Jim Rice discussed playing off the uneven dents of Fenway Park's Green Monster (in the old days). Rickey was asked which pitcher was the most difficult for him to hit (Dan Quisenberry). Jim Rice was asked what he did when he received the call notifying him of his election to the Hall (calmly finished watching his soap operas).

Legends Interview 4
Great bantering between the two rookie members of the Hall

       The interview was over about 11:40 AM and we hustled back to Cooperstown for the last big event on our schedule. I had tickets for autographs from Rickey and Rice and John had a ticket for Jim Rice. By the time we got to Cooperstown, the lines had already been forming for some time. John took his place on the Rice line and I took my place at the very end of the Rickey Henderson line. And we waited. The players didn't show up to the public portion of the signing event until around 12:30 PM.
       Once Rickey Henderson started signing he burned through the line with his usual trademark speed. Within about 40 minutes Rickey had signed for most of the ticketholders. I ran over to the Jim Rice line and found that my brother hadn't moved nearly as quickly through his line. I gave my project to John to take up to Jim Rice and I nudged in next to him as the "photographer." Jim Rice was signing at 7th Inning Stretch. We went up a set of stairs and Jim Rice was in a small room signing away.

John w Rice 2
John with Jim Rice
RM w Rice
Jim Rice signs a fresh copy of Baseball's Hall of Fame 50th Anniversary

       The Jim Rice autograph was the last event of the weekend for John and I. We made the last, long walk back to the Red Lot, situated ourselves and started the long drive home. John drove to Buffalo while I slept and then I drove the rest of the way back to Evansville. We arrived at my place about 6 AM on Tuesday morning. We slept a few hours and then I took John to the airport to fly back to Tampa. John made it back safely and we vowed to do something special next year.

Airport shoes
Me seeing my brother off at the Evansville airport
(Those shoes were in perfect shape before the weekend)

Click here if you want to learn more about my 50th Anniversary of the Hall of Fame book project.