All that was missing was the Bambino — and the sun.
On a rainy, late-spring day that forced the festivities inside, the Baseball Hall of Fame celebrated its diamond anniversary on Thursday with more than 300 people gathered in the museum’s showpiece Plaque Gallery.
“It’s a significant birthday. It’s well worth celebrating,” Cal Ripken said. “It is the history of baseball.”
Stephen Clark, a Cooperstown native and grandson of one of the founders of the Singer Sewing Machine Co., and National League president Ford Frick were the main movers behind the creation of the Hall of Fame, and they championed the idea based on the myth that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown.
The first sports hall of fame in the world opened in 1939 and has morphed from a one-room building into a 50,000-square-foot shrine with 40,000 artifacts and a library featuring 3 million items.
“We are baseball’s version of the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress, all in one,” said Hall of Fame Chairman Jane Forbes Clark, granddaughter of Stephen Clark. “It has made an indelible mark on this region and all of baseball. What a visionary my grandfather was, taking Cooperstown and giving it things that would carry it into the next century.
“Even though he saw the world in a much longer-term fashion than most, I think even he would be in awe of what’s happened,” she said,
The first class of inductees was elected in 1936 — Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Honus Wagner and Babe Ruth — and the Hall of Fame opened three years later — 100 years after the Doubleday idea was born.
Ruth was the centerpiece of that first class, and he attended the Hall of Fame’s official opening on June 12, 1939. The Hall of Fame has had nearly 16 million visitors since its opening day, and to help mark its milestone birthday a new Babe Ruth exhibit opens today.
Clearing the bases
The Arizona Diamondbacks have optioned Trevor Cahill to Class A Visalia, claimed infielder/catcher Jordan Pacheco from the Colorado Rockies and designated infielder/outfielder Nick Evans for assignment. … The Pirates have signed high school shortstop Cole Tucker, the team’s first-round pick last week.