OT- Cooperstown for HOF weekend

Submitted by Eat Your Wheatlies on May 14th, 2016 at 8:24 PM

So I'm heading to Cooperstown this July for HOF weekend to see my childhood idol, Ken Griffey Jr., get inducted into the Hall. Just looking for any advice on how to approach this. I tried getting a hotel room months ago, but they were already booked within a 90 minute drive. Me and my brother are planning on driving from Toledo early Saturday morning to get there and tour things that afternoon, then watch the ceremony on Sunday before heading to Boston. 

I'd love to know if anyone has experience with HOF weekend, and what their recommendations are. How early should we arrive at the induction venue? How long will we wait to tour the musueum this weekend? Any good places to eat in the area? Does anyone know if the HOFers do autograph signings? Since we're not getting a hotel, we're planning on crashing in the truck for the night, so a location to park of the night would be great.

I'm sure some of the MGoCrowd has been in attendance, so just trying to get as much info as possible before we head to the Mecca of baseball. Thanks in advance!

Comments

GoBlueBill

May 14th, 2016 at 9:30 PM ^

My brother and I went years back. Getting a room then was even harder . It was the same weekend as Woodstock. Pretty sure it was 1999 .

I went to see my Idol Nolan Ryan be inducted .

I think we drove in the night before/morning of then we just drove back later that night . Im sure we stopped somewhere to sleep but I dont remember. We may have just slept in our vehicle . We went on the cheap as we were young and didnt have much money .

 

I really dont remember a lot about it.  I do know there were a bunch of All stars and HOF'ers all over the place doing signings . Pete Rose was near by even though he couldnt be too close to the Hall itself .

Sorry i couldnt be more help to you . Have a good time .

Grampy

May 14th, 2016 at 10:06 PM ^

Glimmerglass State Park in north of town, on the east side of Otsego Lake. I stopped there a decade ago and found it to be lovely. It's maybe 15 miles north of Cooperstown, but it will likely be booked, so check on reservations (don't remember how NY state parks handle such things - we had the place to ourselves in September). HOF is a fun place to visit if you have any appreciation of the long history of the game

Macenblu

May 14th, 2016 at 10:30 PM ^

So I'm actually from Cooperstown. I'd be a totally hospitable MGoHost if I still lived there but I moved away a year ago.

Not to be a Debbie Downer but HOF weekend is truly the worst weekend to visit. Cooperstown is literally a small village of approximately 2500 residents and only has 1 stop light in town and yet over 15000 visitors come every week because there are 2 local baseball camps that go on throughout the summer. These campers and their families book up all of the hotel spaces and many B&Bs. As a few people mentioned earlier there are a few campgrounds that occasionally will have space. Because Mike Piazza is going in to the Hall as a Met you will have a significant crowd this year as well.

The induction ceremony takes place out at the Clark Gym which is about 1/2 mile from town. Parking can be a nightmare because there just isn't the space for that many vehicles in the town. People will rent out spaces on their lawns for anywhere between $20-$50. The locals are very nice and won't screw you over.

Visiting the Hall itself is an entire Greek tragedy unto itself. On most summer days it is completely packed due to the camp traffic. On HOF weekend it is a complete disaster. Best of luck trying to enjoy it with all of the people there but I understand that this might be your only chance to see it.

For food there is a very good pizza place called Sal's on Main St. There is also a local place called Doubleday Cafe which is always packed but is a quality local joint. Again, expect every place to be busy.

Finally, you likely won't be able to get autographs from Griffey or Piazza because the HOF has a fairly strict schedule for them throughout the weekend. Other HOF's will be on Main St at different times signing and I believe last year they even had a space for them near the golf course.

Sorry for the rather negative post. The induction ceremony used to occur in town and was a fantastic event but since it has become so big they moved it out of town which has made it a fairly sterile event. Enjoy it the best you can.

Eat Your Wheatlies

May 14th, 2016 at 11:47 PM ^

I was so excited when you said you were from Cooperstown and thought I'd hit the jackpot, haha. I've been before, so seeing the museum itself isn't the focus. I'm more looking forward to paying hommage to Griffey. I would have loved to have snagged his autograph, but I'm sure there will be other opportunities. I appreciated the feedback. I wasn't expecting to be blown away, as it just seemed like a cool stopping point on the way to Boston.

Macenblu

May 15th, 2016 at 12:49 AM ^

So I actually umpired at both Dreams Park and All-Star Village. Believe me, we always argued that they were tournaments too but when you are there the administrators at both places refer to them as "camps". Don't ask me why though. By the time we got to week 13 of the summer I was so ready to be done with all of the whiners

Macenblu

May 15th, 2016 at 5:53 PM ^

Went to high school in the Albany area and moved to Oneonta in 2003. I reffed baseball, soccer, and basketball so I had to deal with Frank Miosek on a fairly regular basis. Cring and I did baseball/soccer together too

Real Tackles Wear 77

May 14th, 2016 at 10:48 PM ^

I have been to the HOF several times but never for the induction, I plan to try induction weekend in a few years when some of my favorites get in. IMO the best time of year is from the beginning of the "season" to about now. Most of the town, including restaurants and hotels, shuts down for the winter and then you have a short sweet spot where things are open but it isn't too crazy when kids are still in school. If you can get that to overlap with good weather it's perfect. Howe Caverns is also a favorite attraction to stop on your way up.

Doc Brown

May 15th, 2016 at 12:00 AM ^

I went a couple years for the Greg Maddux induction. We stayed in Schenectady. It as the closest we could get. We went to the HoF Museum a few hours before the HoF parade. It wasn't that packed. Afterwards we went up to Brewery Omnegang. Totally recommend Omnegang. It is a beautiful Brewery.

UM Indy

May 15th, 2016 at 12:04 AM ^

I went when Barry Larkin was inducted. Favorite player because of the UM and Reds resume. Didn't even try to get into the museum that weekend but had been before so it wasn't a big deal. Stayed in Utica and drove back and forth. Highlight was the parade of Hall of Famers through town the night before. Don't miss that. I seriously considered going for Junior's induction as he's probably my second favorite player behind Larkin but it just didn't work out. Enjoy!

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Old Alum

May 15th, 2016 at 12:18 AM ^

I'm going too, for my all time favorite, Mike Piazza. I grew up in Queens near Shea Stadium, and I have been a Mets fan my whole life. I made reservations at a hotel well in advance of the announcement because we hoped this would be the year Piazzs would make it and it finally is.

Anyhow, I've been to the induction ceremony and HOF weekend before. What we did was find a parking space on Saturday when we got there. The people were very nice and let us pre-pay and guaranteed us the spot for Sunday. Lots of locals rent out their lawns for this purpose. I'd recommend doing the same when you arrive...find a spot for Sunday on Saturday. It makes it a whole lot easier for the ceremony on Sunday.

The ceremony itself is at a huge outdoor field. People arrive early and stake out their spots and leave their tailgate chairs out on Friday or Saturday and then come back to them on Sunday. We left our chairs out on Saturday morning and they were fine. So plan on doing that the day you arrive too. When you get to the field you'll see what I mean, there's a huge area with lawn chairs and tailgate chairs reserving spots well in advance. Then on Sunday, you just drive to your reserved parking spot (on someone's lawn) and leave the car, and go to your chair that is miraculously still there right where you left it.

The ceremony itself is very nice and informal.

I've been to Cooperstown for HOF weekend twice and I have still not actually gone to the Hall of Fame because it's just too crowded and I won't wait in a long line and fight crowds to get in. We rented a boat last year which was nice and one year my friends played golf. You need advance reservations for either of those.

The town itself is small but well worth walking through. Lots of famous players are around signing. I'm not one for autographs but I ran into to Darryl Strawberry a few years back and i got a photo with him. He liked me because I had my Mets shirt on even though no Mets were going in that year, so there weren't many Mets shirts around that year. This year of course will be different. Most of the players are very friendly if you run into them as long as you're not intruding on their space.

There is also a parade of all the Hall of Famers in attendance, which is a lot. The parade is great, so many legends and they look genuinely happy. Don't miss the parade.

That's all I got. Have fun and try to avoid the crowds. Let's go Mets.

OHbornUMfan

May 15th, 2016 at 6:56 AM ^

I'm in the area, so I can contribute a little insight and echo the sentiments of some others.  If you're just looking for a place to park your truck and sleep, jump off of 88 one exit early  (Exit 16) and head to the north side of the highway - there's a 24 hr. Price Chopper (grocery) where you can probably rest undisturbed for a few hours, and then grab a cup of hot coffee and a fresh-ish bagel in the morning.  

I'd suggest an alternate route into town than the maps will tell you.  Hang a right at the light in Milford, and then a left on Co. Rd 33 just outside of town.  This will get you away from the bulk of the traffic, and it'll take you right past Ommegang.  If your schedule allows for a tasting and a meal there, I'd recommend taking advantage.  33 runs parallel to SR 28 and will bring you into Cooperstown right next to the Clark Sports Center without taking you through town, where I imagine traffic will be a nightmare.

Have a great time!

Leatherstocking Blue

May 16th, 2016 at 8:29 AM ^

As a resident of Cooperstown, I've seen a few inductions. A quick scan of the comments didn't mention my favorite part of Induction weekend: hall of fame parade. This relatively new event puts all the returning hall of famers paired up in the back of F-150 pickups and roll them down Main Street. Considering the past few years has seen nearly 50 returning hall of famers, it is the only place you can see these guys up close.

Glimmerglass is a good recommendation and don't rule out Ommegang as a place that might let you park overnight. They do concerts and allow camping for some of those.

Probably route 28 is the only route that will have traffic. The county roadswill be empty. There are at least 6 roads in and out of Cooperstown and route 28 counts for two of them.