Unique Baseball Hall of Fame Experience Returning to Cooperstown
You know spring is on the horizon when people begin discussing the return of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Classic at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown.
The Classic is as special as it gets for sports fans in Central New York.
Where else could a fan see each team from one of North America's four major sports being represented at the same time? No NHL, NBA or NFL event has former players in uniform participating on their chosen field at a given time like the cooperation given by MLB for the Hall of Fame each Memorial Day Weekend.
On Saturday May 27, in arguably the most famous location in all of sport, MLB alumni return to their professional roots. The 13th edition of the Classic already has four hall of famers committed to participating as managers and coaches for the 1:05 p.m. exhibition game. Pitching greats Rollie Fingers, Ferguson Jenkins, Jim Kaat, and Jack Morris will be among the line up of baseball's best meeting and greeting fans, and assembling teams.
So far, 10 MLB recently retirees have signed up for the Classic including Brian Dozier (Minnesota Twins), James Loney (Los Angeles Dodgers), Scott Spiezio (Los Angeles Angels), and Glendon Rusch (New York Mets). All are expected to be throwing and hitting balls at Doubleday Field. In total, more than two dozen former big leaguers will be on hand in Cooperstown. Tickets for the Classic, sponsored by Boeing, go on sale March 13, at baseballhall.org or by phone at (407) 564-8059.
A huge fan favorite part of the Classic is scheduled to take place prior to the first pitch. A home run contest is planned for noon on May 27th. Also, one player is awarded the Bob Feller Player of the Game honors. The award is named in memory of the hall of fame pitcher (Class of 1962) who threw three no-hitters and 12 career one-hitters, and will forever be remembered as one of the game's greatest ambassadors.
Garrett Jones, representing the Pittsburgh Pirates, is expected to return in May for his second consecutive Classic appearance. At last year's event, Jones clubbed two home runs and drove in six runs before 4,179 fans, en route to being selected the Bob Feller Player of the Game.
The Classic began in 2009. Due to the pandemic there was no Classic game played in 2020 and 2021.
For a complete schedule of events taking place during the weekend of the Classic, go to baseballhall.org.
Don Laible is a freelance sportswriter from the Mohawk Valley, now living in Florida. He has reported on professional baseball and hockey for print, radio, and on the web since the 1980's. His columns are featured weekly at WIBX950.com. Don can be contacted via email at Don@icechipsdiamonddust.com.