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History on Main Street: Museum celebrates 75th Anniversary

By BASEBALL HALL OF FAME

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (WKTV) - Babe Ruth stepped to the microphone on June 12, 1939 in Cooperstown and made a birthday wish on the very day the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum was born.
 
"I hope…the next hundred years will be the greatest," said the Babe while standing on the Museum steps on Main Street.
 
Three-quarters of the way to his prediction, the Hall of Fame celebrated its 75th Anniversary in style on Thursday in the historic Plaque Gallery.
 
"This Museum began as a one-room Gallery of plaques and mementos," said Hall of Fame Chairman of the Board Jane Forbes Clark. "It is now a state-of-the-art, 50,000-square foot internationally renowned history museum. "Seventy-five years after that day in June of 1939, I stand in an institution that has grown to an iconic site that has made an indelible mark on this region and on all of baseball."
 
Hall of Famers Phil Niekro and Cal Ripken were the honored guests on Thursday as the Museum commemorated the anniversary of the celebration on June 12, 1939 when the first four classes of Hall of Famers were enshrined and the Museum officially opened to the public. 
 
Museum visitors packed the Plaque Gallery on Thursday to catch a glimpse of history, sing "Happy Birthday!" to the Museum and enjoy the Hall of Fame's 75th Anniversary birthday cake.
 
"This is like our second home," Niekro said. "I feel like I'm surrounded by family. This is the magical village of the USA."
 
Thursday also featured a roundtable filled with memories as local residents Homer Osterhoudt, Howard Talbot and Catherine Walker - who were all present 75 years ago when the Museum opened - reminisced about that historic day with Museum visitors in the Hall of Fame's Bullpen Theater.
 
"The coolness of this group comes in being with the group," Ripken said of his Hall of Fame brethren. "Just looking out over Otsego Lake and realizing what you've accomplished is the coolest thing in the world."
 

The anniversary celebration will continue into Friday highlighted by the opening of the Museum's new exhibit Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend, a tribute to one of the game's most colorful figures and his lasting impact on the National Pastime.  

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