Will lack of big name inductees mean less business for Cooperstown?
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (WKTV) - It's only Friday afternoon and Main Street in Cooperstown seemed busy, but is it as busy at it normally is for a Hall of Fame induction weekend? Maria Hill, who manages the very popular memorabilia shop on Main Street called Mickey's Place says it seems as busy as others years, at least so far. "I think so," Hill said. "People are really coming back just because they can. They're looking forward to it, just like the Hall of Fame induction, and they just come back every year." For the first time since 1996, the Baseball Writers Association of America did not elect a single player to enter National Baseball Hall of Fame. The Pre-integration Era Committee meanwhile selected three people to be inducted this weekend, an owner, a player and an umpire. Those three inductees are Deacon White, who played from 1870 to 1890; umpire Hank O'Day, who last umped a game in 1927; and Jacob Ruppert who owned the New York Yankees from 1915 to 1939. Harvey Judkowitz, who brought his grandson up from Miami, Florida for induction weekend, says he remembers the former Yankee owner. "Jacob Ruppert was really the heart and soul of the Yankees," Judkowitz said. "He's the guy that started what they are today." Judkowitz says he had no idea of who Deacon White or Hank O'Day were. Sasha Gagarin, who owns the baseball shop called Extra Innings on Main Street says she expects good crowds all weekend. "I think it's going to be a strong weekend," Gagarin said. "You get a lot of people that come every year no matter what, even when there are no inductees. You get the guys that have come since the 1950's and 1940's. They started out once, and they loved it one weekend and they just keep showing up." There are those that have planned this trip no matter who was going to be inducted, like Carol Rosengarten and her family who made their way to Cooperstown from Effingham, Illinois this weekend. Rosengarten has fallen in love with the village. "It's fascinating, it really is," she said. "And you don't have to be a baseball fan to enjoy the scenery, the people, the ballgames, it's really an experience."