COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. - Since his 2009 election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Rickey Henderson has heard the same words upon each return trip to Cooperstown: “He looks like he could still play the game.”
On Memorial Day Weekend, the 54-year-old Henderson will have a chance to prove it when he suits up for the fifth annual Hall of Fame Classic May 25 at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown. Henderson, a 10-time All-Star who holds the big league records for runs scored (2,295) and stolen bases (1,406), played in the majors until the age of 44. At the age of 39, Henderson led the American League in steals with 66 – the 12th stolen base crown of his career.
Henderson will be one of four Hall of Famers at the Classic, joining pitchers Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage and Phil Niekro. Almost two dozen former big leaguers will also participate in the seven-inning legends game, which is presented by Ford Motor Company. The teams will be managed by former big league skippers Bobby Cox and Cito Gaston.
Cox and Gaston will reprise their 1992 World Series matchup as opposing managers and draw on talent such as Brian Boehringer, Bob Boone, Bret Boone, Bert Campaneris, Doug Creek, Will Clark, John Doherty, Brian Fisher, Dave Fleming, Cliff Floyd, Jeffery Hammonds, Jim Hannan, Todd Haney, Jim Leyritz, T.J. Mathews, Brian McRae, Desi Relaford, Mark Whiten and Dmitri Young.
The Hall of Fame Classic moves to Memorial Day Weekend this year as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum celebrates the time-honored connection between the National Pastime and the nation’s military.
Four soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division will also participate in the Classic, which will begin at 2 p.m. and will be preceded at 1 p.m. by the Legends Hitting Contest at Doubleday Field. The 10th Mountain Division Color Guard and Band from nearby Fort Drum, N.Y., will be featured in pregame ceremonies – including the 12 p.m. Cooperstown Game Day Parade on Main Street – as the Museum presents a salute to our Armed Forces.
Following the Classic, the Hall of Fame will host “A Night at the Museum” – a new event that provides a limited number of fans an unforgettable evening with Hall of Famers and other big league stars from 7-9 p.m. Fans can take pictures with their heroes while sharing a meet-and-greet experience throughout the Cooperstown shrine.
On Friday, May 24, the Museum will host the Legends for Youth Skills Clinic, from 4-7 p.m. at Doubleday Field. Hosted in conjunction with the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, the Clinic gives youth participants ages 5-12 a chance to learn hands-on training from several former major league stars. The event concludes with an autograph session for participants. Registrations are free but limited and can be secured by calling 607-547-0397.
Fans can experience May 24-26 Classic Weekend through two packages available for the first time in 2013:
-Baseball’s Past and Present will feature a baseline ticket on either the first- or third-base side to the Hall of Fame Classic and a one-day Museum admission pass for just $25, a savings of $7 off the regular rate.
-Let’s Play Two features a baseline ticket on either the first- or third-base side to the Classic and entry to “Night at the Museum,” a two-hour exclusive opportunity to meet and greet Hall of Famers and other former big leaguers from 7-9 p.m. at the Hall of Fame. Let’s Play Two is available for $50 per person.
Classic Weekend will feature the return of several family favorites as well as new programs sure to thrill baseball fans of all ages, including: a Hall of Fame golf tournament fundraiser for the Museum; a member photo opportunity with Hall of Fame members; curator-led talks on the history of Doubleday Field; a family photo opportunity at Doubleday Field; the popular Family Catch at Doubleday Field; and other unique programs throughout the Museum.