Pal Eldredge

’Pen Pal


Monday, May 28, 2001

Come worship in
the church of baseball

IF you're a fan, a player, former player, coach or if you simply enjoy the game of baseball, you must make a trip to Cooperstown, N.Y., home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. You have to go there to complete your baseball "things to do" list.

I've taken three of my teams there and we've always flown to Syracuse and rented vans to get us to the tiny village of Cooperstown. The drive from Syracuse is about 212 hours and you'll travel through some beautiful countryside, quite unlike the scenery we have in Hawaii.

When you get near the village, you'll begin to notice the baseball theme, as roadside signs will appear. When you get to the village, you'll feel the excitement. The inner energy will grow within you as your adrenaline flows. At least that's the way it was for me.

In the village of Cooperstown, EVERYTHING is baseball. Every single shop has baseball memorabilia for sale, even the U.S. Post Office. The entire town lies within four or five blocks, with shops and restaurants on both sides of the street. There are no fast-food restaurant chains and most stores close at 8 p.m.

The best time to go is probably around this time of year, when there aren't large crowds. If you choose, you could go during the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in July, but the town is always jammed for that.

One of the main attractions is Doubleday Field, where some say baseball started. (But we in Hawaii know that Abner Doubleday didn't invent the game, Alexander Cartwright did. In fact, Cartwright was a fire chief in Hawaii and he's buried at Oahu Cemetery in Nuuanu).

The field is nice and you'll recognize it from movies that have been filmed there, such as "A League of Their Own.''

Stop by to see the groundskeeper, Joe Harris. He has been a good friend to us over the years. Be sure you tell him that I said, "Hello."

OF COURSE, the main attraction is the museum. As you enter, you'll see a statue of one of my heroes, Babe Ruth. They have a new movie theater showing updated material on baseball. You should see that first.

The exhibits are constantly changing and it's something I always think about. What were the other things we didn't see? There are so many things there that they don't have the space to show all of it. If I go there again, the curator promised me a "behind-the-scenes tour," and one day I'm going to take him up on that.

Because I was a catcher, I especially liked the exhibit showing the evolution of the catchers' equipment. You have to be tough to be a catcher now, but not nearly as tough as you had to be years ago, when the equipment was sub-standard.

You can probably see what you need to see in one day, but I'd recommend two. The best time frame would be to arrive there around noon, see a little of the town, then get a good night's rest for the next day.

The motels and hotels in town are fairly expensive, so look for accommodations on the outskirts of town. Check the Cooperstown Web site ( or write to them for a brochure. The people there are friendly and they're very helpful.

So if you've thought about a trip, go ahead and take it. You'll be glad you did. Trust me, if you love baseball, this trip is a must.

Pal Eldredge is a baseball commentator for KFVE
and former varsity baseball coach at Punahou School.
His column runs Mondays during the Major League Baseball season.
Star-Bulletin sports can be reached at 529-4785 or:

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