Saturday, July 30, 2011

A reader goes to Cooperstown

In the week leading to Bert Blyleven's Hall of Fame induction, I put out two calls (one in the print column, one in the blog) looking for readers who were going to the ceremonies in Cooperstown, N.Y., my idea being that I would stitch their tales together for a print column.

The Salge family outside the Hall of Fame entrance.
I heard from two. One was a retired gentleman from Hanska who was talking about making a road trip out there; his plan was sufficiently vague as not to be a plan (he asked me about the hotels in Cooperstown, and I had to tell him there isn't a lot there and what is there was spoken for long ago). If he made it out there, I haven't heard from him.

The other ...

Tara Salge and her husband grew up in Blue Earth County (one in Mapleton, the other in Good Thunder) and now live in Buffalo, N.Y., where they have apparently managed to resist the proximity of the Toronto Blue Jays and the gravitational pull of the Yankees to remain Twins fans.

Buffalo sounds close to Cooperstown, and it is closer than southern Minnesota, but in truth nothing is really in proximity to Cooperstown. In her first email she said it was a four-hour trip, and they hadn't been to the Hall of Fame before, but Blyleven's induction was the perfect excuse.

From there, I'll let Tara tell it, with a little editing:

I just wanted to touch base with you on our trip to Cooperstown. What a great sight to see! 
Saturday evening there was a parade with some of the past Hall of Fame inductees. Crowds lined Main Street in Cooperstown as the players made their way to the Hall of Fame Museum. Everyone was so excited to see some of their favorite players from the past. There were people of all ages, from all over the U.S. and Canada. I was proud to see such a large number of Twins fans there to cheer on Bert! 
We went into the Hall of Fame museum before the ceremony on Sunday. On our way in a gentleman held the door for us and I realized it was Dick Bremer there with his family. We didn't say anything at the time, but said thank you and went on our way. Once we got to Clarks Sports Complex and settled on a spot to the right of the stage, numerous people were already there with their chairs and blankets set up. It really was just an open field! 
Dick Bremer and Tara Salge
We talked to a man in front of us from San Antonio; he said he used to live in Minneapolis. I told him of our experience that morning with Dick Bremer, expecting him to ask who that was, and he told us that he and Dick are best friends and they were each other's best men in their weddings. He was even Dick's daughter's godfather! Before we knew it, he was on the phone with Dick and he made his way over towards us. So even though we didn't get close to Bert, I got my picture taken with his sidekick, Dick Bremer. He was also so excited to be there sharing the experience with his son. 
Maxwell in his Twins overall.
I found the atmosphere to be so great. There were people wearing shirts with all of the different teams, but there were no rivalries for the weekend. It was full of people who love the game of baseball and came to show support for their favorite team and player! My husband said that even though our son, Maxwell, age 16 months, won't remember the experience, there is something special about sharing the Hall of Fame experience with your son.
In Bert's speech, he said that all of us Twins fans there were hearby circled. I saw some fans had a big sign held up saying "Bert, we now circle you." Congrats to Bert and a great Hall of Fame experience!


  1. Hello, I discovered your blog recently and had been wanting to say that I learn a lot from it. I’ve been a long-distance Twins fan since 1967, growing up in northern New Jersey and living most of my adult life in New York City. I made the day trip to Cooperstown (a four-hour drive and a beautiful one), as well. I had good memories of doing the same ten years earlier for Kirby’s induction. The fun part was that I met quite a few Twins fans this July who also had last been there a decade ago (we agreed that there were fewer people in attendance this time and we needn’t have staked out places sooo early). The atmosphere is always delightful, and we respected the Toronto fans (for Roberto Alomar), and they respected us (also a surprise contingent of Phillies fans to honor Pat Gillick). The fun part is that I had also been there in 1991 to see Rod Carew inducted. (Do you detect a pattern here? I’m wondering whom I’ll see ten years from now).

    Things were different at the Hall of Fame in 1991—everything was more intimate. It also happened that the Twins were scheduled to play in the exhibition game at Doubleday Field that weekend. My brother (a Twins fan who later defected when he moved to Red Sox country) and I were sitting in the right field stands in the tiny ballpark. When Kent Hrbek came up, we had the same thought, and he turned to me and said, “Get ready to catch one.” Well, on the next pitch Herbie hit it right toward us, but it sailed way over our heads into the parking lot. ’91 was such a good year, and that was a little part of it.

  2. hello my name is Maxwell Salge age 12