After doing the Hall of Fame in the morning, and getting some Hall of Famer autographs in the afternoon, we went to our first official HOF events of the weekend. At 4:30 was the Hall of Fame Awards Presentation. This consists of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award (writer) and the Ford C. Frick Award (broadcaster).
The Frick Award honored Graham McNamee, who was a true pioneer of baseball radio. He’s one of the first broadcasters to cover the World Series – calling the Yankees first championship back in 1923. He’s obviously passed away, but they had Dick Enberg (last year’s winner) give a brief note on him and did a video tribute. My favorite story was how he got his gig. A great singer, McNamee was on a break from jury duty and went to radio station WEAF to audition for a part. He instead came away with a broadcasting job.
The Spink Award honored Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe. Dan is known for authoring a number of Boston sports books, most notably “The Curse of the Bambino”, and his long tenure with the Globe. He has what I think people consider a prototypical Boston media attitude – he can be harsh but has a lot of wit. He started his career in Baltimore but then came back to the Boston Globe where he grew up. Dan gave a really nice speech. He mixed some of that wit and none of that harshness, and wove in a bunch of players that were sitting behind him (the players all went from the autograph shows to this event). My favorite was of him in his first year at Baltimore, sticking a microphone in front of the straw that stirs the drink.
After Shaughnessy, the Hall did a tribute where FDNY Batallion Chief Vin Mavaro told his story of sifting through the rubble of the World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks. This was days later, and as he described it, their mission had changed from rescue to find/salvage. Where almost everything had been crushed and pulverized, he found a baseball virtually intact. It had the logo of a company called TradeWeb, and he was happy to learn that, unlike many others, the company had accounted for all of its employees in the building. Baseball played its part in healing the nation in 2001, and this was a good story to recount. The HOF did this to honor the 15th anniversary of the attacks, and it was appropriate that Piazza and Griffey – who had their own unique stories about helping out after 9/11/01 – were inducted.
After the ceremony was the Legends Parade – we got a good spot to watch at the corner of Main and Chestnut. It was cool – every Hall of Famer comes out the west side of Doubleday Field after the ceremony on their own truck. I took way too many pictures of this, but here’s 2 of the current inductees.
After that, we went to a new restaurant in Cooperstown – right on the corner we viewed. It’s called Mel’s 22, and it’s got great food though could use a little help with the seating / management aspect. They probably don’t have nearly as much of a crowd on any other weekend! But it was good food and some good beer. We hit that for dinner and then had a few too many on the pub crawl that followed. After that, we woke up for the Sunday induction, which I’ve already posted. My last Cooperstown post will (hopefully) be tomorrow or Wednesday – covering the Monday event.