Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Some Closing Thoughts on HOF Weekend

Due to a variety of travel issues, I haven't been able to weigh in with a few thoughts from HOF induction weekend before now. (In case you missed it, I posted a ton of pictures from the Parade of Legends here, and I'll try to put up the rest on Flickr this weekend.)


Travel problems coming and going to Cooperstown over the weekend did not detract from the main event. And the baseball gods answered the prayers of Astros fans everywhere on Sunday, granting us good weather for the induction ceremony. [Note to self: Be careful what you wish for! The sun was blazing hot and your intrepid correspondent thought she might pass out before Randy Johnson finished his speech.]

I don't care what the crowd estimates said. I personally thought that there were more people at the ceremony on Sunday than there were at last year's induction, based solely on my eyeball estimates of how many people were sitting on the hill last year versus this year, but in any event, it was at least a comparable number. But one thing cannot be disputed. Astros fans were well in the majority of those who attended. Everywhere you looked ...

Young fans

And not so young fans

And although there was a lot of orange, there was also a wide variety of Astros plumage in evidence ...

There were some very familiar faces in the crowd as well ...

Bill Brown

Tal Smith

Rex Jones

And one VERY familiar head of hair ...

Alyson Footer

The ceremony itself, honoring Craig Biggio, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez, was wonderful. The chants of B-G-O were robust. The tears were flowing. And the Astros faithful were ecstatic to see their adopted son of Houston enshrined in the Hall as the first player to sport an Astros cap on his plaque.


There was one theme that kept emerging throughout the weekend. Everywhere that my sister and I went we looked for Astros merchandise. Outside of the Hall of Fame gift store, there were very few stores that carried ANY Astros gear other than a few dusty brick red open star hats. Those that did carry Astros gear sold out quickly. You might be able to find a few small size T-shirts here and there, but that was about it.

Everyone seemed to have been surprised by the number of Astros fans who descended upon Cooperstown for the weekend. Everyone ... shopkeepers, organizers and media alike ... seemed to have underestimated the Astros fan base. Similarly, everyone seems to be underestimating the team that is currently playing in Minute Maid Park.

Those shopkeepers haven't been paying attention and they weren't prepared for what was to come. The AL West teams are starting to figure it out, though. Underestimate the 2015 Astros at your own risk. This team may not get as far as fans hope they will this year. But, again, they just might. In any event, the Astros system is poised to remain in contention for a very long time. That should no longer come as a surprise to anyone.

One final note .... with the news that the Hall of Fame has finally culled their voting rolls of those writers who haven't covered baseball in more than a decade, I am suddenly much more optimistic as to Jeff Bagwell's chances to get into the Hall and to do so quickly. Those dinosaurs who hadn't covered a baseball game in years and who relied upon unsubstantiated rumor and innuendo in order to make their decisions will soon give way to writers who are actually engaged in watching baseball every single day during the season and who might actually have some informed insight into these things.

Which brings me to this. Shortly before heading to the airport on Monday, my sister and I had lunch at the Doubleday Cafe on Main Street in Cooperstown. This sign was in the restroom. When I left, I thought sadly that I probably wouldn't be back next year because Bagwell wouldn't be likely to get in for another year or two. Now my hopes have surged that the writing on this chalkboard was a happy omen.

I hope to be back in Cooperstown again next year and I hope to see another adopted son of our City become immortalized. I also hope to see another sea of orange in the crowds and in the shops. Do not ever underestimate the Astros faithful again, Cooperstown. We are a force to be reckoned with. Our team is a force to be reckoned with. It's no longer a secret and it should no longer be a surprise to anyone.


  1. Great memories, Jayne. Made me smile when you said you ate at the Cafe before leaving. I did the same though it was for dinner. I was literally the last one to leave and spoke to the waitress saying I hoped to be back again soon. What a great weekend. Still cannot wipe the smile off my face.

    P.S. - You are dead right about underestimating H-Town Nation. We were strong and loud and everyone seemed to be so surprised by it. Not me.

  2. The shops in Cooperstown do not seem to be very good at marketing. To not have more than enough Astros items for the FIRST Astro inducted...!??