On Tuesday, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America elected pitchers Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz, and a multi-positional player Craig Biggio to the Hall of Fame. They will be inducted the weekend of July 24-27. It was the first time since 1955 that the BBWAA elected four players in one year.
It will be the second straight strong Hall of Fame class following last year’s inductions of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa.
And it’s a long cry from 2013 when the baseball writers did not vote anyone into the Hall.
Things look promising over the next few years, as well, as players such as Ken Griffey Jr. and Trevor Hoffman are eligible next year, followed by New York Yankees’ favorites Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte in 2019 and Derek Jeter in 2020.
Russ Smith can easily tell when a well-known player is being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Smith’s disposal company has the responsibility of cleaning after the Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremonies in the summer.
“We go over there and get a quarter of a load or we go over there and we fill up two trucks,” Smith said, while sitting Tuesday in the Cooperstown Diner.
This summer, Smith should be collecting a lot of trash.
“It probably brings more people … and big fans, but it is also nice to have the little guys that aren’t getting paid millions and millions of dollars to actually have a spot here,” said Paige McKinsey, who was visiting the Hall of Fame from Pennsylvania, when asked if bigger names will bring more people to the community.
Local businesses, meanwhile, are hoping to benefit from an influx of visitors when well-known players are enshrined.
“Induction is a very exciting weekend here in Cooperstown, and we absolutely love to see anybody be inducted, but to have some big-name players is certainly very positive for Main Street businesses,” said Sarah Mower, manager of Mickey’s Place, a baseball memorabilia store at 74 Main St. “When you get bigger player names who are going to be inducted that weekend, it certainly increases the crowd dramatically, which is what we found last year with Maddux and Glavine.”
Just down the street from Mickey’s Place, Cindy Bissell, manager of the Cooperstown Diner, has seen how much of an impact big-name players can have on business. She usually has a line outside of the 20-seat restaurant she manages during a normal induction weekend. But that line can swell when bigger names come to town.
“It’s because they’re more popular,” Bissell said. “They’re more well-known.”
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