Thousands travel to Cooperstown every year for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and for just about everyone who doesn't already live in the upstate New York area, the trek can be time-consuming. The good news is that it's well worth the effort, as this annual celebration is jam-packed with
Thousands travel to Cooperstown every year for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and for just about everyone who doesn't already live in the upstate New York area, the trek can be time-consuming. The good news is that it's well worth the effort, as this annual celebration is jam-packed with much more than just the ceremony.
The Hall of Fame induction event is a weekend-long festival, turning the tiny, charming village into the world's greatest block party. The streets leading up to the Hall of Fame are lined with restaurants, tourist sites and baseball memorabilia shops -- with the odds of running into a Hall of Famer at an all-time high, given the volume of legends who return and the small dimensions of the town.
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The following is a cheat sheet, for those of you who are there, or want to be there, or will be watching on TV:
SUNDAY'S CEREMONY DETAILS
Who is going in?
This year's class will feature the first overall No. 1 Draft pick to be elected to the Hall -- Ken Griffey Jr., who also has the distinction of garnering the highest percentage in history. He'll be joined by the best offensive catcher in history, Mike Piazza, who is on the opposite end of the spectrum as the lowest Draft pick (No. 1,390 in 1988) to be elected to the Hall.
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Griffey, who appeared on all but three ballots, finished his career with 630 home runs, sixth on the all-time list. He was named to 11 consecutive All-Star teams, beginning in 1990, and was named to 13 All-Star teams total. He won 10 Gold Glove Awards and seven Silver Slugger Awards.
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Piazza's 1,335 RBIs rank fourth among catchers all-time behind Yogi Berra, Ted Simmons and Johnny Bench. He posted a .308 career batting average and was named to 12 All-Star Games, winning the 1996 All-Star Game MVP. He also captured 10 Silver Slugger Awards and finished in the top five of the National League MVP Award voting four times, including back-to-back second-place finishes in 1996 and '97.
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How do I get there?
The induction ceremony is on the grounds of the Clark Sports Center on lower Susquehanna Avenue, just one mile south of the Hall of Fame. Shuttles from the Hall of Fame at Fair and Main Street will begin service at 8:30 a.m. The final shuttle will run at 1 p.m., and shuttles will not run during the induction ceremony.
What time does the induction ceremony begin? How can I watch it?
The ceremony will start at 1:30 p.m. at the Clark Sports Center. Admission to the ceremony is free and coverage begins on MLB Network and MLB.com at 11 a.m. It will be held rain or shine, unless severe weather forces a cancellation of the event.
Lawn seating is unlimited and free of charge, and refreshments will be sold on site. (Pro tip: bring sunscreen and a hat. The sprawling area has no protection from the sun.)
Who will be there?
Close to 50 Hall of Famers are scheduled to attend, ranging from the longest-tenured Hall of Famer of those planning to be there (Sandy Koufax, class of 1972) to last year's inductees: Martinez, Johnson, Craig Biggio, and John Smoltz. Other notables (but really, aren't they all?): Johnny Bench ('89), Rod Carew ('91), Whitey Ford ('74), Juan Marichal ('83) and Eddie Murray (2003).
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.