3 Days in Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame Classic

After Scranton I took the 2.5 hour trip to Cooperstown hoping to cleanup with the impressive list of former players that were taking part in the Hall of Fame Classic. Events started Friday morning and went thru sunday.
This year 6 Hall of Famers took part in the events. Andre Dawson, Eddie Murray, Ozzie Smith, Roberto Alomar, Phil Niekro and Rollie Fingers.
Day 1
As soon as I got into to town I went directly to the players hotel. The Otesaga, this is the hotel most of the players stay in. When I arrived there was about 10 graphers there already. Some I recognized from last year. I do not typically graph hotels. But, last year it was very easy. I was not aware that last year was not a typical year. As I soon found out after spending about 45 mins outside waiting. The head of security came outside and told us we had to leave. He was nice about it and said. I will be back in 10 mins and you will all be gone. I walked away disappointed because I figured this may have been the best time to get autographs without having to deal with hundreds of people.
I walked around town and did a little shopping and than walked around the hall abit.
 A view thru the Hall
 Babe Ruth statue

The first event I knew I could get autograph at was the kids skills clinic being held at Doubleday Stadium. I thought I did my homework as far as who was scheduled for what event. But, I assumed the clinic would have the same players who are taking part of the game. When I arrived at the stadium Brian, Fisher, Steve Grilli and Marlon Anderson. I'm sure I have cards of them. I got Brian Fisher and Steve Grilli on customs and passed up on Marlon Anderson. Also featured at the clinic was Mark Kotsay and Aaron Rowand.
Mark Kotsay, 8x10. Mark was a 1st rd pick in 1996 by the Marlins. He played 17 years in the majors with the Marlins, Padres, A's, Red Sox, White Sox and Brewers. Mark retired at the end of the 2013 season.
Aaron Rowand, 8x10.Aaron was also a 1st rd pick in 1998 by the White Sox. Aaron played 11 years in the majors with the White Sox, Phillies and Giants. He retired in at the end of the 2011 season. Aaron was an All-Star and Gold Glove winner in 2007
David Eckstien, 2 cards. David was a 19 th rd pick in 1997 by the Red Sox. He was selected off of waivers during the 2000 season by the Angels. He also played for the Cardinals, Jays, D-Backs and Padres. He was the 2006 WS MVP when the Cardinals won. He was also a 2x All-Star.
Brian Fisher, Custom. Brian was a 2nd rd pick in 1980 by the Braves and pitched for about 7 years in the majors. He pitched for the Yankees, Pirates, Astros and Mariners.
Steve Grilli, Custom. Steve signed as a FA in 1970 with the Tigers. He pitched in the majors in parts of 4 years with the Tigers and in 1979 he pitched in 1 game for the Blue Jays. Steve's son Jeff currently pitches in the majors with Pirates. Steve joked around with me a little. I had asked him to sign the blank custom, instead he signed next to the custom which didn't have a card in it. So, now I have a Steve Grilli auto on my binder.
Late in the afternoon the rains came. The Hall of Famers had a dinner at the hall that night and some guys stood in the rain and tried to get autographs. But, I didn't bother. Why stand in the rain and get my stuff ruined? with no shot at the hotel I went to my hotel.

Day 2

Since the hotel was off limits the next best place to autographs was at the Clark Sports Complex. All of the players get together there to change into there uniforms, have breakfest and meet with the media. As soon as I arrived it started to rain. It eventually stopped and everyone got along the barrier that was setup. Last year I didnt bother going there because of the weather.
This year I was told that the barrier was setup much further away than last year. Which meant we were not in arms length of the players as they arrived and just as I guessed it. Less players signed. I was able to get Carl Pavano and Adam Everett.
Carl Pavano, 8x10. Carl was a 13th rd pick in 1994 by the Red Sox. He never pitched for the Red Sox and was part of the Pedro Martinez trade in 1997 that sent him to the Expos. Carl also pitched for the Marlins, Yankees, Indians and Twins. He was an All-Star in 2004 with was his best season when he was 18-8 with a 3.0 era. He retired in 2012.
Adam Everett, 3 cards. Adam was a 1st rd pick in 1998 by the Red Sox. He played 11 years in the majors with the Astros, Tigers and in his final season Indians
David Eckstien was the only player that came out after going in to change. Kerry Robinson and Eddie Guadardo also signed. But, I didn't not have anything for him.
At this point the players were to leave the Clark Center and get on trolleys and pickups that would drive them down Main St. for the parade that would lead to the Doubleday Stadium for the game.
I head to the stadium and by the time I got there the place was mobbed with graphers hoping to get the players to sign as they entered the stadium.Some players signed and I missed Ozzie Smith and Phil Niekro outside.

I decided to go into the stadium for the game. The Hall of Fame Classic is Game 10 for me this year. At Doubleday Stadium the entrances to the 1st and 3rd base side are separate and if you have tickets to one side you can not go to the other side and you do not know which team will be on a certain side. I was lucky to have Roberto Alomar, Ozzie Smith and Eddie Murray on the 1st base side. I got was able to get Ozzie Smith on OMLB in which he added HOF and Roberto Alomar on an 8x10. Each of the players had a rep from the HOF with them and they had the players jump around down the line to try to get as many people as possible and in doing that Eddie Murray skipped around me while I was getting Ozzie Smith. Of course Murray is a toughest autograph out of the 3 and I missed him. For some reason only the HOfers were signing before the game.
My luck on the 3rd base side a lot of the players were signing. The 3rd base side had Phil Niekro, Rollie Fingers and Andre Dawson. I missed out on Dawson, Matsui and Thome.
Before the game itself the some of the players took part in a Homer Run Derby in which Alex Gonzalez won.
Ozzie signing before the game

Edgardo warming up
Luis Gonzalez
Jeff Conine
Steve Avery, Vinny Castillo, Luis Gonzalez and Brady Anderson, while Todd Hollandsworth takes BP.
I got a little nervous when I saw the players taking batting practice. They were hitting the ball onto the street.and my car was parked behind the house in the church's front yard. Luckley my car did not get hit.
Todd Jones signing on the 3rd base side
Jiome Thome during the Homer Run Derby

In between innings during the game some players signed. I got Todd Jones while he sat in the bullpen on the 1st base side. The reps from the HOF told us no autographs during the game. But, Todd Jones started to sign. At some point after Todd Jones signed Roberto Alomar signed as well as Edgardo Alfonso. 
Also during the game the if players needed to use the facilities they would have to exit the stadium. I would say 75 to 100 people basically waited outside for the players. Some signed,. I missed Steve Garvey, Jeff Conine and a few others. You really needed to stand in the same place during the game to get the autographs.The whole day was hit and miss. 
The game was to be a 7 inning game and everyone was told that the players would sign after the game along the fence. Unfortunately a thunderstorm with heavy rain came thru and the came was stopped. It rained heavy for atleast an hour and by the then the players had left on buses. 

Day 3

On Sunday the HOFers take part in a golf outing. You can pay some crazy amount of $$ and play 18 holes with a HOFer. I got to the course around 7am and waited along the street that had a short stone wall between the course and the road. There were about another 30 people or so graphing the golf outing. Of the 18 holes we had 4 chances to get the players along the course. Rollie Fingers was in the first group. Rollie was nice enough to stop and sign. I got him on an 8x10.
The next group had Eddie Murray and Ozzie Smith, they did not sign at the first hole I waited at. So, we all walked another 100 yards or so along the wall and tried again. This time Ozzie signed as Eddie Murray sat in his cart. This time I had an 8x10 of him. But, he stopped signing just as he got to me.
The next group that came thru had Andre Dawson in it and he never even looked at the group. The last group had Phil Niekro in it and before he even picked up the golf club he came over and signed. I got him on a OMLB on the SS.
After Niekro signed we all went to the last chance to get the players and this time Ozzie didn't sign. But, when Andre Dawson came and surprised everyone and started to sign. But, was being picky on who he would sign for. He looked at me and said " Grown Ass Men asking for autographs" I replied and said "I will be a kid at heart when it comes to baseball and autographs".  He then looked up and said "he has seen the same faces for the last 3 days". I had not seen him myself anytime before hand.
I had heard from a few guys that they had gone to Albany and waited at the airport for the players. Alot of players signed at the airport and  those guys were also in the group with me when I had my brief conversation with Dawson..

I left Cooperstown with 14 autographs, 4 of which are HOFers and a little disappointed. I missed out on alot. The weather had alot to do with that. and this was the second year it rained. Last year was much worse. Hopefully next year it will be a little nicer.
We all know how this hobby can go. Its hit and miss and you can't be in more than one place at a time.

Sorry about being a little late with my posts. I've been having problems with my home computer.
Next up was Binghamton later that day.

Thanks for reading and check back soon