My Own Little Hall of Fame: Locale

I need a building. Whattaya think of this design?

I need a building. Whattaya think of this design?

In a comment on an earlier post, the Baseball Bloggess asked where I’d put my Hall of Fame if it were real. Frankly, I hadn’t thought about it at all. But it’s a good question.

First a few parameters have to be set. As only Kansas City, and then only for a little while there, provides a Major League team west of St. Louis, we can rule out any city in the Western half of the country. We have to presume the Hall is going to be placed in a hotbed of baseball and although places like Wichita and Denver and San Francisco may have produced thriving teams, they don’t provide Major League teams and I would think that would disqualify them. We also have to consider traffic patterns of the era. There is no interstate highway racing through the heart of Kansas in 1901. There’s a railroad and it provides most of the long-range transportation in the US. That means we’re looking for a rail hub of some size. Also we need to note the size of the town. The population stats for 1900 show a much different US in terms of population distribution. The nation is heavily tilted toward the eastern half of the country.

My first thought is that there is no earthly reason to put the thing in Cooperstown, New York. The state of New York isn’t a bad choice for the location but Cooperstown isn’t one of the better options. Much of baseball’s early history revolves around New York City and specifically in Brooklyn. So they aren’t bad choices. Neither is Buffalo, interestingly enough. A lot a big early players came through Buffalo. That’s very much true in the 1850s and 1860s and continues through the 19th Century. Also Buffalo is one of the towns that hosts a Major League team for a while. It also maintains an integrated team for much longer than most places. Both Bud Fowler and Frank Grant come through Buffalo a one time or another. But by 1901 Buffalo is no longer associated with Major League baseball.

A second good place to start is Boston. The first great team of the professional leagues, the Red Stockings is in Boston and it utterly dominates the National Association. But other than those teams (and the Player’s League one season winner) Boston doesn’t produce much in the way of winners until the Beaneaters.

There’s Cincinnati. It produced the “first professional team” in baseball history with the Red Stockings of the 1860s. That’s kind of true. There had been professional players well before the Red Stockings, but the Cincy team appears to be the first team that was completely professional. That’s worth a nod to a Hall of Fame location. And it’s also reasonably near the center of US population in 1900.

Then there’s St. Louis. It’s located in the center of the country (well, at least as close to the center as a major town was in 1900) and had a great baseball tradition. It was on a major rail line for ease of travel for Hall visitors and it was the fourth largest city in the country in 1900. Nobody had heard of Houston, now the fourth largest city, in 1900.

All are good choices, each can be justified. But I’m going to build my Hall in Cincinnati. It has a lot of baseball connections and it well located for both ease of visitation and nearness to the most people. Feel free to build your own wherever you want. And don’t ask me to design any of them, I’m sure they’d all fall down (unlike the one in the picture above).

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10 Responses to “My Own Little Hall of Fame: Locale”

  1. glen715 Says:

    I think that they SHOULD relocate Cooperstown to Egypt, which is where the Pyramids are. That way, people who live in upstate New York won’t have an advantage over the rest of the country in getting to Cooperstown. That way, it’ll be inconvenient for ALL of us Americans to get there!

    And there will be an excuse for it, too, just like there was for Abner Doubleday! Sammy Khalifa, the former Pittsburgh Pirate infielder, is from Egypt! And Khalifa, while not a great player, at least swung a bat in anger a few times, which is more than Abner Doubleday could ever say!

    Glen

  2. keithosaunders Says:

    Then you worry about 24/7 campaigning from Rose.

  3. The Baseball Bloggess Says:

    Cincinnati, I like it. 🙂 And, you’re really super-duper sticking it to Pete Rose, too, aren’t you … putting your HOF in Cincinnati!

  4. wkkortas Says:

    Abner Doubleday was born in Ballston Spa, NY which a) still nods to the myth b) is easier to get to that Cooperstown, although that applies to most places in the Lower 48 and c) it’s close to Saratoga and its thoroughbred track. I’m all in for the Spa.

  5. Steve Myers Says:

    In that train tracks and people access are of primary importance, why not a roaming HOF with the only requirement being a gang of hobos willing to lug some memorabilia loot around the country, hopping rails and what not, setting up displays in farm fields and on street corners?

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