Getting to Cooperstown is hard for visitors as well as players

'You have to really want to get here'

EDITOR'S NOTE: WCPO is looking back on Ken Griffey Jr.'s life growing up in Cincinnati, stunning success and Hall of Fame career. See all of our coverage at WCPO.com/griffey. Watch Sunday's induction ceremony at 1:30 p.m. ET on MLB Network or www.baseballhall.org.

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. - It's hard to get to Cooperstown if you're playing, and it's just as hard to get here if you're driving.

A T-shirt hanging in a shop window boasts of that. 

"Cooperstown," it says, "conveniently located in the middle of nowhere."

Cooperstown and Otsego Lake.

"We're centrally isolated," deadpans Paul Kuhn,  tourism advisor for the chamber of commerce,  "and you know, we like it that way. You have to really want to get here."

Kuhn meets people every day who really want to get here, especially this week especially with the Baseball Hall of Fame inducting Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza.

Take Lance Craig, a Reds fan from Findlay, Ohio. He and his family got here Thursday.

"All the guys in our family have come here for the last 16 years. We love baseball," Craig said.

The tiny village with a population of 1,834 (as of 2013) swells by 27,000 visitors on an average Hall of Fame Weekend, officials say. Some 82,000 came when Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn were inducted in 2007.

With Mets fans driving up to honor Piazza, nobody seems to know how big a crowd to expect on Sunday.

National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Cooperstown is a disputed home of baseball, but it's not changing its story anytime soon. It's way too popular. We should ad, though, that you don't have to be a baseball fanatic to like it here.

"People from France and Great Britain come to see where the great author wrote all his works of literature," Kuhn said. That would be James Fenimore Cooper, who wrote "The Last of the Mohicans."

"They're very interested to see the actual place, the lake (Otsego Lake) that he wrote about, all the hills that he wrote about in his novels," Kuhn said.

RELATED: Pete Rose sets up shop in Cooperstown.

Follow Popo's reports from Cooperstown this weekend on WCPO 9 On Your Side and WCPO.com.

Print this article Back to Top