COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Little Cooperstown, famed in the Leather Stocking Tales of James Fenimore Cooper, had its day in the sun Monday, when it staged a glamorous centennial birthday party for baseball.
With an historical pageant, depicting the evolution of baseball from a back pasture game to the national pastime, and dedication ceremonies for the baseball museum, Cooperstown did itself proud in commemorating the 100th anniversary of the game which Abner Doubleday, then a 20-year-old West Point cadet, invented in 1839.
More than 4,000 persons Monday morning saw Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, baseball czar, officially dedicated the little brown-brick baseball museum which houses the hall of fame and other souvenirs and trophies. Then in the afternoon a pageant entitled "The Cavalcade of Baseball" was staged before a throng of 10,000 that jammed every inch of space on Abner Doubleday field.
Feature of the "Cavalcade" show was a seven-inning game between two teams picked from present major league stars by Eddie Collins, Red Sox general manager, and Honus Wagner, Pirates' coach. Players from rival leagues played side by side as Wagner and Collins chose sides after using the hand over hand on a bat method to determine first pick. Wagner's team triumphed, 4-2, putting on a two run rally in the sixth after Collins' team had tied it up, 2-2.
Ruth Pops Out
Arky Vaughan, Pirates' shortstop, and Frankie Hayes, Athletics' catcher doubled, and Morris Arnovich, Phillies' outfielder who leads the National league in hitting, singled to produce the winning tallies. Syl Johnson, aged Philly catcher, was the victim of the assault.
Cooperstown, a quiet, lazy hamlet in upstate New York, has never seen such a day as this. Natives from miles around poured into town to see the heroes of baseball -- past and present in the flesh.
They gave Babe Ruth the biggest ovation, and nearly mobbed him for autographs. Connie Mack's arm was worn out from signing his name, and other old time stars had to see a sanctuary to get away from an idolizing public.
In the afternoon the crowd got to see Ruth, fat and puffy, go to bat as a pinch-hitter for the Wagner team, and take his cuts. He missed Syl Johnson's first pitch a foot, fouled off one, and then raised a high fly to Jorgens, midway between home and first. The crowd, rooting for a homer, yelled, "drop it -- don't catch it --"
But Jorgens paid no heed to the crowd's pleas.
The 11 living Hall of Fame members, who took part in the dedication services, presided over by Charles J. Doyle, Pittsburgh, president of the baseball writers' assn., were given great ovations by the public. All were introducers personally, walking out of the Hall of Fame as their names were called, except Ty Cobb who suffered a touch of ptomaine poisoning Sunday night in Utica, N.Y., and had to have medical treatment before arriving here after the ceremonies were over.
Each Immortal Introduced
Doyle introduced each immortal as follows:
"Connie Mack: Manager of the Athletics since 1901, winner of nine pennants and five world series.
"Ty Cobb: Who won the heart of fans by playing the brand of baseball called, 'reckless, daring and devil may care.'
"Honus Wagner: Who towers over baseball as the greatest shortstop in history.
"Tris Speaker: The greatest defensive centerfielder of all time.
"Larry Lajoie: A natural hitter and the greatest second baseman.
"Cy Young: Who won 511 games and pitched in the majors for 22 years.
"Walter Johnson: Who had one of the greatest pitching arms in baseball history.
"George Sister: Who smashed out 257 hits in a single season.
"Eddie Collins: A ball player's ball player.
"Grover Cleveland Alexander: The shutout king of his day, and one of the greatest pitchers of all time.
"Babe Ruth: the greatest slugger of them all who hit 60 homers in one season.
Young Gets Hand
Mack, Alexander and Ruth received the biggest ovations, but 72-year-old Cy Young was given a grand hand when he said "I hope baseball climbs to even greater success in the next 100 years than it had in the first 100."
Ruth said he was particularly happy over being elected to the Hall of Fame and being able to participate in the celebration "because it was just 25 years ago yesterday that I pitched my first major league game for the Red Sox."
Postmaster General Farley sold the first baseball centennial stamp to Commissioner Landis and the little postoffice across the street from the baseball museum did a rushing business all day.