COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Thousands of fans, led by commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti and a star-studded lineup of old-timers, celebrated the 50th anniversary Saturday of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
'The ultimate trustees of the game of baseball are not simply bureaucrats like me, they are every person, man or woman, boy or girl, who loves the game, who loves the integrity, who loves its beauty, who loves the values that it stands for,' Giamatti said, addressing the throngs gathered at the shrine.
The commissioner, joined by New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and National League President Bill White, also dedicated a new $6 million wing containing a 200-seat movie theater built to resemble Chicago's Comiskey Park.
And Postmaster General Anthony Frank took the opportunity to unveil a new commemorative stamp honoring Yankee slugger Lou Gehrig, who retired from baseball the same year the Hall of Fame opened.
Following the dedication ceremony, many of the stars of yore, including Hall of Famers Bob Feller, Warren Spahn, Harmon Killebrew, Lou Brock and Bob Gibson, played in an old-timer's game on the diamond adjoining the shrine.
Cuomo, a former minor league baseball player, kidded White for leaving the Yankee broadcasting booth to take the helm of the National League.
'I miss him frankly because I'm having trouble getting (Phil) Rizzuto translated,' Cuomo said, referring in his brief remarks to the nasal-voiced broadcaster and former Yankee known as the 'Scooter.'
The new facility was christened as the Fetzer-Yawkey Building in honor of John Fetzer, chairman of the board of the Detroit Tigers, and Jean Yawkey, majority owner of the Boston Red Sox.
Besides the theater, the building includes a special section devoted to 'Baseball Today,' a display depicting the evolution of the game's equipment and a computerized display of all-time baseball records.
After the ceremony, Cuomo said he made a pitch to Giamatti to bring major league baseball to Buffalo, noting that the American Association's Buffalo Bisons drew a minor league record 1.1 million fans to the city's new downtown baseball stadium, Pilot Field.
'I did make clear my points and he explained we will have the opportunity to make a full presentation, Cuomo said. 'I'm absolutely certain there is going to be a good objective process, and on the merits I think we should do very well.'