Jayhawk flies into Cooperstown

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

The man and his son stood in the center of the Hall of Fame’s Giamatti Research Center on Tuesday afternoon – awed by history like hundreds of others who made the pilgrimage to baseball’s holy shrine in Cooperstown.

06-16-10-Muder_Owens.jpgBut for Jayhawk Owens and his son Walker, the trip was a little more personal.

Owens, a catcher for the Colorado Rockies from 1993-96, and his son were in town as part of a local youth baseball tournament. Owens, 41, brought Walker to the Hall of Fame for a little history lesson.

After learning about the Hall of Fame and its mission, father and son got a look at some of the Library’s files – including one on Owens himself.

“It’s amazing to think I’m even in here in a file,” said Owens, who played in 132 big league games during his four-year career as a catcher. “How many players are in the Hall of Fame? Two-hundred and ninety-two? That’s pretty rare.”

Walker, meanwhile, savored the chance to read Babe Ruth’s file – gazing in wonder at documents written almost 100 years ago.

For his dad, however, it was another Library document – the National League’s day-by-day register for 1947 – that stood out.

“Look at that: April 15, 1947, the day Jackie Robinson broke into the majors,” said Owens of the hand-recorded statistics that marked each day in the 1947 NL schedule. “All those games, recorded in this book. I never knew anything like this existed.”

It’s history – like that of Jayhawk Owens – preserved forever in Cooperstown.

Craig Muder is director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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