By Craig Muder
The gesture was so touching, it was easy to forget that these were two of the toughest umpires ever to don chest protectors.
It was fifteen minutes after Sunday’s Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown, and Doug Harvey was headed to the post-induction press conference.
Suddenly, a man came running up behind Harvey, calling “Doug, Doug!”
Enter Joe West, Major League Baseball umpire and former colleague of Harvey.
“I am so happy for you,” said West. And then – with an awe-like respect for the umpire known as “god” – West kissed Harvey’s hand.
A Cooperstown-only moment, to be sure. And there were others.
How about John Fogerty’s appearance at the Hall of Fame? The rock-and-roll legend donated his bat-shaped guitar “Slugger” to the Museum for display Sunday evening. Earlier in the day, Fogerty got to spend time with one of his idols – Hall of Famer Willie Mays – before performing his baseball anthem “Centerfield” live at the Induction Ceremony.
“I don’t even feel like I should be here with these guys,” Fogerty said. “That was Willie Mays!”
For Fogerty – himself a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer – the Cooperstown experience was like that of any baseball fan.
“I felt like I was eight years old all over again.”
Craig Muder is director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.