Path to Cooperstown
By Samantha Carr
Despite playing his entire 16-year career in Boston with the Red Sox, Hall of Famer Jim Rice grew up in Anderson, S.C. – and is more accustomed to the quiet life in the South.
So this week’s trip to Cooperstown proved the perfect mini-vacation for the Class of 2009 Hall of Famer.
“It is a great time of the year to come to Cooperstown because it is laid back,” Rice said Tuesday before the 28th Annual Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open and Pro-Am Golf Tournament at Leatherstocking Golf Course in Cooperstown. “It’s not as fast-paced as Induction Weekend. You can come here and play a round of golf.”
Rice is serving as the celebrity host for the Pro-Am, while top pros from around the country will compete in the Seniors Open, which runs Wednesday through Friday, Sept. 8-10. The Seniors Open continues to be known as one of the country’s premier non-PGA tournaments.
“I played here two or three times when I was with the Red Sox,” said Rice, who also played the course during Hall of Fame Weekend 2009, when he received his bronze plaque.
Proceeds from the traditional post-Labor Day event benefit Pathfinder Village, located in nearby Edmeston, a residential community dedicated to children and adults with Down syndrome.
“I went to visit Pathfinder Village yesterday,” said Rice. “We were talking about Down syndrome, but there is no ‘down’ syndrome. There is no worry. All they want is love. They are baseball fans and NASCAR fans. They just want to blend in.”
Pathfinder Village opened in 1980 with seven homes and a school. Since then, the Village has added more homes and programs, all with the goal of providing fulfillment for those who have Down syndrome.
“It is more of an adult situation,” said Rice. “The residents cook and clean and have responsibilities and really learn to be apart of society in their own environment. What they are doing over there is outstanding. I think if you go over there you will really appreciate what this tournament is all about.”
Samantha Carr is the manager of web and digital media for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.