Why Waite? Experience History Today in Cooperstown

Muder_90By Craig Muder

The letter on White House stationery is hand-addressed and carries a first-class, eight-cent stamp.

The addressee is Hall of Famer Waite Hoyt. And the author is Richard Nixon.

Cartoon featuring pitcher Waite C. Hoyt at the Polo Grounds. Published in The New York World, Magazine and Story Section on May 28th, 1916. (NBHOF Library)

Cartoon featuring pitcher Waite C. Hoyt at the Polo Grounds. Published in The New York World, Magazine and Story Section on May 28th, 1916. (NBHOF Library)

The archives at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum are regarded as the home of the most impressive baseball library in the world. But much of that baseball history overlaps with our nation’s history – and it is all preserved in Cooperstown.

Hoyt was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1969 after winning 237 games over 21 big league seasons. When he retired, Hoyt became a broadcaster and spent 24 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds before retiring in 1965.

Upon his Hall of Fame election and throughout his later years, Hoyt donated hundreds of documents to the Hall of Fame Library. This recently re-organized collection features telegrams of congratulations following his 3,000th broadcast in 1959, Hall of Fame Induction Weekend programs and several postal exchanges between Hoyt and various politicians, including the 37th President of the United States.

“You look down at those letters and realize: “Richard Nixon signed this,’” said Claudette Scrafford, the manuscript archivist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Hoyt’s papers – and thousands of others like them – are available to researchers at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. And though Hoyt passed away in 1984, his diligent record-keeping – and generous donations – have preserved the history he made and experienced for generations to come.

To learn more about researching at the Hall of Fame, please send an email to research@baseballhall.org.

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

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