By Craig Muder
Seventy-four years ago, the National Baseball Museum was just over three months old and establishing itself as one of the country’s cultural landmarks.
Still, Arnie Certoma knew he had to see it for himself.
Then 11 years old, Certoma and some friends hitch-hiked from Bayside, Queens to Cooperstown to visit what was to become known as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum – which opened to the public for the first time on June 12, 1939.
More than seven decades later, Certoma reprised that trip on Wednesday – this time driving from his home in West Babylon, N.Y., to make his second journey to Cooperstown at the age of 85.
“I remember the building outside, and I remember the (exhibits) inside with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and – I think – Tris Speaker,” Certoma said. “It’s sure changed a lot since then.”
Dressed in a Yankees jacket, Certoma – a huge Gehrig fan – quickly searched out the Museum’s Yankees exhibits on Wednesday, including Gehrig’s locker.
“I remember them all,” Certoma said. “And it seems like it was yesterday.”
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum