Results tagged ‘ Leatherstocking Golf Course ’

Path to Cooperstown

Carr_90.jpgBy 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.”

09-07-10-Carr_Rice.jpgRice 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.

Hands down, Schmidt among greatest ever

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

His hands settled around the shaft of the golf club, then drew back for his practice swing.

Swish!

The power of that swing — the legendary power of Michael Jack Schmidt — was still apparent, even if the familiar baseball bat had been replaced by the metal wood.

Those hands — an unforgettable instinct.

9-8-09-Muder_Schmidt.jpgSchmidt, who will turn 60 in less than three weeks, is still fit and trim. The once-red hair is now gray, but the body looks to be not far removed from his playing days with the Phillies. At the very least, it would be easy to picture Schmidt on the Champions Tour.

The Hall of Fame third baseman was in Cooperstown this weekend, and on Tuesday he teed off at the Pro-Am for the Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open. Schmidt served as the celebrity host of the tournament, which benefits Pathfinder Village, located in nearby Edmeston, N.Y., a residential community dedicated to children and adults with Down syndrome. The tournament also benefits the Baseball Hall of Fame.

“No charity I’ve ever been associated with is more deserving of a tournament like this,” said Schmidt of Pathfinder Village. “I’ve played in this tournament a couple times now, and it’s always great to come back.”

Schmidt spent 18 seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies from 1972-89, winning eight National League home run titles and three NL MVP awards.

But his greatest thrill as a pro athlete just might have come on the famous Leatherstocking Golf Course in Cooperstown.

“I’m not playing in the Seniors Open this year, but I did a couple years ago and actually finished third in my flight. I got a check for $700. When you’re up against competition like this — great senior pros from around the country — that’s pretty good.”

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

Baseball legends enjoy small ball

Carr_90.jpgBy Samantha Carr
 
7-25-09-Carr_Smith.jpgWade Boggs turned to the crowd along Lake Avenue and asked them to cheer.
 
“What a shot!” said Boggs of his foursome teammate, who was playing in Saturday morning Hall of Fame Golf Invitational in Cooperstown. “C’mon, let me hear it!”

Boggs, Hall of Fame Class of 2005, was soaking up his fifth Hall of Fame Weekend while playing with 23 other Hall of Famers at the legendary Leatherstocking Golf Course on a sunny Induction Weekend morning in Cooperstown. After receiving a huge cheer from the fans along Lake Avenue – which parallels the No. 5 fairway – Boggs signed autographs before heading for the No. 6 tee to speak with about 40 assembled media members.

7-25-09-Carr_Rice.jpgClass of 2009 member Jim Rice, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday along with Rickey Henderson and Joe Gordon, played in a group just after Boggs. Sporting a yellow shirt that was almost as bright as the smile he has worn since being elected in January, Rice used his prodigious strength to bash several long drives.

“The guy could break his bat on a check swing, he’s that strong,” said fellow Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers who believed Rice would have the longest drive of the day.

Fingers also remembered how much he enjoyed watching Rice slowly walk back to the dugout after Fingers struck him out.

“It didn’t happen very often, but when it did, I enjoyed watching him the whole way.”

Fingers struck Rice out seven times in 21 plate appearances, but Rice does have a home run and a .368 batting average against him.

Goose Gossage, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2008, also remembers Rice’s strength.

“I always said nobody scared me, but Jim came the closest,” he said.

7-25-09-Carr_HendersonGordon.jpgGossage is the one guy that can relate to the nerves Rice and Henderson are feeling – because he went through it all just last year.

“It still doesn’t quite sink in being here,” Gossage said. “I am more relaxed this year, but I don’t know how many years it will take before it sinks in.”

Not everyone can hit the ball as far as Rice, but it didn’t stop them from some good old fashion fooling around among the Hall of Famers.

Lou Brock told onlookers to look away as he drove off the first tee. After hitting his shot, he announced that everyone was OK to look again because they can’t see where the ball went.

Dave Winfield talked about him teammate – and Class of 2009 electee – Rickey Henderson and what a leader he was on the field. When asked about Rickey’s speech, Winfield showed confidence.

“I think he’ll do fine. He is nice and relaxed this weekend and he’ll be fine.”

Of course, all the Hall of Famers gave speech advice to Rice and Henderson and it was all the same advice – keep it short.

The advice of Hall of Famers is always welcome to the newcomers.

“It’s great to be out here with these guys, some of them I played with and know well and some of them I really admire,” said Rice.

Samantha Carr is the media relations coordinator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Golf and Baseball

Hayes_90.jpgBy Trevor Hayes

On Saturday, I met up with Michael Walker, the senior editor of Golf Magazine. He was in town for the weekend to hit the links and crush a few at the Leatherstocking Golf Course while taking in the scenic and blossoming village of Cooperstown and its three renowned museums: The Fenimore Art Museum, the Farmers’ Museum and of course the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Walker is a Medfield, Mass. native and which is just under 45 minutes from 4 Yawkey Way – the address of Fenway Park and the home of the Boston Red Sox. When I asked him to get his picture taken in the Plaque Gallery, he mentioned Ted Williams, then Carlton Fisk. As we walked through the gallery, I motioned to Williams plaque and asked him if he preferred Fisk over Williams as his favorite Hall of Famer.

5-19-09-Hayes_Walker.jpg“I think for me it would have to be Williams for what he meant to the city.”

Like most Sox fans, conversation about the team quickly steered to present day and the success the team has seen this decade. Walker had said he hadn’t been to the Museum since 2001, so I asked if he knew we had Curt Schilling’s bloody sock. His face lit up. I could tell he was suddenly reliving the 2004 World Series again.

“Has it been tested for ketchup like all those Yankees fans claim?” he joked. “I can’t wait to see everything from 2004. For me baseball has changed so much since I was here in ’01.”

As a baseball guy talking to a golf guy, I had to ask, what’s the allure of golf to ballplayers?

“I think pitchers for whatever reason are usually the best; it’s that pitching motion that is similar,” Walker said. “I mean, (Red Sox pitcher John) Smoltz plays with Tiger (Woods). Pitchers and hockey players are always good and I think it’s because the swing is so similar to what they did in their sport.
 
“It seems like all ex-jocks, when they can’t compete any more in their sport take up golf so they can compete in something,” he said. “You see all these Pro-Am’s and they are just filled with former ballplayers.”
 
Walker told me that he had a buddy who played in a group of four with Tim Wakefield, but he’d never played with any big name baseball players. Then as if to further make his point about golf and baseball, Walker mentioned that he saw 2009 Hall of Fame electee Jim Rice out on the course earlier that morning.

“I haven’t really played with any guys, but meeting Rice this morning out on the course, that was something else.”

The natural question after he said he’d met Rice, was if he’d be back later this summer for Induction? Walker said he didn’t think he’d be able to make it this year, but true to his 2004 dedication, he said there is one ballplayer he won’t miss.

“My brother and I were talking and I think for Pedro (Martinez) – when it happens – we’ll come back.”

Trevor Hayes is the editorial production manager at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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