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By Samantha Carr
There is one voice that lets you know you are in Cooperstown for Hall of Fame Weekend – and it belongs to George Grande.
A crowd of thousands gathered on Main St. in Cooperstown Saturday evening for the first-ever Hall of Fame Parade of Legends. Grande, the retired announcer for the Cincinnati Reds and emcee of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Induction Ceremony announced each Hall of Famer, many with their wives and children, as they waved to fans from the back of Ford pickup trucks on their way to the Museum steps.
Grande’s familiar voice introduced each legend with career statistics, a story from their career and even a personal greeting. As Twins legend Rod Carew was announced, Grande commented that Carew looked like he could still hit .300.
“I wish,” said Carew.
But I wouldn’t bet against the career .328 hitter, who spent 19 years in the big leagues, or any of his Hall of Fame teammates. The new parade format allowed fans to get a wave, say hello and get a photo of their heroes from the longest-tenured Hall of Famer Bob Feller to the most recent – of the Class of 2009 – Rickey Henderson.
But the final spots in the parade were reserved for the newest additions to the greatest team ever assembled, the Class of 2010.
Doug Harvey, Whitey Herzog and Andre Dawson made up the caboose of the line of legends and will be honored Sunday on stage with their Hall of Fame Plaques during the 2010 Induction Ceremony.
The ceremony will begin at 1:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday on the grounds of the Clark Sports Center, and admission is free. Forty-seven Hall of Famers will take the stage to welcome the Class of 2010 as well as Ford C. Frick winner Jon Miller and J.G. Taylor Spink winner Bill Madden. The ceremony will be broadcast live on MLB Network and Sirius/XM Radio.
Samantha Carr is the manager of web and digital media for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.