Last week, I was able to visit the Cardinals Hall of Fame for the grand opening as a member of the press. After the grand opening press conference, VIPs and Media took a tour of the HOF with the living Hall of Famers: Red Schoendienst, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Whitey Herzog, Ozzie Smith, and Tony LaRussa. Here are the top 5 things to see.
Interactive Map of Visitors
At the end of the Hall tour, there is the interactive map for visitors to sign in. The constantly updated display keeps track of the top 10 countries that have visited the museum.
The museum has multiple video displays, showing clips of different eras of Cardinal history. The screens, made to look like regular parts of a ballpark, have seating areas for those that have the time to sit and watch the full clips.
Swing a Bat
Visitors of the Hall of Fame have the opportunity to swing games used Cardinal bats. Six bats will be on display at a time and they will be rotated from a large stock of bats. While wearing rubber gloves, people are able to take a few swings with the bats. The featured bats at the opening were Stan Musial, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, Willie McGee, Matt Holliday and Allen Craig (in this order in the picture).
Eddie Gaedel's Jersey
Everyone knows about the one at bat for Eddie Gaedel, the shortest player in MLB history. Gaedel used Bill DeWitt, Jr's bat boy jersey for the famous at bat. The DeWitt family requested this gem back from Cooperstown, as they own the actual jersey and wanted it back. Along with this, there are other Browns and Stars (the St. Louis Negro League team) items on display.
The Cardinals contacted the maker of the Cooperstown plaques to make the ones for their Hall. At this point, they have shown the plaques of the Cardinals inducted in Cooperstown; later this season, the Cardinals will induct 2 additional players based off fan voting.