COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — The fellows in the Cooperstown Rotary Club are pretty crafty. Knowing that the induction weekend is the largest collection of Hall of Famers in one spot anywhere under the sun, the Rotarians have commemorative miniature baseball bats made with each inductee’s superlatives.
At $5 to $7 a pop, it’s a pretty nice bit of cash to be made in a weekend.
But also understanding the mind of the collector, the guys in the Cooperstown Rotary know that there probably won’t be much of a market for certain keepsake bats. For instance, there were piles of Jim Bunning bats from when the former Phillies and Tigers pitcher was inducted in 1996. There were plenty of Eddie Murray bats too.
Could it be because Bunning has created a reputation for being a creep?
However, don’t go looking for a keepsake bat with umpire Doug Harvey’s name on it. There was a run on those last year when Harvey’s family and friends bought them all up.
“We made 50 of them for Doug Harvey and when they walked up and down Main Street and found out there wasn’t anything with his name on it, they snapped them all up,” a Rotarian said.
So thinking there would be a repeat of the run on Harvey mementoes, they made a limited number of Pat Gillick bats, who will be inducted to the Hall of Fame on Sunday afternoon along with Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven. After all, Gillick is kind of like an umpire in that he wasn’t known as a player. Plus, there are nine umpires enshrined in the gallery at the Hall of Fame and Gillick will be just the fourth general manager. Better yet, when Nolan Ryan was inducted in 1999, it took 12 years to sell all 300 bats.