The Syracuse Baseball Hall of Fame is easy to find.
All roads lead to NBT Bank Stadium and the largest collection of pro baseball memorabilia in downtown New York City. Whether you are coming to Hiawatha Boulevard, whether it’s I-80, 690, or the New York State Thruway, the stadium is just a hop, a jump and a jump away. As well as witnessing a quality match at the Triple-A level, one step away from Major League Baseball, there is another gem to soak up – along the right pitch line.
If you enter the stadium from the main gate, once in the lobby, head right and continue past the Metropolitan Club. Once past the Club, hang on to the right, go down the ramp, and there it is, on your right. The sign on the door says it all – Syracuse Baseball Hall of Fame. If you prefer, you can enter the stadium through the new entrance, from the parking lot, on the right side of the pitch.
But, come on, you should.
What a gem the Mets and EwingCole Architects have created.
All of your Syracuse baseball memories of the Chiefs, SkyChiefs, and great players and contributors to the spirit of professional baseball in the city are wonderfully brought together for you to enjoy.
And, there is no additional charge to visit the museum, once you are in the stadium.
Included in the $ 25 million stadium renovation, the Mets and their local management led by Syracuse general manager Jason Smorol have ensured that those who came before the current Mets are not forgotten.
“When the Mets got together with the design team, they wanted to make sure they showcase the rich history of professional baseball in Syracuse. It was still hidden away in the front office and not really accessible to fans.” Smorol said earlier this week. .
There are signed jerseys, balls, sticks, photographs and many other keepsakes that will bring back memories of visits to the stadium, which opened in April 1997. If you are old enough to have sat in them bleachers of NBT Bank Stadium’s predecessor, MacArthur Stadium opened in 1934, the Mets also made sure your childhood baseball was well represented.
The grand slam of Syracuse baseball history on display at the Hall of Fame museum is the Hall of the Plaques. Once inside, take your time and learn about all the greats whose careers have passed through Syracuse. The memories will come back running. Among the inductees are Thurman Munson (class 2005), Bobby Cox (class 2008), Ed Kranepool (class 2019), Chad Mottola (class 2016), and this season Jason Grilli is expected to be inducted.
Smorol and Michael Tricarico des Mets are the museum’s unofficial curators.
“Michael and I have placed all the plates and items in the cases. We have so much stuff. We are going to rotate the items in the cases over time and create special ‘displays’ for special weekends,” explains Smorol, who in 2013 was hired as general manager of the Triple-A team in Syracuse.
The current Syracuse Baseball Hall of Fame class will be in showcases until the new class is inducted. Then they will go to the wall of the cross aisle above the Hall of Fame.
Smorol is fortunate to have super Syracuse baseball fans Marty Nave, Jeffery Morey and Dave Smolnicki involved in the Hall of Fame. From 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. before the night games (and they are also available before the afternoon games), these season ticket holders make themselves available to visitors.
“They (Nave, Morey and Smolnicki) are longtime fans and love the team. Having them there is great because they can engage with the fans.”
Once inside the Hall of Fame, there is no guesswork as to where the plaques are displayed. All you need to see is a bust of Tex Simone, the “Syracuse Father of Baseball,” and you have arrived at your destination.
The Hall of Fame, as word spreads, should quickly become a stop not only for local fans attending a Mets game or two, but also for those who have moved from the area and will want to return to their roots for a glance, as well.
The very reason baseball fans around the world come to Cooperstown to rekindle meaningful memories in their gaming lives. So will fans of all ages at One Tex Simone Drive. Innocence remembering having a hot dog, being selected to participate in one of the many competitions that take place between the rounds or having obtained an autograph before the announcement of “Play Ball”, who doesn’t want to go back to a simpler time?
Smorol is quick to point out that professional baseball has been around in one way or another since 1876, and the history of baseball in Salt City dates back to 1845. Among the MLB clubs with which Syracuse has been affiliated in recent times years is the Yankees, Tigers, Blue Jays, Nationals and Senators.
“I am so happy that the Mets are committed to promoting the tradition of our community as we build into the future. I hope many people will come and see this space,” said Smorol.
Don Laible is a freelance sports writer living in the Mohawk Valley. He has reported on professional baseball and hockey for print, radio and the web since the 1980s. His columns are featured weekly on WIBX950.com. Don can be contacted by email at [email protected]
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