SI Vault
William Taaffe
October 13, 1986
It was the downside of Sunday afternoon, Aug. 3. The sun had come out and a soft breeze had come up, and for a long while the Hall of Famers didn't want to depart. I can still see them all gathered for their official photograph on a bluff above Lake Otsego, the "Glimmerglass" that novelist James Fenimore Cooper described so admirably in The Deerslayer. Across the lawn Joe Sewell hobbled to his place in the first row, Ted Williams roughhoused with Robin Roberts, and Cool Papa Bell, with cane in hand, was led gingerly along a path by a younger man—his grandson, perhaps? In Cooperstown in August, even grandsons walk slowly.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
October 13, 1986

Come Along With Bobby Doerr For A Very Special Visit To Cooperstown

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3

"See there, 1946?" he said. "I couldn't hit that day because the Sunday before, Elmer Valo hit a shot at me that I caught on one hop, but it peeled my thumbnail back and it was so painful I couldn't handle the bat. I went 0 for 2 against [Claude] Passeau and [Kirby] Higbe. That was the game Ted hit the homer off [Rip] Sewell's eephus pitch."

He spotted a staged picture of American League manager Del Baker kissing Williams in the locker room after his homer had won the 1941 All-Star Game. "Get a load of Baker and Ted," laughed Doerr. "I was right there when they took that. Didn't get a hit that game. I went 0 for 2, a grounder and a pop-up." I was amazed at Doerr's recall and looked for a section of the display dealing with his homer in '43, but there wasn't any.

There was a car waiting at the rear of the Hall, and after Bobby helped Monica into the front seat and put the wheelchair in the trunk, we all went back to the Otesaga. He was leaving the next morning to return to Oregon with the four women and he wanted to go to the other end of town to buy some provisions for the trip, so we said goodbye in the lobby.

Afterward, like the Hall of Famers, my wife and I wanted to linger, so we walked out on the bluff where the photograph of the inductees had been shot the day before. We remembered how Doerr had sat on a park bench, signing a dozen autographs for a woman in a sundress who had brought along some photographs. Far out on the lake water-skiers had been carving their turns. Finally, when his colleagues were ready for their group portrait, Doerr had hopped up and joined them on the stand between some shade trees. Then they talked the afternoon away. I think it must have been from this vantage point that Cooper wrote these lines about his peculiar village:

The lake he loved, the forest paths his feet
In other days were wont to fare along,
Are lush with summer opulence, are sweet
With sunshine and with song.

1 2 3
Related Topics
Robert Pershing Doerr 1 0 0
Bobby Doerr 3 0 0
Ted Williams 349 0 11
Cooperstown 40 0 0
AL East Division 4542 0 0