The first weekend in August every year for the last 37 years has been reserved for my mother’s side of the family to get together rain or shine for a family picnic. My immediate family moved away from Canada about 19 years ago down to New Jersey and this makes for a great excuse to go back and visit. The drive from New Jersey to Ottawa is about 8 hours give or take depending on how many pit stops need to be made along the way. The last couple years we have tried to break up the trip back to Jersey by stopping someplace for the night and of course I take the opportunity to find a penny machine I may not get to visit again. Last year we stopped by the Finger Lakes region in New York state and I posted a visit to a Bass Pro Shop in Auburn, NY which you can read about here. As I have also posted in the past my family are pretty big baseball fans and this year we decided to make a little detour before heading home to visit the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
This truly is a baseball fans paradise. The hall of fame sits right on Main Street and is surrounded by amazing little stores that contain anything baseball related you could think of. Our first stop of course was the Hall of Fame itself.
The weekend before we arrived had the induction ceremony for the new 2015 class that included four great players. Craig Biggio, Randy “Big Unit” Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz. The Hall of Fame has three floors with some really great memorabilia, history, interactive exhibits and even a loop of the classic Laurel and Hardy sketch “Who’s on First”. We spend a good two hours checking everything out but to be honest we could have been there all day there was just so much interesting history to see.
The day before we visited the Hall of Fame we had actually arrived in Cooperstown in the late afternoon. After checking into our hotel and a quick rest in the room to recharge, we headed down to Main Street to check out all the stores and attractions that filled the town. Were there any penny machines? Oh you bet. I had done my usual research before our trip but found that there were a couple of machines that had seemed to move around from store to store over the years. Most of the machine notes hadn’t been updated in over a year or two so I didn’t know if they would still be there or not. Luckily they were still in their most recent locations and weren’t too hard to find.
First was the Yastrzemski Store. This wasn’t a big place but did have some nice little souvenirs. The penny machine was located inside the front door to the left.
The machine worked very nicely. It cranked smoothly and made almost no noise which I wasn’t used. The designs came out very nicely and of course were baseball related.
The 4 designs included: I caught this in Cooperstown NY, Peace Love Baseball, No plate like Home Plate, and Abner Doubleday the Father of Baseball. We continued walking along Main Street checking out other stores when they peaked out interested, then crossed the street and started to head back. Eventually I came to the next potential penny machine location in the Pioneer Sports Cards store.
The machine was located towards the front of the store but was in among a lot of other things handing all around it. For some reason I didn’t see it when I first walked in and ended up wandering around the entire store until my father thankfully pointed it out.
Now this machine is a 4 die model. However as you can see from the Marquee in the picture above one of the designs is covered up, and there is also a note right above the handle stating that one of the designs doesn’t work. I had read about this online and initially was going to try pressing it anyways, but once I was there I didn’t want to run the risk of damaging the machine. So I only pressed the 3 known working designs.
The designs were: Doubleday Field, Play Ball and Sand Lot Kid. Each penny also included Cooperstown, NY in the designs. I was a little disappointed at not being able to acquire the full set but I’ll be on the look out for it online or maybe at a penny trading session with my fellow TEC members at a future get together. I was able to find a picture of the fourth design through a quick google search.
It’s a pretty nice design and would have made a nice additional to my collection but sometimes it’s just not meant to be. I’ll keep my eyes open and I’m sure at some time I’ll be able to find it. I may even send a letter to the store in a few months to see if the machine is fixed and hopefully they will help press it for me. It never hurts to ask.
After a nice long weekend trip of visiting family and indulging in some baseball history it was nice to get home. I’ve already catalogue these new coins and have some other adventures scheduled for the next few weekends. The end of summer is quickly approaching and I still have so many places to visit.