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Father’s Day gift will bring trip to Cooperstown
Howard Lestrud, Contributing Writer
Howard Lestrud, Reflections

Truthfully, I visited the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame in my dreams.

Actually, it was my three grandchildren and their father that surprised me with a ticket to Cooperstown, New York in July.

“Happy Father’s Day,” read a card explaining plans to go to Cooperstown a few days after Minnesota Twin Joe Mauer is inducted to the Hall of Fame.

Legends of the game come to life during Hall of Fame weekend, July 19-22.

Class of 2024

The Class of 2024 includes Mauer, who was a three-time batting champion and a Most Valuable Player in 2010.

Adrian Beltre, a five-time Gold Glove winner and four-time Silver Slugger recipient at third base, follows Mauer and Todd Helton of the Colorado Rockies.

They will be joined by Jim Leyland, elected by the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee.

Go to The Baseball Hall of Fame website,, and read:

“In his first five full big league seasons, Joe Mauer led the American League in batting average three times. No catcher in AL or NL history had ever before won more than two batting titles.

“For Mauer, it was the peak of a nine-year stretch that – before injuries forced him to move to first base – saw him hailed as one of the finest all-around catchers in the game’s history and put him on a path to Cooperstown.

“Born April 19, 1983, in St. Paul, Minn., Mauer was a three-sport star in high school and became the first student to be named USA Today’s High School Player of the Year in  two sports (football in 2000 as a quarterback and baseball in 2001). Turning down multiple offers to play college football, Mauer was selected by the Twins with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 MLB Draft.”

I have been a baseball junkie for most of my life. The grandkids gave me a treasured baseball card of Willie Mays.

I look forward to touring the  museum and its many exhibits. The museum has three floors of exhibits. The Hall of Fame is comprised of 346 elected members.

The 2024 induction will take place on Saturday, July 20, 2024.

My son Troy and three grandchildren Kaley, Jenna, and Ryan will visit the Hall the days following the induction.

My close, personal friend Clyde Doepner said there will be 85,000 fans in attendance at the induction ceremony. He said we will get a much better look at the Hall rather than pushing and shoving in that large of a crowd.

Tune in on my Reflections column again on Wednesday, July 24, for my final thoughts of visiting the Hall.

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