Happy Birthday, Baseball Hall of Fame

By Ana Rivera | arivera@wutr.tv

Published 06/12 2014 06:29PM

Updated 06/12 2014 07:27PM

Seventy-five years ago on Thursday the National Baseball Hall of Fame opened its doors.  On Thursday, it rang in the big “75”  with some special guests.

Crowds swarmed the podium today at the national baseball hall of fame.  It was a day to celebrate the Hall of Fame's 75th birthday.  But even after all of those years, the magic is still there.

“Every time I come in here and I get chills and goose bumps that I’m able to share my career with Cal and all the guys in this room right here,” says Phil Niekro, hall of famer.

Both Niekro and Cal Ripken Jr. came to eat cake and sing “happy birthday” to the home of baseball greats.  And even though his name is on the wall, Ripken says the Hall of Fame brings out another side of him.

“I'm still a fan.  I mean I’m in the Hall of Fame.  I’m a fan of baseball and when I’m here I feel the magic and I want to take it all in and really connect with baseball,” Ripken says.

But setting aside the history and the artifacts that live here at the hall of fame, one woman has been walking these halls since June 12, 1939.

We stood over on the steps of the post office right across the street.  And they had the platform right by the Hall of Fame with the inductees on it.  And you could look out over a sea of faces,” saysa Catherine Walker, employee.

Catherine Walker was an 8-year-old living in Cooperstown when the doors opened at the Hall of Fame.  Then about 50 years later she said she decided to get a job there. 

“It wasn't really ever about baseball...but don't...I’d like to work here a couple more days.  I mean it's nice if you have all of these artifacts and all that stuff.  But to me the most important thing were the people that came,” Walker says.

After never missing a game Cal Ripken Jr. earned the nickname the “Iron Man of Baseball.”  But it’s safe to say, Catherine Walker is the “Iron Man” of the Hall of Fame.

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