Chuck Williams

Chuck Williams: Random thoughts from my trip to Cooperstown

Random thoughts and observations from a historic weekend in Cooperstown, N.Y.

It was pretty obvious that the best speech given by a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2014 came from Columbus' own Frank Thomas.

You could feel the love he had for those who helped him reach the top of his profession.

Seeing his mother on the front row -- knowing it could not have been easy for her to travel with her physical limitations -- was one of the most moving things all weekend.

Early Monday morning, Charlie Mae Thomas was in the Albany, N.Y., airport preparing to fly back to Atlanta. She was so proud.

And so was Frank's older sister Gloria Snelling. As I talked to her in the terminal, it was obvious a lot of the other passengers were listening when they figured out who her baby brother was.

She was talking about how she used to keep him in line. At one point, she said, sort of loud, "When I needed to, I use to go up side his head."

Everybody around us just started laughing.

If Chicago White Sox announcer Ken "Hawk" Harrelson can give Thomas the nickname the "Big Hurt," I want to give Charlie Mae a nickname. They should start calling her "Mama Hurt."

My favorite non-baseball moment of the trip came Saturday morning on my drive into Cooperstown from Albany, N.Y. I took a different way each of the six times I made the hour and a half drive.

There was no good way to get there. Much of the trip involved two-lane roads, mountains and scenic New York countryside.

But Saturday morning, I was about 15 miles outside Cooperstown and lost on this winding county road. I rolled into a fork in that road, and had no idea what to do. It wasn't on the map and Google directions were not working because of a break in cell coverage.

I started laughing. All I could think of was the quote from Yankee great Yogi Berra, "If you come to a fork in the road, take it."

I must have laughed for five minutes, even took a picture of it. Could not have happened at a more perfect place, so close to Cooperstown.

Most interesting baseball conversation I overheard all weekend was between a couple of fans, former Atlanta Brave great Dale Murphy and former Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda.

"You should have been a Dodger," Lasorda said to Murphy.

Murphy just gave him a "not-me" look. It was priceless.

Murphy was the best off-the-field guy as a player, and he is the best as a former player. Fans were paying him $45 for an autograph, but he would let fans skip over the rope and take a picture for free. You could tell it didn't sit well with the card shark who was paying Murphy for his time.

But, so what? Good guys are going to be good guys.

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