Baseball Hall of Fame celebrates 75th birthday in style

By Travis Eldridge

June 12, 2014 Updated Jun 12, 2014 at 6:51 PM EDT

Cooperstown, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Seventy-five years ago Thursday the Baseball Hall of Fame opened its doors. Now, all those years later, that magical feeling still hasn't worn off.

Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Phil Niekro joined Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson and Chairwoman of the Board of Directors Jane Forbes Clark in celebrating the 75th anniversary.

Fans packed the plaque room to get a glimpse at some of baseball's royalty, but the event was just as special for the Ripken and Niekro to be apart of.

"In baseball, we like to compare the other eras and kind of go back. I can't tell you why that's a magical comparison, but it is," said Ripken. "The game schedule, the history, the champions and all that, and the players, is celebrated here like no other place else."

"I always like coming back to Cooperstown, and walking in here and still seeing my plaque up on the wall, that's exciting," said Niekro. "I get goose bumps when I come here. And the town of Cooperstown is just a magical place for me. "

It's more than just a place for his plaque to hang on the wall to Niekro. He went as far to say Cooperstown is "the magical village of the USA."

Thursday's ceremony is just part of the year-long celebration.

The major culminating event comes July 27th when Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox are inducted into the Hall. It's one of the most star-studded classes in the Hall of Fame's history.

"I don't think we could have scripted this any better," said Idelson. "After almost having a séance last summer with no living inductees, we have six guys this year, all with tremendous star power. Our largest living induction class since 1971 is fitting in our 75th year."