A letter to Barry Newton, Editor of "First Days"
Subject: Basketball Hall of Fame Dedication 8-28-91
Editor First Days
P.O. Box 5295
Fairlawn, OH 44334
A steamy 90 degrees in Springfield, MA, did not deter several hundred sports enthusiasts and stamp collector from gathering ourside the Basketball hall of Fame to attend ceremonies for the dedication of the Basketvall Centennial Stamp on aug 28, 1991 at 10am.
I live in Hoplyoke, about 10 miles from Springfield and I arrived at 7:30am at the main post office located appropriately enough, on Main St. There were collectora there already cramped around a table buying and having their new stamps cancelled with the FD of 1 hand cancel, a bulls-eye cancel. As far as I can determine, no machine FD of 1 cancels were available either at the PO or at the Hall of Fame.
At the PO I met Gerry Adlman of Gamm Covers, busily preparing covers. I had met her once before at the Mary Lyon Stamp Ceremony at So Hadley MA in 1987. Later I saw her at a table at the Hall of Fame, where over a dozen dealers had set up shop outside the building. She was still the pleasant lady I had met four years earlier, and was a busy as ever.
Let me digress a moment to tell collectors and sports fans a little abut the Basketball Hall of Fame. Iit is located at 1150 West Columbus Ave, just off Exit 3 or Route I-91, and can also be reached from Exits 6 and 4 of the Mass Turnpike (I-90). It is located on the banks of the Conn River and also is less than 1/4 mile from the Springfield Amtrak Station, whose tracks run right past the building. The building is open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas, and admission is $5.00 for adults. However, there is a family rate so that the max. is $12 per family. Of interest to collectors is the gift shop, which has cacheted FDC's of the 4 cent 1961 Basketball issue issued by the National Assn of Basketball; Association of Coaches (Mellone). These come 2 ways, a normal FDC and an FDC which is autographed by a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. There is a large list to choose from for auutographs.
There is also a cachet being sold by the Hall of Fame for the new 29 cent stamp and a special program also issued by the Hall which has a special pictorial enshrinement day cancel of several months earlier and a FDC cancel of the new stamp. This is available at the Hall Gift Shop. Unfortuneately I don't think they accept mail offers.
The Springfield PO also issued a booklet which has a cancelled 29 cent stamp and gives a history of the game. This on on sale at the Main St office.
Let me say that I mentioned the above items as a matter of information to collectors only. I regret that I am unable to purchase or receive orders for the above items from readers of this article.
I wanted to get some unofficial FDCs so I got a block plus cancel of the Main St Station (Fig 1), and I dropped some cancelled covers in the mailbox outside. I got them the next day and had 2 different slogan cancels, one for support the the MDAA and the other for support of the United Way.
I drove to the Forest Park Substation and received a red Forest Park Station plug (fig 2) and dropped a letter in the mail slot there. It came the next day with the pictorial slogan of the merry-go-round and the For the Ride of a Lifetime-Collect Stamps" Slogan, a very neat tie-in to a First Day Stamp.
After the ceremonies I drove over the river to West Springfield and got a hand cancel there (fig 3) and finally I went to my own PO in Holyoke and got a hand cancel there (fig 4). Fig 4 does bring up an interesting story; it was claimed that Holyoke was the site where ball was first played. In 1891 Springfield College was a training college for YMCA teachers and the story arose that Dr Naismith saw the game being played at the old Holyoke YMCA.
He liked what he saw and went back to Springfield College to draft a set of rules to govern the new game. The story never gained much credence in lieu of Dr Naismith's position, but hopefully Holyoke will have its chance for stamp history in 1995, since that will be the centennial year for the invention of volleyball invented in Holyoke by GT Magan. Holyoke is the site fo the Volleyball Hall of Fame.
I thought my seeking of unofficials was done until I read the reverse of the Artmaster Cachet. There I read that Senda Berenson, Hall of Fame member, had organized the first womens' basketball game in 1893 at Smith College in Northamptonn, MA. Since Northampton is also only 10 miles from Holyoke, I drove there and had two covers cancelled with the red hand cancaller (fig 5). The postal clerk wondered where I had gotten the stamps, so I told him and he let me cancel the covers. It is probable that I was the only one there that day to service covers.
As I stated earlier, the ceremonies begin at 10am
This is the end of the handwritten letter