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March 8, 2014

Step Back in Time: March 8, 2014

25 years ago

March 8, 1989 

COOPERSTOWN — Armed with blankets, sleeping bags, parkas and lawn chairs, a small group of people prepared to battle sub-zero temperatures Tuesday so they could be assured of Baseball Hall of Fame Game tickets when they go on sale about 9 a.m. this morning.

Some of them aren’t even baseball fans.

“We’ll see if we’re alive tomorrow,” said Joan Didier, who joined her companion, Dave Lazuk, to drive from New Haven, Conn., to Cooperstown to claim a place in line outside the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The New Haven couple set up a dome-style tent on the sidewalk. When they get too cold from being outside, they planned to climb into sleeping bags inside the tent to spend the night. Lazuk said the tent will protect them from any wind.

He is a fan of Johnny Bench, former Cincinnati Reds catcher. She loves the Red Sox. She made an all-night stakeout in Boston in 1986 to get tickets to the World Series games.

Bench, along with former Red Sox star Carl Yastrzemski, Cardinal Red Schoendienst, umpire Al Barlick and announcer Harry Caray, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame July 23. The next day Boston will face Cincinnati for the annual Hall of Fame Game. That combination was too tempting for the New Haven couple to miss.

Alan Zura, of Providence, R.I., took a different approach.

He chartered a bus and paid all expenses of anyone who wanted to accompany him to Cooperstown to claim Hall of Fame Game tickets. He brought about 25 people with him, each of whom will earn $50 for sticking it out until this morning.

Some of Zura’s companions said they could care less about baseball.

Step Back in Time features news items from The Daily Star 25 and 50 years ago.

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