History of Baseball Nostalgia

Baseball Nostalgia, Inc. was founded in November, 1974 by Bill Himmelman, Mike Aronstein and Pete Henrici in Cooperstown NY. The previous year they had opened Sports Nostalgia along with sports cartoonist Bob Laughlin and boxing referee and publicist Lew Eskin in Upper Saddle River, NJ. In 1974 they opted to lease the original concession area of the Doubleday Batting Range. The doorway was approximately 100 feet from the home plate on historic Doubleday Field. This facility was seasonal as it possessed neither heat nor running water from November through April. Off season mail orders were often filled in temperatures below zero.

Opening on April 23rd of 1975 the focus of the store was to promote baseball past and present as well as collecting. We featured the ever expanding lineup of historical cards produced by Mike’s company, TCMA Ltd. Bob Laughlin’s unique sets were also available as well as his Baseball Stand-Ups. Stadium postcards, yearbooks, publications, Negro League pennants, photos, posters, pins, etc. rounded out the lineup. We also caused quite a stir by introducing complete Topps Baseball Card sets to the general public. The 1995 hand collated set was priced at $9.50. The earliest run of TCMA minor league cards was presented to collectors. TCMA’s first minor league set was the 1974 Gastonia Rangers.

In 1979 Bruce Andrews came aboard. His day to day presence has kept the store pointed in the right direction as Bill, Mike and Pete became involved in additional activities regarding research and product development.

By the mid 1980’s we had begun to increase our product line. Single cards, autographs, original historical t-shirts and sweatshirts, hats and other miscellaneous memorabilia were added. We also featured original artwork by Jim Amore and Art Shockley. Both artists were always in attendance on Hall of Fame Weekend to display their items and to autograph them free of charge.

In the fall of 1986 a second location was leased on Main Street in Cooperstown, but this ended when the building was sold in October of 1987. In February of 1988 we leased our current storefront in the building which housed the Cooperstown Laundromat and Dry Cleaners. This time our entrance was directly in front of the entrance to Doubleday Field. It also allowed us to operate on the retail level twelve months a year. We operated the two sites from 1988 to 1995 when the Batting Range was put up for sale.

Baseball Nostalgia has witnessed the enshrinement of 163+ of the 310 members of the Hall of Fame during our 47 seasons here. The Hall of Fame Weekend evolved from a one day, Monday affair to a four day weekend extravaganza. In 1987 the Hall of Fame Weekend saw something unique: a Hall of Famer charged to sign his autograph. This practice started off slow, but it has now become the norm for the annual induction weekend.

We had intended to close the physical store the December following the 2020 Induction. Due to the pandemic, we stayed open one more year and closed the doors on December 31st 2021.

One reply on “History of Baseball Nostalgia

  • Jeff

    Thanks for writing a historical account of the store. Always enjoyed stopping by, shopping and talking with you and Bruce. Best store in town.


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