Adrian Beltre – 3,000 hits

3 08 2017

#31 – Adrian Beltre – August 30, 2017.  Double off Wade Miley, Baltimore Orioles.  Globe Life Park, Arlington, TX.  (3,001 as of today)

I haven’t posted in a long time – I didn’t post at all in June or July – and I don’t think I’m gonna jump back on the bandwagon right at the moment.  But there’s a few posts I’ve always done since I started this blog in 2010 – and the subject for them all seem to be coming up at once!  One thing I liked doing is updating the 3,000 hit club.  On Sunday, Adrian Beltre stamped his place into that club.  This was the same day as the Hall of Fame induction.  That’s fitting, because this is a milestone will help ensure the writers give Beltre his proper due.  It’s a pretty good bet they induct him into the Hall 5 years after he decides to hang up his cleats.

One thing I found interesting – Beltre has seemed like a guy who was a lock to get to 3,000 for about 3 or 4 years.  But he only has one season with 200 hits, and one season leading his league in hits (and those weren’t the same seasons).  So that made me want to do some research!  Rafael Palmeiro also had one 200-hit season and one league-leading season – but not the same year.

200 Hit seasons – 3,000 hit club

  • 10 – Ichiro, Rose
  • 9 – Cobb
  • 8 – Waner, Jeter
  • 7 – Boggs
  • 6 – Musial
  • 5 – Gwynn
  • 4 – Clemente, Brock, Carew, Lajoie, Molitor, Speaker
  • 3 – Rodriguez, Aaron
  • 2 – Brett, Ripken, Yastrzemski, Wagner
  • 1 – Beltre, Kaline, Palmeiro, Biggio, Yount, Mays, Collins, Anson
  • 0 – Henderson, Winfield, Murray

Leading the league in Hits – 3,000 hit club

  • 8 – Cobb
  • 7 – Ichiro, Rose
  • 6 – Musial
  • 5 – Gwynn
  • 4 – Lajoie
  • 3 – Carew, Brett, Molitor
  • 2 – Clemente, Waner, Wagner, Jeter, Speaker, Aaron
  • 1 – Beltre, Kaline, Boggs, Palmeiro, Henderson, Rodriguez, Yount, Ripken, Mays, Anson
  • 0 – Brock, Biggio, Winfield, Murray, Collins, Yastrzemski

Interesting facts:

Dave Winfield and Eddie Murray both never had a 200-hit season and never led their respective league.  Murray actually never had over 190 hits, while Winfield only cracked that barrier once.

Tony Gwynn had over 200 hits 5 times, he led the league all 5 of those seasons, and he never led the league any other year.  Nap Lajoie had the same distinction with his 4 league leading / 200 hit seasons.

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RIP Jim Bunning, 1931-2017

30 05 2017

I haven’t been much for posting lately, but I try to always post a little “in memoriam” when a Hall of Famer passes away.  It was especially weird this week.  I’m in Cooperstown right now.  My wife and I brought the kids to their first Cooperstown trip for the Memorial Weekend festivities they put on.  I may (will?) post about it later.  The whole thing was awesome, and on Saturday night we walked through the museum and then went to the Hall of Fame part (where the plaques are).  That’s when I saw the poster above.  With twitter and all of today’s social media, I’m often up to the minute on baseball news.  But being in Cooperstown has a way of removing you from that.  So I was a bit floored to see this.

First off, Jim Bunning is from Cincinnati like I am.  He graduated from St. Xavier high school – I know plenty of people who did.  He went to Xavier, which was always my favorite local college when I was a kid.  Being both a Cincinnatian and a big baseball fan, I always kind of knew more about him than the average Cincinnatian or baseball fan.  Needless to say, I was sad to hear of his passing.

I can always use a refresher, however.  Reading up a bit, I didn’t realize that he retired as the second leading strikeout pitcher of all-time.  That’s right.  Before Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Gaylord Perry and Tom Seaver could flag down the Big Train – they all had to pass Jim Bunning.  He was the first guy with a no-hitter in both leagues, one of which was a perfect game in 1964 for the Phillies.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1996 by the Veterans Committee.  His plaque was adorned with flowers on Saturday when I was there.

The way he spent his time after baseball is the more notable part of his life, however.  Representing Bunning spent 12 years as a member of Congress, representing the state of Kentucky.  After his time in the House, he went on to 12 more years as a member of the Senate.

Bunning is the 13th HOF-er to pass away since I started this blog.  The baseball world will miss a man who spent a career in baseball and then another career representing our country.





Updating for 2017 – Hall of Famers in Topps sets

20 01 2017

Last year, I said “I wish Tim Raines or Jeff Bagwell had made it as well”.  They got their honor this year, though now I’m saying “I wish Hoffman and Vlad had made it”.  I think it’s a Rule of 10 issue – if Raines or Bagwell had made it last year, Hoffman would have made it this year.  And that would free up somebody who’s gonna miss by 5% or less next year.

But that’s not for this post.  This post is about baseball cards and updating stuff.  Last year I attended the HOF induction.  Unless something changes, I’m not attending this year (we are slated to go to Cooperstown in May).

The number of Hall of Famers in a given set has always been something that intrigued me.  I count the number of Hall of Famers for every new set I start, and post about it in my overview.  So, since there are now 3 new Hall of Famers to account for, I need to go back and update those posts.  This is a great group, too.  The only upside of it taking 10 years for Tim Raines?  Changes documented in this post span every year I’ve covered on this blog but 1 (1980).

In showing this stuff below, I will show the cumulative total as well.

 

First, the ground rules.  I include all Hall of Famers from the set.  That includes someone like Johnny Bench who had a Turn Back the Clock card in the 1990 set.  I also include managers who were Hall of Fame players (Frank Robinson in 1984 Topps, or my personal favorite – Yogi Berra as an Astro coach on their 1987 Topps team leader card).  I also include player cards of guys who made the Hall of Fame as a manager (i.e., 1969 Topps Bobby Cox).  If you have a bronze plaque in Cooperstown, I’m including you.

1980 Topps – 41 Hall of Famers

Johnny Bench, Bert Blyleven, George Brett, Rod Carew, Steve Carlton, Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Carlton Fisk, Goose Gossage, Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Fergie Jenkins, Willie McCovey, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Phil Niekro, Tony Perez, Gaylord Perry, Jim Rice, Nolan Ryan, Mike Schmidt, Tom Seaver, Ozzie Smith, Willie Stargell, Bruce Sutter, Don Sutton, Dave Winfield, Carl Yastrzemski, Robin Yount, Earl Weaver (manager), Tommy LaSorda (manager), Dick Williams (manager), Sparky Anderson (manager), Lou Brock (HL)

tim-raines-expos

 

1981 Topps – 41 Hall of Famers

Gone (-2):  McCovey and Brock were gone after retiring

New (+2):  Whitey Herzog got a manager card when he was hired by St. Louis.  And Rock Raines got a card in the 1981 set as part of the Expos Future Stars triple player card.

  • The 2017 induction of Raines increased this number by 1.

Raines RC

1982 Topps – 34 Hall of Famers

Gone (-8):  There was no manager subset in 1982, which accounts for the big drop – Weaver, LaSorda, Williams, Herzog, Anderson, Torre, Cox and LaRussa aren’t in this set.

New (+1):  Cal Ripken Jr. had the first new guy in this set.

  • The 2017 induction of Raines increased this number by 1.

 

1983 Topps – 45 Hall of Famers

This is the peak of HOF-ers in my Lifetime Topps project.

Gone (-1):  Willie Stargell retired and had his last card in 1982 (-1).

New (+12):  The manager subset came back, which led to 9 new cards of Hall of Famers – Weaver, LaSorda, Williams, Sparky, Herzog, Cox, Torre, LaRussa and Frank Robinson.  Additionally, Wade Boggs, Ryne Sandberg and Tony Gwynn entered the fray.

  • The 2017 induction of Raines increased this number by 1.  This is still the set with the most HOF-ers in my Lifetime Topps Project.

 

1984 Topps – 44 Hall of Famers

Gone (-1):  Earl Weaver had retired after the 1982 season, with no new Hall of Fame blood in this set.

Bench, Perry and Yastrzemski were only included in a subset card.

  • The 2017 induction of Raines increased this number by 1.

 

1985 Topps – 40 Hall of Famers

Gone (-6):  Robinson was gone after his stint as the Giants manager was over, while Bench, Yaz, Perry, Palmer and Jenkins had also had their last player cards.

New (+2):  Kirby Puckett’s rookie card is in this set, and Yogi Berra had a card for his second (and controversial) stint as Yankee manager (+2).  When I started this blog, Puckett was the most recent rookie card of any Hall of Famer!  That claim now belongs to Piazza.

  • The 2017 induction of Raines increased this number by 1.

 

1986 Topps – 40 Hall of Famers

Gone (-3):  Torre was fired as Braves manager in 1984 and wasn’t gone until this set.  Berra was fired as well, and Joe Morgan retired.

New (+3):  Earl Weaver was back as the O’s manager, and we had a Turn Back the Clock subset that got Willie Mays and Frank Robinson into the mix.

  • The 2017 induction of Raines increased this number by 1.

 

1987 Topps – 38 Hall of Famers

Gone (-6):  Cox was no longer the Blue Jay skipper at this point, and Carew, Fingers and Tony Perez all retired. Robinson and Mays were gone from the TBC subset….

New (+4):  But Clemente and Yastrzemski replaced them.  Barry Larkin had his first card in this set, and Yogi Berra had the awesome TL card I mentioned earlier as coach of the Astros!

  • The 2017 induction of Raines increased this number by 1.

 

1988 Topps – 36 Hall of Famers

Gone (-7):  Mr. October, Lefty and Tom Terrific and Earl Weaver all retired at this point.  Clemente, Yaz and Berra were gone from subsets .  

New (+5):  Maddux and Glavine had their first base Topps cards, and the subsets were a wash due to 3 new Cardinals – Bob Gibson and Stan Musial from the TBC subset, and Red Schoendienst being featured on the Cards Team Leader card.  

Phil Niekro made it only on the Record Breaker subset with his brother in this set.

  • The 2017 induction of Raines increased this number by 1.

 

1989 Topps – 37 Hall of Famers

Gone (-6):  Sutton, Niekro (RB), Williams (mgr), Schoendienst (TL), Musial (TBC), Gibson (TBC)

New (+7):  Roberto Alomar RC, Randy Johnson RC, Craig Biggio RC, John Smoltz RC, Hank Aaron (TBC), Brock (TBC), Frank Robinson (back as a manager)

  • The 2017 induction of Raines increased this number by 1.

 

1990 Topps – 37 Hall of Famers

Gone (-2):  2 relievers exited the set – Bruce Sutter and Goose Gossage (who would be back)

New (+2)  Frank Thomas had his RC in the set, and Griffey Junior had his first regular Topps card.  The effect of the TBC subset was a wash, it went up to 3 HOFers from the previous year, but one of them was Mike Schmidt who didn’t actually have a base card after retiring mid-1989.

  • The 2017 induction of Raines increased this number by 1.

 

1991 Topps – 34 Hall of Famers

Gone (-5):  Rice (retired), Herzog (retired), Schmidt, Bench, Koufax (the TBC set had ended its 5-year run)

New (+2):  Torre and Cox, both of whom got back in the managing saddle

  • The 2017 induction of Raines increased this number by 1.
2 cards I posted back in the day!

2 cards I posted back in the day!

1992 Topps – 36 Hall of Famers

Gone (-1):  Robinson (fired as Oriole manager)

New (+3):  Gossage (back after a stint in Japan).  Pudge and Bagwell are in this set – true rookies were in the Traded set from 1991, but for both these guys this is their first base Topps card.

  • The 2017 induction of Raines, Bagwell and Pudge increased this number by 3!

 

1993 Topps – 38 Hall of Famers

Gone (-1):  Gossage (retired for good this time)

New (+3):  Tony Perez (Reds manager), Pedro Martinez (first Topps card), Mike Piazza (on a Prospects card)

  • The 2017 induction of Raines, Bagwell and Pudge increased this number by 3!

 

1994 Topps – 30 Hall of Famers (a mass exodus!)

Gone (-9):  Topps did away with manager cards in 1994, which meant no cards for Torre, LaRussa, Cox, Sparky, Perez and LaSorda.  Additionally, Blyleven, Carter and Fisk all retired.

New (+1):  Hank Aaron (tribute)

  • The 2017 induction of Raines, Bagwell and Pudge increased this number by 3!

 

1995 Topps – 25 Hall of Famers (further depleted!)

Gone (-6):  Brett, Ryan and Yount (all retired for good).  Sandberg (retired temporarily).  Dawson (left out of the set, though he is in ’95 Traded).  Aaron (tribute)

New (+1):  Babe Ruth (tribute)

  • The 2017 induction of Raines, Bagwell and Pudge increased this number by 3!

pudge

1996 Topps – 26 Hall of Famers (an actual increase!)

Gone (-2):  Winfield (retired), Ruth (tribute)

New (+3):  Mickey Mantle (tribute), Dawson (back after ’95 snub), Sandberg (back in baseball after a year-plus hiatus)

  • The 2017 induction of Raines, Bagwell and Pudge increased this number by 3!

 

1997 Topps – 23 Hall of Famers

Gone (-4):  Dawson, Puckett, Smith (retired), Mantle (tribute).  Puckett was the first HOF player to start in my

New (+1):  Jackie Robinson (tribute)

  • The 2017 induction of Raines, Bagwell and Pudge increased this number by 3!

 

1998 Topps – 19 Hall of Famers

Gone (-5):  Murray, Sandberg (retired), Robinson (tribute), Henderson (snubbed – he even has an insert card in the product), Raines (also snubbed).

New (+1):  Roberto Clemente (tribute)

  • The 2017 induction of Bagwell and Pudge increased this number by 2.  Raines did not get a card in 1998 or 1999 Topps 😦

 

1999 Topps – 18 Hall of Famers

Gone (-3):  Molitor, Eckersley (retired), Clemente (tribute)

New (+2):  Nolan Ryan (tribute), Henderson (back after snub)

  • The 2017 induction of Bagwell and Pudge increased this number by 2.  Raines did not get a card in 1998 or 1999 Topps.

 

2000 Topps – 19 Hall of Famers

Gone (-1):  Nolan Ryan (tribute)

New (+2):  Hank Aaron (tribute), Tim Raines (back with a regular card!)

  • The 2017 induction of Raines, Bagwell and Pudge increased this number by 3!

 

2001 Topps – 27 Hall of Famers

Gone (-2):  Wade Boggs (retired), Tim Raines (temporarily retired – but this was his last base Topps card)

New (+10):  The manager subset was back, which meant new cards for Torre, Cox and LaRussa.  There was also a Golden Moments subset, which had new cards of Bill Mazeroski, Reggie Jackson, Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Nolan Ryan, Lou Brock and Carlton Fisk.

Hank Aaron’s Tribute card was gone in 2001, but he was still in the Golden Moments subset.

  • The 2017 induction of Bagwell and Pudge increased this number by 2.  Raines did not get a card after 2000.

 

2002 Topps – 19 Hall of Famers

Gone (-9):  Cal Ripken retired, and the Golden Moments subset was gone, which meant those cards of Mazeroski, Jackson, Robinson, Clemente, Ryan, Brock, Fisk and Aaron were gone.

New (+1):  Tony Perez managed the Marlins at the end of 2002, and got a manager card in this set for it.

  • The 2017 induction of Bagwell and Pudge increased this number by 2.

2003 Topps Traded Ortiz Pudge Carpenter

2003 Topps – 18 Hall of Famers

Gone (-2):  Tony Gwynn had retired in 2001, but still got a 2002 card.  He was gone from the set in 2003.  Perez was no longer a manager, so his card was gone as well.

New (+1):  Frank Robinson became the Expos manager in 2002, and got a card in this set.

  • The 2017 induction of Bagwell and Pudge increased this number by 2.

2004 Topps Bagwell Biggio Berkman

2004 Topps – 18 Hall of Famers

Gone (-1):  Rickey Henderson retired.

New (+1):  Mike Schmidt was included in a subset card along with Jim Thome.

  • The 2017 induction of Bagwell and Pudge increased this number by 2.




My fictitious Hall of Fame Ballot – 2017

18 01 2017

The Hall of Fame vote comes out tonight.  If you’re anything like me, you gobble this kind of thing up.  I follow the Hall of Fame tracker by @NotMrTibbs that has received a bunch of attention.  I try to read a couple of books a year about HOF inductees.  I went to Griffey’s induction last year!

Griffey HOF backward hat

This year’s ballot is again facing a logjam.  The average ballot last year contained just under 8 players per submission.  This year it will almost certainly end up above 8, even with a blank ballot or 2.  Griffey and Piazza are off the ballot after being inducted last year.  Alan Trammel and Mark McGwire are off after reaching their respective year limit.  That’s about 300% of votes received, which did free some votes up.

But Vladimir Guerrero and Ivan Rodriguez are 2 newcomers who have a real shot at getting the 75% required vote.  And Manny Ramirez is tracking toward a decent percentage (20-25%).  Add the increases of all other holdovers from last year – and the logjam is actually bigger.  Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines look like locks to get in.  Voters seem more inclined to check the box for Clemens and Bonds, and a Trevor Hoffman will be very close as well.

I’m guessing only Bagwell and Raines get in, with Vlad, Pudge and Hoffman barely short.  I hope I’m wrong – it would be nice if one of the other 3 get in.  But if it’s just 2 – the logjam will be even worse next year with only elected and Lee Smith coming off!  I do think it will peak there (or this year if more than 2 get elected).

The 10-player ballot maximum is an unnecessary constraint (problem).  It splits the vote.  As you can see below, there are over 15 players I’d vote for, but if I was a voter, I’d have to pick 10.  I’ve read at least one writer each who put Hoffman or Vlad 11th.  If those guys are one vote short, that just makes the problem worse next year.

Below is my “if I had a vote” message.  Before I get into specific players, I want to say what I’d do about the steroid guys.  I’d generally vote for guys with a clear link to PEDs (note that Piazza and Bagwell do not even have such a link – just speculation with little to no basis).  My reasons?  First, I think PEDs were a baseball issue, not a Mark McGwire or a Barry Bonds issue.  Second, it’s a gray area, not the black and white line that many make it out to be.  I firmly believe at some point in the future, maybe 25 years or 40 years, we’re going to realize that some of those substances are safe to use and that it was silly that it got the debate it did. Finally, there is probably a PED user already in the Hall of Fame, and there are definitely guys in who have openly admitted to using amphetamines.

Steroids was part of the game just like other forms of gamesmanship have been part of the game in different eras.  I say vote the cheaters in, like we’ve done for its entire history (see Gaylord Perry).  I’d rather do that than act like the Hall of Fame is something more than it is.  It’s a shrine for the greatest players, managers and executives of the game, next to a museum that keeps the history of baseball.  No more, no less.

So if someone is linked to PEDs, at least for the time being, I will vote them in – but behind clean guys who I think clearly deserve to be in.  The guys that are, to me, unquestionable on performance and have no tie to PEDs.  The only reason for this is the ballot limit of 10.  I’d vote for Mark McGwire absent any constraints, but if I have to pick between him and Jeff Bagwell, I’d choose Bagwell.  Bagwell deserves to be in CLEARLY, so I slot him ahead of the other guys.  This matters when you’re limited to 10 votes.

I’ve repeated the above 3 paragraphs for at least 3 years now, however I have one addition.  I’m not going to vote for Manny Ramirez.  Despite the fact he’s the probably best historical player on here not named Bonds or Clemens.  But he cheated when it really was cheating, and that’s just where the line gets drawn for me right now.

So here’s my fake ballot.  This is in the order of how I’d vote them in, meaning I’d put Ken Griffey Jr. first if I was only allowed to pick 1 player.

  • Tim Raines (69.8%)
  • Jeff Bagwell (71.6%)
  • Ivan Rodriguez (1st)
  • Vladimir Guerrero (1st)
  • Curt Schilling (52.3%)
  • Mike Mussina (43.0%)
  • Edgar Martinez (27.0%)
  • Barry Bonds (44.3%)
  • Roger Clemens (45.2%)
  • Larry Walker (11.8%)

That’s the limit of 10.  My personal backlog was cut to less because I only added 2 guys – whereas Griffey, Piazza and Trammell were “above the line” for me last year.  Edgar Martinez, congratulations!  I actually moved him above Walker, Jeff Kent and the steroid guys after further review!  Reading a book about the ’95 Mariners really opened my eyes to how feared he was by other players.  He’s looking like he could get in, probably the year after next if I had to guess.

I would also vote the next 7 guys in, but they’d get eliminated by the 10 player rule.  Last year I actually had to choose between Bonds and Clemens.  This year, there are 9 “no-doubters” for me that I put ahead of Bonds & Clemens.  4 of them got elected.  I also decided this year to move Mussina above that list, and while I view Trammell as a clear-cut HOF-er, but he’s definitely the least clear-cut out of those guys.

The rest of these guys are players whom I would vote for.  They aren’t as clear-cut as the 7 guys ahead of Bonds above, but I would vote for them if there were no restrictions.  Note that I put Walker in the same category, but at the top of that “not clear-cut” list – so he makes the list of 10.  To be clear, I definitely do think these guys are Hall of Famers.

  • Jeff Kent (16.6%)
  • Fred McGriff (20.9%)
  • Trevor Hoffman (67.3%)
  • Billy Wagner (10.5%)
  • Gary Sheffield (11.6%)
  • Sammy Sosa (7.0%)

That’s a list of 16.  And I would have put a number of guys who are no longer BBWAA-eligible.  I wish the Hall of Fame could read articles about this and see how the limit of 10 really restricts things for their voters.  Actual BBWAA writers have written about similar dilemmas.  I’d also put Rafael Palmeiro, Kenny Lofton, Jim Edmonds, Trammell and McGwire in.  All have fallen off the ballot in previous years.

 





Monday at the Hall – Legends of the Game roundtable

2 08 2016

This will be my last post about my trip to the Hall of Fame.  I’ll just say it was a ton of fun – a good excursion for the wife and I to get away.  I got to do lots of baseball stuff, we both got to do lots of fun dinners, and some outdoors type things.

While the induction itself was really cool, and the reason you go, my favorite part of the baseball stuff was on Monday.  Sunday there were 50,000 people, and it’s a very formal event.  Two things about Sunday I didn’t post about earlier – I was on TV for the later interview with Griffey, Gammons, Harold Reynolds and Greg Amsinger – this was pretty cool.  My mom was watching my 2 kids, and my son apparently No, you don’t get to see a pic of me on this blog – but here’s Griffey with Gammons after that interview from my perspective!

Griffey Gammons

After that, we walked by this car on the way home.  I wish I had this kind of creativity and willingness!

img_1577

img_1578

On Monday, the HOF hosts an event called Legends of the Roundtable.  I went to this back in 2009 – that had to be one of the first times they did it – where the new Hall of Famers do an outdoor conversation with Gammons.  In 2009, it was at Clark Sports Center, where the induction is.  The players sat on a podium where they had been inducted.  I felt like it was much smaller then.  Now, it’s held at Doubleday Field which is a block away from the Hall.

They sell tickets to the whole 1st base side of bleachers, put a stand up, and the players and Gammons were wearing golf shirts as opposed to the suits from the day before.  It was an awesome event – probably my highlight of the trip!  Griffey and Piazza both answered legitimate questions and you got some stories that seemed “insider” for the weekend.  If you told me I could only go to this or the induction – I might lean toward this!

img_1623

We finished our days in Cooperstown with a trip to Howe Caverns – which was really cool and not far and on the way to Albany airport if anyone ever wants to go.





Hall of Fame recap – Awards ceremony & parade

1 08 2016

After doing the Hall of Fame in the morning, and getting some Hall of Famer autographs in the afternoon, we went to our first official HOF events of the weekend.  At 4:30 was the Hall of Fame Awards Presentation.  This consists of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award (writer) and the Ford C. Frick Award (broadcaster).

The Frick Award honored Graham McNamee, who was a true pioneer of baseball radio.  He’s one of the first broadcasters to cover the World Series – calling the Yankees first championship back in 1923.  He’s obviously passed away, but they had Dick Enberg (last year’s winner) give a brief note on him and did a video tribute.  My favorite story was how he got his gig.  A great singer, McNamee was on a break from jury duty and went to radio station WEAF to audition for a part.  He instead came away with a broadcasting job.

The Spink Award honored Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe.  Dan is known for authoring a number of Boston sports books, most notably “The Curse of the Bambino”, and his long tenure with the Globe.  He has what I think people consider a prototypical Boston media attitude – he can be harsh but has a lot of wit.  He started his career in Baltimore but then came back to the Boston Globe where he grew up.  Dan gave a really nice speech.  He mixed some of that wit and none of that harshness, and wove in a bunch of players that were sitting behind him (the players all went from the autograph shows to this event).  My favorite was of him in his first year at Baltimore, sticking a microphone in front of the straw that stirs the drink.

1977 Dan Shaughnessy

After Shaughnessy, the Hall did a tribute where FDNY Batallion Chief Vin Mavaro told his story of sifting through the rubble of the World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks.  This was days later, and as he described it, their mission had changed from rescue to find/salvage.  Where almost everything had been crushed and pulverized, he found a baseball virtually intact.  It had the logo of a company called TradeWeb, and he was happy to learn that, unlike many others, the company had accounted for all of its employees in the building.  Baseball played its part in healing the nation in 2001, and this was a good story to recount.  The HOF did this to honor the 15th anniversary of the attacks, and it was appropriate that Piazza and Griffey – who had their own unique stories about helping out after 9/11/01 – were inducted.

FDNY baseball

After the ceremony was the Legends Parade – we got a good spot to watch at the corner of Main and Chestnut.  It was cool – every Hall of Famer comes out the west side of Doubleday Field after the ceremony on their own truck.  I took way too many pictures of this, but here’s 2 of the current inductees.

HOF parade Griffey

HOF parade Piazza

After that, we went to a new restaurant in Cooperstown – right on the corner we viewed.  It’s called Mel’s 22, and it’s got great food though could use a little help with the seating / management aspect.  They probably don’t have nearly as much of a crowd on any other weekend!  But it was good food and some good beer.  We hit that for dinner and then had a few too many on the pub crawl that followed.  After that, we woke up for the Sunday induction, which I’ve already posted.  My last Cooperstown post will (hopefully) be tomorrow or Wednesday – covering the Monday event.





Hall of Fame recap – Saturday autographs

31 07 2016

A couple of days ago I posted about the morning at the Baseball Hall of Fame.  That was the only time we actually went into the museum during the weekend.  As I mentioned – that went to lunch time when we went and grabbed lunch at Doubleday Cafe (my favorite restaurant in Cooperstown).

Doubleday Cafe

After that, I was going to get a few autographs.  I started off with Ken Griffey Sr.  It seemed like a good idea on the weekend his son goes in.  I had him sign a ball and put “1980 AS MVP”.  Senior was signing at the shop where Pete Rose always signs on this weekend, and all I can say is that it wasn’t a great experience.  Griffey, Tony Perez and Rose were all there.  Griffey basically refused to acknowledge people who paid to get his autograph.  Almost every guy who has signed gives you a smile or something – he just didn’t want to talk to anybody.  There was some kind of mixup where he maybe wasn’t supposed to do an inscription, but the ticket guy had said it was $10 extra (which is what I paid).  I wonder if he had some kind of agreement with Rose where he had to sign but didn’t want to.  Or had some issue with the promoter.  I would understand why he wouldn’t want to do an autograph thing that weekend – his son didn’t and I get spending that with family.  Anyways, like I said he was in some kind of a pissy mood and it wasn’t a good experience.  I wish I hadn’t paid for an autograph in that situation.  My wife was with me and she thought it was weird, so it wasn’t just me.

signing - Griffey Sr

The Hit King gave me a wink on the way out – I was decked up in Reds gear – so on some level Pete went up a notch in my book.  I don’t agree with a lot of what Pete has done, but I always he does realize the importance of fans.

The other 3 autographs I got were much better experiences.  I collect autographs of players who are members of the 500 home run, 3,000 hit, or 300 win clubs.  Someday I want to put them all in a table of something where I can display them.  I’ve still got a number of living players left, so I get them when I can – a few a year.  This is the event where I pick some up for 2016!  All the autographs were at the MAB Celebrity Services event at Tunnicliff Inn.

Tunnicliff Inn - the pit

First up was Dave Winfield.  I was telling a few buddies on a Whats app conversation I was going to get his autograph, and a few were adamant he’s the best athlete of all time.  I would go Bo Jackson, but I get the point – drafted in the 3 major North American sports, and making the HOF in one of them – certainly gets you there.  Winfield was very nice; I didn’t chat with him for very long, but I did mention the point my friends had and he chuckled.  He was friendly.

signing - Winfield

Next up was Steve Carlton.  He didn’t have too bad of a line, though I don’t think he does a lot of shows like this so I was glad to get his autograph.  Carlton was also very nice – I actually couldn’t remember his strikeout total and he kind of chuckled.  I’ve read he didn’t get along with the media, but he was friendly too.  I walked by Johnny Bench on the way out, and he gave me a “Go Reds”.

signing - Carlton

Last up for me was Rod Carew, whose line was very long.  He’s had some health issues, and is eventually going to need a heart transplant.  I was surprised he was signing, but I wished him luck with his health – he was very friendly as well though his line was so long I pretty much got my auto, shook his hand and left.

signing - Carew

So that was the autographs for the day.  One thing I’ll note – we got a great place for the weekend.  We rented a room that was part of a 3 bedroom house called the “1797 house”.  I thought originally that had something to do with the address, but my wife quickly pointed out it was built in 1797.  So it wasn’t what I’d call up-to-date amenities, but it worked.  It was a block from Main Street, on the same block that the Hall is on Main Street, so I could have hit the Tunnicliff Inn with a 7-iron and the Hall with a driver from my house.  Don’t worry, I left the golf clubs at home 🙂

This was helpful – I could take the balls I got autographed back to our room in between.  If my wife bought a shirt for the kids, she could do the same.  If we wanted to run out and grab waters or Gatorade – or Advil for the hangovers – it was easy.  This level of convenience was invaluable.