Cromartie overwhelmed by first visit to Hall of Fame
By Craig Muder
Warren Cromartie slipped on the white gloves provided by the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library and opened the file with his name on it.
“That was me, in the minors,” said Cromartie, carefully examining a newspaper clipping from his days as an Expos farmhand. “Oh my word. You surprised me… You surprised me.”
Suddenly, Cromartie’s eyes filled. On his first trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame, the memories — and the tears — came flooding back.
Cromartie, who played 10 big league seasons with the Expos and the Royals, visited Cooperstown on Friday as part of an assignment with Fuji TV. Following a nine-year stint with the Expos that ended in 1983, Cromartie played seven seasons in Japan with the Tokyo Giants — learning the Japanese language and becoming a fan favorite.
Cromartie led his TV crew through the Hall of Fame, describing artifacts along the Museum’s timeline before visiting the Library — which contains a file on each of the more than 17,000 players in MLB history.
“Playing in Montreal was great, and we had a good team,” said Cromartie, who averaged 177 hits and 38 doubles per season in his first four big league campaigns from 1977-80. “But after the 1983 season, the Giants’ owner said to me: ‘Mr. Cromartie, how much will it take for you to come to play in Japan?’ Well, I wrote down a figure with a lot of numbers, and they said OK. And I really enjoyed my time there.”
Today, Cromartie lives in South Florida and is exploring ownership possibilities in minor league baseball. But the next major event on his baseball calendar comes Jan. 6, when his longtime friend Andre Dawson will be one of the top returning candidates in the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame election.
In last year’s election, Dawson received 67 percent of the BBWAA vote — falling just 44 votes short of the 75 percent needed for enshrinement.
“I’m going to be back here real soon, with tears in my eyes again,” Cromartie said. “Everyone who saw Andre Dawson play knows he’s a Hall of Famer. I can’t wait to come back with Andre.”
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.