Star treatment

Francis_90.jpgBy Bill Francis

Brian McCann has been to Cooperstown before. But now, the 2010 All-Star Game MVP will have a little piece of himself in Cooperstown forever.

“It’s a moment I’ll never forget,” said McCann only moments after the final out was made in the 81st Major League Baseball All-Star Game on Tuesday. “You are lucky enough to be playing in one of these things and to be put in a spot to come through and actually do it … you just dream about stuff like this. This isn’t supposed to happen.”

07-15-10-Francis_McCann.jpgMcCann, the Atlanta Braves’ 26-year-old catcher, was selected the 2010 Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player after he went 1-for-2 with a bases-clearing three-run double in the seventh inning to give the National League a 3-1 lead that would remain intact throughout the remainder of the contest.

As important as the hit was for McCann, a five-time All-Star, the Senior Circuit’s first victory since 1996 also means home field advantage in the World Series.

Afterwards, McCann graciously donated the bat he used for his memorable Midsummer Classic hit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

“No way,” said McCann when asked if he thought about not parting with a bat that might still have hits left in it. “I was thrilled that they wanted it.”

There were no artifacts from the short professional career of McCann in Cooperstown when he played in the Hall of Fame Game as a Braves minor leaguer in 2004. That fact has now changed.

“Brian was overwhelmed when I approached him right after he was presented with the MVP Award on the field minutes after the game had ended,” said Hall of Fame Senior Director of Communications and Education Brad Horn. “I introduced myself and told him it was the time to add a piece of Brian McCann to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

“He was very excited and very honored by the opportunity. He immediately said we could absolutely have his bat,” Horn added. “And to show the dedication that he had, when his bat wasn’t at his locker in the National League clubhouse when he first walked in, he ran back out to the dugout to try and find it.”

According to Horn, the Hall of Fame tries to commemorate every All-Star Game with an artifact from the contest’s MVP.

“It allows fans the chance to come to Cooperstown during the second half of the season,” said Horn, “and see something from the season’s most memorable game and a timeless exhibition.

“Brian played in the Hall of Fame Game and here, just a short six years later, he’s a part of history,” he added. “And part of him is now in Cooperstown forever.”

Bill Francis is a library associate for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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