Going Gonzo for Cooperstown
By Samantha Carr
Winning a World Series is the goal of every major league player from the time they enter the big leagues. Luis Gonzalez not only has a ring, but helped his team in dramatic fashion with a walk-off hit in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series against the premier closer of his generation, the Yankees’ Mariano Rivera.
The 2001 World Series was special because it was the Diamondbacks’ first and the first ever to be played in Arizona – but more so because it came two months after the September 11th attacks.
“There was so much going on in the world at that time that baseball was a release for people. Especially being played in New York where the attacks took place. They could forget about all the trouble and enjoy America’s Pastime,” said Gonzalez, who is in Cooperstown this week coaching his son Jacob’s travel team at Cooperstown Dreams Park.
“Gonzo” donated the bat he used from that 2001 game to the Hall of Fame, and it is on display in the Autumn Glory exhibit on the third floor of the Museum.
“It was dramatic, in Game 7 and definitely a memorable World Series,” he said.
Gonzalez’s team is 5-1 so far this week – and the players visited the Museum on Wednesday after meeting Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson, who gave them a sneak peak at one of the newest Hall acquisitions – the cap Arizona’s Edwin Jackson wore during his June 25 no-hitter.
Gonzalez retired in 2009, and he will have his number retired by the Diamondbacks on Aug. 7 – the first player to receive that honor.
“I’ve been enjoying my time coaching my son and taking the team to Cooperstown,” Gonzalez said. “It is great to take them through the Museum so they can dream – just as I did as a kid.”
Gonzalez will be eligible for Hall of Fame election in 2014 and with five All-Star appearances, 354 home runs, 596 doubles (15th on the all-time list) and a lifetime .283 batting average over 19 seasons he is likely to get some consideration.
“The Hall of Fame is every kid’s dream when you start playing baseball,” said Gonzalez. “You just hope that I did as much as I could in the game, that I helped with community service and that I did enough on and off the field.”
Samantha Carr is the manager of web and digital media for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.