Kenny Loggins relishes Hall of Fame visit
I spend a lot of time walking through the Museum with celebrities. Some have very little interest, others modest – and then there’s the serious fan, like Kenny Loggins.
The popular musician was in town Thursday to play a benefit show for Hospice at Ommegang Brewery in Cooperstown, fronting his band Blue Sky Riders, which includes vocalist Georgia Middleman and bass player/guitarist Gary Burr.
The very accomplished Loggins won Best Male Pop Vocal Grammy for “This Is It” in 1980, and co-wrote the 1979 Grammy-winning Song of The Year “What A Fool Believes” with his long-time friend, Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers.
Along with his son Luke, who is entering his senior year at Santa Barbara High School and pitches for the baseball team, Loggins spent Thursday afternoon at the Hall of Fame. The two completely immersed themselves in the history of the game.
Loggins, who played youth baseball through the Babe Ruth level, played catch with all five of his children through the years. “I wanted them to know baseball like I did,” he said. “Luke has a much better temperament for the game than I did. He handles adversity well.”
Growing up in Alhambra, Calif., Loggins and his dad would sit in the kitchen and listen to Vin Scully call Dodger games on the radio. “I grew up with Koufax and Drysdale. It seemed like one of them pitched every day.”
Walking through the Hall of Fame’s collections, “Oh my God, this is in great shape,” he said, marveling at the wonderful conservation of the jersey.
Holding a Stan Musial game-used bat he looked skyward and said, “This is my day. ‘The Man’ was unbelievable.” I explained to Loggins that Musial was a five-tool player – he could hit for power and average, run, throw and catch. I asked him if he knew any five-tool musicians.
Without even thinking, he answered exactly as Graham Nash did two years ago when I asked him the same question: “Prince.” Loggins added Stevie Wonder and Nash added Stephen Stills.
After seeing Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson sweaters, Loggins asked where he could get one. “I wish these were still in vogue. These are beautiful,” he said.
Finally, while holding the bat Ted Williams used for his 521st and final home run, he noticed that part of the Louisville Slugger trademark was the word, ‘powerized.’ “Do you think I could get my guitar powerized?” he asked his Burr and me.
After seeing artifacts from Willie Mays, Orel Hershiser, and so many other, he softly said to no one in particular, “You forget how short a baseball career is. ” How true.
Two hours later, Loggins concluded, “This Museum is incredibly well done. It is interactive and exciting, and chock full of great contextual information. It plays well to my son Luke, who’s in high school and also to older folks, like Gary and me. The experience really took me back in time, right back to my childhood.”
Jeff Idelson is the president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.