End Game: Mike Hampton visits Hall of Fame
Mike Hampton accomplished many accolades in his 16-year major league career that included two All-Star selections, the 1999 National League Cy Young Award runner-up, a Gold Glove Award, 148 victories and hit 16 home runs – the latter the 2nd most since 1970 for a pitcher.
But on Monday, he made it through the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for the first time.
Mike, along with his 12-year-old son Griffin, who is playing for the Scottsdale (Ariz.) Thunder for a nearby youth baseball camp, caught a glimpse of his player and photo files, explored the Museum’s three-dimensional collections and soaked in baseball history during his morning visit to the Hall of Fame.
Though he’d been to Cooperstown twice as part of the retired Hall of Fame Game tradition, in 2002 with the Colorado Rockies and in 2004 with the Atlanta Braves, this was his first opportunity to get up close with baseball history.
Hampton viewed his Library player file, featuring clips, photos and news coverage from his career, and also was reunited with the baseball hit by the Cubs’ Damon Buford on March 29, 2000, for the first game of the new millennium, played in Japan.
Hampton threw that pitch, which resulted in an RBI single for the Cubs.
“My line that day was something like 5 innings pitched, 4 hits, 2 runs, 9 walks and a strikeout. The only way I got out of giving up more runs were the (four) double plays.”
Hampton, who retired after the 2010 season, will be eligible for consideration for the Hall of Fame for the first time in 2016.
For now, he enjoyed spending the time with his son and connecting on some key moments of baseball history.
“This was a great thrill to see the game’s history, all under one roof,” Hampton said.
Brad Horn is the senior director of communications and education at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum