Results tagged ‘ Baltimore Orioles ’

Baseball Film Festival less than two weeks away

By Steve Light

Here in Cooperstown, the air has turned brisk and the leaves are beginning to turn colors. For me, that means two things: The regular season is winding down, and the Baseball Film Festival is just around the corner.

Indeed, the Festival is less than two weeks away, and we are very excited for the great lineup of baseball themed films – a record 14 in all this year. Our lineup includes a bit of everything – from Little League Baseball in Curacao and Michigan, to Big League Baseball at Wrigley, to midnight baseball in Alaska. You can go behind the scenes at the Great American Ballpark and Fenway, or learn about grounds keeping at Camden Yards.

The Festival kicks off on Friday night, Sept. 30, and will run through Sunday afternoon, Oct. 2 in the Bullpen Theater. Tickets to each screening session are free but must be reserved, and tickets are available now to participants in the Hall of Fame’s Membership Program by calling 607-547-0397 weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET. Non-members can reserve their seats, if any remain, starting on Monday, Sept. 26.

So if you enjoy watching baseball films, be sure to mark Sept. 30 – Oct. 2 on your calendar, and reserve your tickets today.

And if you would like a sneak preview of some of the films, check out the trailers listed below.

Official Schedule
Friday, September 30th
Session 1: 7:00 p.m., Bullpen Theater

Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend (27 minutes) – A portrait of Nicole Sherry, head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards – one of only two women in that position in Major League Baseball.
Produced by: Jo Films
Directed by: Sarah Knight

Slap Back Jack: High Five Master (11 minutes) – This kid friendly stop motion short film narrated in rhyme begins when superstar baseball player, Bub Stocky, hits a walk off Grand Salami to win the big ball game for his team the Bronx Buffalo. When he tries to celebrate with his teammates, he flubs his high-fives, loses out on his lows, and punks out on his pounds.
Produced by: Combover Productions/MRN Media Inc.
Directed by: Mark Newell
View the trailer: http://www.slapbackjack.com/

Catching Hell (1 hour, 41 minutes) – It’s the pop fly that will live in infamy. When Chicagoan Steve Bartman fatefully deflected a foul ball in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, the city’s long-suffering Cubs fans found someone new to blame for their cursed century without a World Series title.
Produced by: ESPN Films
Directed by: Alex Gibney

Saturday, October 1st
Session 2: 10:00 a.m., Bullpen Theater

Play by Play (23 minutes) – Donn, a lonely 10-year-old, leads a vivid imaginary life as a big league ballplayer. When his schoolyard nemesis Steve accidentally learns about it, Donn is thrust into an escalating struggle to avoid being humiliated in front of his class.
Produced by: Afterwork Films
Directed by: Carlos Baena & Sureena Mann
View the trailer: http://www.imdb.com/video/wab/vi2452200729/

The Legend of Pinky Deras (41 minutes) – Since Little League Baseball was founded in 1939, about 40 million kids have played the sport. The list includes future Hall of Famers like Carl Yastrzemski, Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan, and hundreds of other future Major Leaguers. But of all the kids who ever played Little League, the best of the best was a boy you’ve probably never heard of.
Produced by: Stunt3 Multimedia
Directed by: Buddy Moorehose and Brian Kruger
View the trailer: http://stunt3.com/Stunt3_Multimedia/The_Legend_of_Pinky_Deras.html

Session 3: 2:00 p.m.,Bullpen Theater

Bubble Gum Champs (8 minutes) – Marc is watching a baseball game with his wife, Julie. His son’s team is losing and Marc is not so happy about it. He blames it on the coach, a Frenchman. Fed up with Marc’s attitude, Julie drops the bomb and accuses him of being a couch coach…
Produced by: Eric K. Boulianne
Directed by: Jean-Sebastien Beudoin Gagnon & Eric K. Boulianne

Touching the Game: Alaska (1 hour, 40 minutes) – In today’s high pressure, big dollar world of professional baseball and its accompanying media cyclone, the most poignant and refreshing perspectives are those that portray the unique and committed institutions which keep the essence and purity of our national pastime alive. The Alaska Baseball League is such an institution and offers such a perspective.
Produced by: Fields of Vision and Eye Candy Cinema
Directed by: Jim Carroll
View the trailer: http://touchingthegame.com/alaska/trailer.shtml

Session 4: 7:00 p.m., Bullpen Theater

Christy Mathewson Day (48 minutes) – Christy Mathewson Day captures the spirit of Factoryville, PA as they celebrate their most famous resident, Hall of Fame pitcher Christy Mathewson. Members of the community tell their own history of triumphs and adversities through the framework of the yearly celebration of their favorite son.
Produced by: 23circles Productions
Directed by: Kevin Malone
View the trailer: http://www.christymathewsondayfilm.com

Boys of Summer (1 hour, 33 minutes) – On the tiny island of Curaçao, Manager Vernon Isabella has sent his Little League All-Stars to the World Series for seven consecutive years, routinely defeating such baseball powerhouses as Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic to win a spot in Williamsport. How do they do it? This film tries to crack the code of Curaçao’s phenomenal success.
Produced by: Keith Aumont & Ariana Garfinkel
Directed by: Kevin Aumont
View the trailer: http://boysofsummerfilm.com/videos.html

Sunday, October 3rd
S
ession 5: 10:00 a.m., Bullpen Theater

Black Baseball in Indiana (25 minutes) – A half-hour documentary film of original research and interviews, produced by students at Ball State University’s Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry, under the advisement of Negro leagues historian and SABR member Geri Strecker.
Produced by: Ball State University
Project Coordinator: Geri Strecker

The Queen of the People (1 hour, 4 minutes) – In 1944, Caracas hosts the 7th Amateur Baseball World Series. The organizers decide that the beauty queen of the event has to be elected via a popular vote. The title is disputed by Yolanda Leal, a school teacher from a humble neighborhood, and Oly Clemente, a young woman from Caracas’ high society.
Produced by: Producciones Triana
Directed by: Juan Andrés Bello
View the trailer: http://www.youtube.com

Session 6: 2:00 p.m., Bullpen Theater

Late August (10 minutes) – Scenes from the Babe Ruth World Series in Clifton Park, New York.
Produced by: Chris Woods
Directed by: Chris Woods

Down the Line (23 minutes) – A documentary on Boston’s Fenway Park that takes fans where they have never been before by celebrating Fenway’s “team behind the team” – the bat boys, ball girls, clubhouse attendants and grounds crew members who make every Major League Baseball game possible.
Produced by: Prospect Productions
Directed by: Colin Barnicle
View the trailer: http://www.prospectproduction.com/site/projects.html

Let’s Get Ready to Win (44 minutes) – In this 44-minute documentary, Mid-American Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Craig Lindvahl features the unforgettable Sept. 28, 2010 game in which Jay Bruce hits the walk-off home run that clinched the National League Central division title for the Cincinnati Reds, as part of a season-long look behind the scenes at the operations within Great American Ballpark.
Produced by: Callan Films / Cincinnati Reds
Directed by: Craig Lindvahl

Steve Light is the manager of museum programs at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Hall of Fame husband and wife

By Tim Wiles

September 14, 2011, was a special day here at the Hall of Fame, as baseball fans Randy McLean and Linda Kim tied the knot in a ceremony officiated by Cooperstown Mayor Joe Booan in the Hall’s plaque gallery.

The newlyweds travelled from their home in Abbotsford, British Columbia, near Vancouver, to Cooperstown. It was Randy’s fourth trip to the Hall, and Linda’s second.  They met in January, 2001, and recall watching the 2001 World Series together as a strong contributor to the baseball portion of their relationship.

Both are lifelong baseball fans, but for Linda, her interest in the game deepened when she met Randy. “Since being with Randy, I’ve learned many of the intricacies of the game.  He always points things out a few moments before the announcers get around to saying them.”

Randy is a lifelong fan, player, and coach. “We couldn’t think of a more appropriate place to get married.  We love baseball, and it was fitting,” he says.  “Baseball’s been so good to me all my life.  It’s just something we love. It brings me to tears sometimes, being here in the Hall of Fame, the Babe Ruth exhibit, and reading how the Babe was always there for the fans on his barnstorming tours.”

Randy roots for the Orioles, because their team colors were the same as one of his youth league teams. Linda is a Phillies fan. Since they came so far to get married, they didn’t bring a wedding party with them, so they asked June Dolhun, the Hall’s manager of group sales, and I to stand up for them as witnesses.

Dolhun says that a handful of couples marry at the Hall each year.

“It’s always special, and a lot of fun,” Dolhun said.

I have to agree: I was married in the Plaque Gallery back in 2005.

Tim Wiles is the director of research at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Prepare 4 October in Cooperstown: New York Yankees

By Trevor Hayes

While the heartbeat of baseball can be found in Cooperstown throughout the year, there’s no better time to reconnect with the National Pastime than when legends are being made. As the postseason approaches, fans all over the country can connect with the Hall of Fame to get in the fall spirit.

Bronx Bombers fans have a heavily beaten path from New York City to Cooperstown, the Yankees are a short drive from the Home of Baseball, where they are well represented with a record 27 World Championships.

The team’s legacy goes back almost a full century with 48 Hall of Famers tied to the interlocking NY, while 25 have made their careers on the field while wearing the pinstripes of baseball’s winningest franchise. From the early days of Wee Willie and Happy Jack to the Babe, the Iron Horse, the Clipper, the Mick, Casey, Yogi and Whitey followed by Catfish, Goose and Mr. October and more recently Bernie, Mr. November, Mo and A-Rod; the Yanks have been blessed with stardom. All of which is detailed in a special exhibit from the Associated Press at the Hall of Fame called Pinstripe Pictures.

During first two years of the American League’s existence, there was no team in New York, but the Baltimore Orioles moved to the Big Apple and became the Highlanders. While stars like Jack Chesbro, whose record 41st win of the 1904 season is celebrated with the record-setting ball in One for the Books, came first, it wasn’t however until adopting a new nickname and buying Babe Ruth from their rivals in Beantown that the Yankees really came into their own.

Ruth, of course, is one of the greatest players of all-time and as such, is honored for his record-setting career as a home run hitter in One for the Books and The Babe Ruth Room which is found within the Baseball Timeline and is dedicated to telling his story. The Yankees of the 1920s and 30s were molded in Ruth’s image, taking on the moniker Murderer’s Row with future Hall of Famers Lou Gehrig, Earle Combs, Tony Lazzeri – who is noted as the first player to hit two grand slams in a single game with a scorebook showing his feat in One for the Books – leading the lineup while Waite Hoyt and Herb Pennock were the stalwarts on the mound.

In 1928, the Bronx Bombers boasted nine future Hall of Famers with another baseball legend, Miller Huggins at the helm. By 1930, they’d reached six World Series and won three. Within the Timeline are items presented to Hoyt after the 1928 season in which he went 23-7 and won two games in the Series; a jacket, cap and mitt used by Pennock; spikes belonging to leadoff hitter and speedster Combs; and a pocket watch and warm-up sweater worn by Huggins

While Ruth aged and Gehrig came in to his prime, manager Joe McCarthy took over in 1931. The team once again was led by a future Hall of Famer and featured nine on the field for three seasons with names like Bill Dickey, Lefty Gomez and Red Ruffing. As the Yanks won five more Championships in the 1930s, the team carved a larger place within baseball history and therefore in the Timeline, where Gehrig’s original Yankee Stadium locker, trophies and his uniform are on display, while a 1939 uniform from his final season in One for the Books marks the end of his consecutive games played streak – once considered an unbreakable record.

Transitioning from the Iron Horse to the Yankee Clipper, Joe DiMaggio became the on field leader. In the 1940s New York took home four more Championships and five AL pennants, despite a small dip during World War II when the team sent several stars to the military like DiMaggio, 2009 Hall of Fame Inductee Joe Gordon, catcher Bill Dickey, and shortstop and future Voice of the Yankees Phil Rizzuto, whose popular catchphrase “Holy Cow!” inspired an exhibit that now greets visitors near the lobby at the Hall of Fame.

Within the Hall, DiMaggio has a presence within One for the Books where his record 56-game hitting streak is celebrated with an interactive video monitor inside his original Yankee Stadium locker.

As the 1950s arrived stars like Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra joined DiMaggio and the Bombers, while the legendary Professor Casey Stengel took over the reigns in 1949, capturing a record five straight Titles from 1949-53. Stengel left the team after the 1960 season, failing to reach the World Series in 1954 and 1959 – winning seven times. During this time, Don Larsen authored the lone perfect game in World Series history, which is preserved in Autumn Glory with several artifacts.

The mitt worn by Larsen’s receiver, Berra, is on display in One for the Books, while the backstop’s 1951 MVP Award – one of three he earned – along with Rizzuto’s glove and batting helmet; Stengel’s warm-up jacket and spikes; items from team architects George Weiss and Lee MacPhail and jerseys from Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle can be found in the Timeline. Mantle also has artifacts like the ball he hit for his 522nd homer, passing Ted Williams are also in the Timeline, while the bat he used to hit his 500th home run and the bat he used to hit an estimated 565-foot home run are on display in One for the Books. Also during this time period Mantle and two-time MVP  Roger Maris unleashed an assault on Ruth’s home run record, with Maris breaking the mark in 1961 by hitting 61. A score sheet from the historic game, Maris’ bat and the ball from No. 61 call One for the Books their home. In Baseball at the Movies, as part of the 50th celebration of this event, there are also a number of artifacts from the movie 61* about the 1961 season including an autographed shooting script from director Billy Crystal.

After losing the 1964 World Series, it wouldn’t be until 1976 that the Bombers would make it back to the promised land and not until 1977 that they’d capture another crown. With a new crop of future Inductees, the Yankees won back-to-back titles with a team referred to as the Bronx Zoo. In the Hall of Fame’s Timeline this era is represented by Reggie Jackson’s bat from 1977, the season he earned his Mr. October nickname; a mitt and mask used by captain and catcher Thurman Munson; and Goose Gossage’s 1982 jersey, in which he struck out 102 batters in 93 innings and saved 30 games.

While the 1980s were the first decade since the Teens that the Yankees failed to win a championship, stars like captain Don Mattingly and future Hall of Famers Rickey Henderson, Phil Niekro and Dave Winfield wore the pinstripes. Each of them craved their own niche in baseball history – with Niekro and Mattingly’s record-setting time noted in One for the Books. Mattingly’s sixth grand slam bat and his eighth consecutive game with a home run bat, both from the 1987 season, appear there along with Niekro’s interlocking NY cap worn during his 3,000th career strikeout.

The Yankees reloaded and began their next dynasty in the mid-to-late 1990s and early 2000s, the players making history continued to be generous in donations. Among items the Hall has collected since the 90s began are one-handed pitcher Jim Abbott’s 1993 no-hitter cap (One for the Books); a bat used by Paul O’Neill’s during his 1994 batting title; a bat used by the second most prolific postseason home run hitter of all-time Bernie Williams during the 1996 Title run; manager Joe Torre’s 1998 World Series jersey; David Cone’s perfect game jersey from 1999 (all in the Timeline); and Hideki Matsui’s bat from the 2003 World Series when he became the first Japanese-born player to homer in the Fall Classic (Today’s Game).

Moving from old to new, the Bronx Bombers’ winning tradition is marked in One for the Books where a replica of the 1996 World Series trophy is on display, donated by former team owner George Steinbrenner – who led the team to seven World Championships.

The Yankees squads of today – some of whom were around for the beginning of the 90s renaissance – have staked out their spot inside the Hall of Fame as well. In his climb up the home run leader boards, Alex Rodriguez has donated his 500th home run helmet (One for the Books); his 2009 jersey from when he tied the AL record for 30 home run and 100 RBI seasons with 13 (Today’s Game); and  to  600th career home run spikes (Today’s Game). Artifacts from current captain Derek Jeter include his 1996 World Series jersey (Autumn Glory); 1998 World Series spikes (Timeline); the batting gloves he wore to become the Yankees all-time hits leader, passing Gehrig (Today’s Game); and his 3,000th hit batting gloves and helmet from earlier this year (Today’s Game). And Panamanian-born closer Mariano Rivera – who just this week reached 600 career saves – donated among other items, his cap from save No. 400 (Today’s Game), the 1999 World Series spikes in which he recorded two of his 23 consecutive saves (¡Viva Baseball!) and his 2009 two-save World Series cap.

Trevor Hayes is the editorial production manager at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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A little Kittle history

By Craig Muder

Ron Kittle spent 10 big league seasons as a prolific power hitter, and even today – at 53 years old – that power is still evident in a firm grip and muscular shoulders.

But as Kittle toured the Hall of Fame on Wednesday, the former outfielder with the White Sox, Yankees, Indians and Orioles was more focused on the game off the field than anything he did on the baseball diamond.

Kittle, who hit 176 big league homers from 1982-91, was in Cooperstown on business when he stopped by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for his first behind-the-scenes visit. Kittle had been to the home of baseball previously, including a 1988 trip as a member of the Cleveland Indians for the Hall of Fame Game at Doubleday Field.

“There was no score, and I came up to pinch hit late in the game,” Kittle said. “I told (Cubs catcher) Jody Davis that I was going to hit a home run to end this thing, and I did. But Ryne Sandberg came up in the bottom of the ninth and homered – On a check swing! – to tie the game.”

The game was called after nine innings with the score tied at 1, leaving both Kittle and Sandberg with a memorable moment. But it was not Kittle’s first brush with a Hall of Famer. Passing by a photo of Sandy Koufax in the Hall’s archive on Wednesday, Kittle recounted his days as a Dodgers’ minor leaguer.

“I came into the Dodgers’ organization with Mike Scioscia as a catcher,” said Kittle, who was signed by the Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 1977. “Down in Spring Training, they had strings across the batter’s box to teach pitchers control, and this guy got on the mound and started throwing to me and putting it right where he wanted. After he finished, someone said: ‘Don’t you know who that was? That was Sandy Koufax.’ I’ll never forget that.”

On Wednesday, Kittle took home more memories after learning about the Hall of Fame’s commitment to preserve baseball history.

“I love hearing stories about things that go on behind the scenes,” Kittle said. “And to see all this is incredible.”

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

10 Years After: Remembering 9-11

By Jeff Idelson

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I woke up to beautiful late summer/early fall conditions.  Warm temperatures and a good-looking day.

After my morning run and breakfast, I headed to the office to pick up a few things before leaving for Albany International Airport. I was on my way to Baltimore to see Cal Ripken, who was planning to retire at season’s end.

The purpose of the meeting was to determine what artifacts Cal would consider sending to the Hall of Fame, once the season ended, as well as how they would be presented to us. Would it be at the ballpark? Quietly, or in a ceremony? The day of the final game or some other time?

Cal had a long history of presenting historic artifacts to the Museum, so we knew he understood the enormity of his career concluding, and how we would recognize this sure-fire, first-ballot future Hall of Famer in Cooperstown.

I left the Hall of Fame at 8:30 am for an 11 a.m. flight on Southwest Airlines. From there, I planned to make my way to Cal’s hometown, Aberdeen, Md., for a lunch-time meeting with Cal and Orioles PR chief John Maroon. We had arranged the meeting a few weeks prior, and picked September 11 because it was an off-day for the Orioles, who returned home on a redeye from Seattle after playing on the 10th.

As I left Cooperstown that morning, I tuned the radio dial to the 50,000-watt news station out of Albany, WGY Radio. I was about 40 miles north and west of Cooperstown when I heard about the planes hitting the World Trade Center and then the Pentagon. Without the benefit of owning a cell phone at the time and without access to a television, I listened in amazement, not realizing the enormity of what was happening.

Then the report came that all airports were closed. I was already really nervous and frightened hearing about the plane crashes and when it was reported that all airports were closed, I was more than happy to turn around, which I had been contemplating anyhow. When I returned to the Hall of Fame and put on the television, I realized the severity of what had happened.

We ended up having the meeting by telephone a few weeks later. I went to Baltimore for Cal’s final game. Afterward at the press conference, he took off his jersey and handed it to me along with his glove, with his kids by his side. I flew home to Cooperstown with the artifacts the next morning, where they were put on exhibit as a remembrance of Cal’s indelible career, and – to me – as a reminder of a tragic day in American history.

Jeff Idelson is the President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

New books on the Library shelves

By Freddy Berowski

Known as the “Master of Alternate History,” New York Times best selling author Harry Turtledove has delighted fans for decades with his fantastic “what if?” tales.

Stories such as “World War” and “Colonization,” a series of books which follow the invasion of Earth by a Race of alien lizards during World War II and the hundred years that follow (with quite a few baseball references too, including a couple of lizard middle infielders and Mickey Mantle playing in the Major Leagues against the Yankees for the Kansas City Blues) and “The House that George Built,” a novella about Babe Ruth and baseball, if the Babe never made it. 

Recently, the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library has added to its permanent collection the manuscripts for two of Harry Turtledove’s alternate history works, the aforementioned “The House that George Built” and “The Stars and Rockets.” 

The Hall of Fame Library contains more than three million documents on baseball, including a file for every player who has appeared in a major league game and thousands of books on the National Pastime.

“The House that George Built” follows an alternate timeline where the Federal League never established a presence in Baltimore in 1914, thus Orioles owner Jack Dunn never felt the need to sell Babe Ruth’s contract.  In this reality, Ruth’s role in the game’s history was flipped with that of 1920s Pacific Coast League superstar Buzz Arlett, who became the game’s “Babe Ruth” with the Babe only getting Buzz’s cup of coffee. 

“The Stars and Rockets” is a fantastical tale that connects the Roswell incident of 1947 with Joe Bauman’s 72 home run season for the Class-C Roswell Rockets in 1954, and some fans that are out of this world. 

Harry Turtledove grew up on the West Coast and began his love affair with our National Pastime when his father began taking him to Pacific Coast League games of the Hollywood Stars and Los Angeles Angels. His Major League allegiance was to the Yankees originally, but that changed when the Angels became an MLB franchise.

“I was a Yankee fan before the majors came to L.A.; I’ve pretty much but not entirely got over that, but still generally root for the AL over the NL. The AL Angels, I like.  Dunno why, but I do.  When they finally won the Series in 2002 . . . It’s very strange getting something in your 50s that you’ve wanted since you were eleven.”

In his critically acclaimed World War/Colonization series which began in the 1990s, among those characters featured were several members of the Decatur Commodores, a Three-I league minor league baseball team in 1942. Although he didn’t know it at the time, one of those ballplayers, Sam Yeager, would become the central character in all eight books.

“I thought it would be interesting” Turtledove said. “I didn’t know what all would happen to Sam when I started writing about him – I tend to work by the seat of my pants. And it gave me an excuse to research Minor League Baseball and actually do something with what I found out, so that was cool, too. Back in the day, of course, a lot more guys made careers of the minor leagues than happens now, but there are still a few.”

Although he has no current plans for a full length alternate history baseball novel, Mr. Turtledove says “I’ll go for it in a heartbeat” if he develops “any ideas along those lines that I think people would buy.” 

When he first got out of college, before finding his true calling, he tried to get a job in baseball with the Dodgers and Angels. Turtledove described the type of work he was searching for as “Something – anything – involving PR and stats, which were the kind of things a guy who wrote halfway decently and was a stat geek could do.  I struck out twice, but at least I struck out swinging.” 

Who knows, maybe in some other reality Harry Turtledove did get a job in baseball.

Freddy Berowski is a library associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Hall Monitor: Cys, Fourths, Hitters and Winners

By Trevor Hayes

Here we are, basically at the halfway point. Many point to the All-Star break as the halfway mark, though that’s not entirely true this season. Seventeen teams are slated to play their 90th game tonight. Baltimore has the fewest games played and tonight will be the Orioles’ 86th contest. Plenty of storylines are swirling with Albert Pujols’ injury, Derek Jeter’s quest for 3,000 and much more. Here’s how the last week has gone.

The Cy Young Returns: On Sunday, the Blue Jays 2003 AL Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay started in Toronto, wearing a Phillies uniform. The outcome was a complete game victory for Doc in his first start as an opposing pitcher since leaving the Jays. Halladay is the sixth former Cy Young to notch a complete game “W” in his first road start against the team for which he won the Cy Young Award. The others include: Hall of Famers Catfish Hunter as a Yankee a season after leaving Oakland in 1975; Tom Seaver after being traded by the Mets to the Reds in 1977; and 300-game winner Randy Johnson in 1999 as a Diamondback against the Mariners.

First-year Oriole mashers: Before this season, Frank Robinson was the only player to collect 20 home runs by the All-Star break in his first season in Baltimore. He had 21 in 1966, the same year he won the AL MVP Award and the Triple Crown. Robinson now has company as Mark Reynolds hit two home runs on Monday, giving him 20 before the break in his first season in Birdland.

Independence Day Fun: Vance Worley led the red-white-and-blue clad Phillies to a 1-0 victory on the Fourth of July. For fans in the city that is home to the Liberty Bell and Ben Franklin, they can now claim a .500 record on the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. With Hall of Famers from Chuck Klein and Mike Schmidt to Pete Alexander and Steve Carlton, in 201 July 4th games since 1883, Philadelphia’s record is now 101-100.

A fellow N.L. East red-white-and-blue team, the Nationals, also won on Monday. The team in the Nation’s Capital now sports a .633 winning percentage on the Fourth of July. At 31 wins and 18 losses, it’s the best mark for any team with at least 20 Independence Day tilts. Of course, the majority of the franchise’s wins came while playing in another country powered by Hall of Famers Gary Carter, Andre Dawson and Dick Williams – though as Les Expos de Montreal, they still wore red-white-and-blue uniforms.

Verlander matching Newhouser: Tiger All-Star Justin Verlander, who’s scheduled to throw again this weekend, has been dominant this season, especially so in his last eight starts. After Tuesday, he’s thrown at least seven innings and given up two-or-fewer runs in each of his last eight. It’s rarified air for Detroit pitchers. In 1945, future Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser put together the only other streak like Verlander’s – a nine-game string en route to one of his two MVP Awards.

Youngsters walkin’ off: Mike Stanton became the third youngest player to hit a walk-off  home run when he went yard in the bottom of the 10th on Wednesday. At 21, Stanton’s game-winner gave Florida a 7-6 win over the Phillies. Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews is the youngest, when at 20-years-old he decided a game for the Boston Braves in 1952, also beating the Phillies. Fellow Marlin Alex Gonzalez hit a walk-off homer in 1998 – also 21, but slightly younger than Stanton.

Trevor Hayes is the editorial production manager at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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