Results tagged ‘ BBWAA ’

Election excitement

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

It’s January in Secaucus, N.J., so you wouldn’t figure the air would be buzzing with baseball talk.

But at MLB Network studios on Wednesday, the atmosphere was electric as Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson prepared to announce the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Class of 2011.

01-05-11-Muder_MLBNetwork.jpgThe Network brought out its heavy hitters for the announcement, with Bob Costas, Harold Reynolds and Peter Gammons headlining a star-studded cast of announcers and analysts. For the better part of an hour prior to the 2 p.m. Magic Hour, everyone — talent, producers and crew — speculated about the results of the BBWAA vote.

For folks accustomed to making the chaos of a live TV show run like clockwork, it might have been the most exciting and nervous hour of the year.

Once the announcement came that Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven were elected to Cooperstown, everyone shifted into overdrive — filling the air with stats, highlights and predictions for 2012 and beyond. MLB Network’s Barry Larkin, who received the most votes (361, 62.1 percent) of any player not elected, was hooked up via satellite and magnanimously said what an honor it was just to be on the ballot.

This time next year, Barry may be making quite a different on-air speech.

Now, the Network starts its planning for the July 24 Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown — carried live on MLBN. It’s an incredible weekend — the best one on the baseball calendar.

But you get the feeling that the folks at MLBN now understand what news reporters already know: There’s nothing quite like the magic of Election Day.

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

A voice for baseball

Carr_90.jpgBy Samantha Carr

Dave Van Horne was broadcasting basketball and football in Virginia when he met Frank Soden, who told him about an opening in baseball broadcasting for the Richmond Braves of the International League.

“When I heard about an opening in baseball, I jumped on it,” said Van Horne.

12-08-10-Carr_VanHorne.jpgVan Horne got the job and served as a broadcaster for Richmond from 1966-68, which marked the beginning of a very special career in baseball. He was named Wednesday as the 35th winner of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting and will be honored over Hall of Fame Weekend, July 22-25 in Cooperstown.

“This is the highest award a baseball broadcaster can receive,” he said. “I am obviously thrilled, humbled and very excited. It is the professional highlight of my career.”

While in Richmond, Van Horne broadcast Braves home games live, but worked on wire recreation for road games.

“It was a great learning process to broadcast games I was not attending or looking at,” said Van Horne.

Van Horne was introduced to John McHale, then president of the Atlanta Braves, who offered him a chance to go to Montreal and work for the Expos after McHale took over the National League’s newest expansion team.

“I knew about two weeks into the job at Richmond that baseball broadcasting was what I wanted to do if I could make a living at it,” said Van Horne. “Now I am entering my 43rd year.”

Van Horne has called games for the Expos and Marlins during his long career and been the voice of moments like Willie Mays’ 3,000th hit and Steve Carlton striking out his 4,000th batter.

Van Horne will join Pat Gillick, who was elected to the Hall of Fame on Monday by the Expansion Era Committee; Bill Conlin, winner of the 2011 J.G. Taylor Spink Award; and any electees from the BBWAA election announced Jan. 5 at 2011 Hall of Fame Weekend.

“I am humbled to be among those people that are previous winners of this award,” said Van Horne. “This was a very overwhelming and emotional day.”

Samantha Carr is the manager of web and digital media for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Hall Monitor: Strength, splits, speed and supremacy

Hayes_90.jpgBy Trevor Hayes

As we enter the final week of the regular season, the mark that 2010 will leave on the game’s history is quickly being finished. But just as quickly, the marks of yesteryear are being revisited.


09-24-10-Hayes_Dawson.jpgFriendly Confines
: Last night, Juan Uribe joined 2010 Hall of Famer Andre Dawson as the last two players to hit a pair of home runs in one inning at Wrigley. Uribe’s grand slam and a two-run shot in the second helped the Giants dismantle the Cubs 13-0. Exactly 25 years ago today, Dawson provided a pair of three-run homers in the fifth in a 17-15 Expos victory.

Short Power: Only three players playing primarily shortstop during their careers have hit more than 300 home runs. The Padres’ Miguel Tejada, who has played 94 percent of his career at short, connected for his 300th last night. He joined Alex Rodriguez and Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. Ripken hit 431 homers, playing 77 percent of his games at short before moving to the hot corner late in his career. Rodriguez – who topped the 600 homer mark last month – had 345 home runs before playing almost exclusively at third with the Yankees, but he’s still logged 55 percent of his career at short. Often regarded as a shortstop, Hall of Famer and 500-home run club member Ernie Banks actually logged more games at first base with 45 percent of his games at shortstop.


09-24-10-Hayes_Carlton.jpgEnding a drought
: The Phillies had been without a 20-game winner since Hall of Famer Steve Carlton in 1982. Roy Halladay snapped the streak when he won his 20th game on Tuesday against the Braves. Only teams that have active streaks longer than the one Halladay broke. Like Carlton, the Padres last 20-game winner was a Hall of Famer: Gaylord Perry won 21 in 1978. The last pitcher to win 20 for the Nationals/Expos was Ross Grimsley, also in 1978. 

Comfy in St. Lou: After Sunday’s win against the Padres at Busch Stadium, Cards starter Adam Wainwright improved his home record to 12-3 with a 1.78 ERA. Rookie Jamie Garcia has been slightly better in St. Louis with a 1.74 home ERA. The last two Cards to qualify for the ERA title with home ERAs under 2.00 were Hall of Famers Steve Carlton and Bob Gibson. Carlton edged Gibson with a 1.92 ERA to Gibson’s 1.94 at Busch in 1969.


 
09-24-10-Hayes_InfieldChart.jpgThree to 100
: Robinson Cano’s two RBI Saturday at Baltimore pushed the 2010 Bombers into select company. Cano, along with teammates Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, have each driven in 100 runs this season. Never before have three Yankee infielders done it in a single season, though six other groupings of players have – five of which included at least one Hall of Famer. The Red Sox have had three different infields with the achievement – accomplishing it in 1937, 1940 and 1950. Joe Cronin, Bobby Doerr and Jimmie Foxx were each a part of two Sox groups, with all three on the 1940 team. Charlie Gehringer and Hank Greenberg were two of the Tigers three 100-RBI infielders in 1934, while Lou Boudreau and Joe Gordon were on the 1948 Indians squad which pulled off the feat. The only previous group without a Hall of Famer is the 2001 A’s of Eric Chavez, Jason Giambi and Miguel Tejada – all three of whom are still active.

Johnny Quick: Johnny Damon is second player to reach 100 career triples this season. He began the season as the active leader – tied with Jimmy Rollins at 95 – but 09-24-10-Hayes_Kaline.jpgRays speedster Carl Crawford passed Damon for the active lead earlier this season and broke 100 last month. Since 1901, 108 Major League players have reached 100 triples. Of them, 52 are Hall of Famers, while four are not yet eligible. Since 1950, just 22 players have compiled 100 triples, of which eight are in the Hall of Fame.

Mr. Tiger in Detroit: Al Kaline’s book “Six: A Salute to Al Kaline,” released earlier this year, contains over 150 pages of articles and never-before-seen photographs and captures what the 1980 Hall of Fame inductee has meant to the franchise, his teammates, fans and the baseball world. As a special treat, Kaline will sign copies at Comerica Park prior to the team’s final home game of the season Sunday against the Twins.

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

Breaking barriers

Francis_90.jpgBy Bill Francis

Claire Smith is accustomed to working outside the status quo, so being the first female keynote speaker in the 22 years of the annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture is par for the course.

Held at the different venues at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, the three-day event kicked off Wednesday afternoon with Smith’s keynote, titled “Race and Gender: Perspectives from the Press Box.” Smith is not only a female in a male- dominated field, but she’s also African-American.

06-02-10-Francis_Smith.jpgCurrently a news editor at ESPN who covered baseball for 27 years at the Hartford Courant, the New York Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer, Smith offered a unique perspective on the trails and tribulations she had to endure as a woman and a minority in her chosen field.

Honored for her writing numerous times over the years, Smith, a longstanding member of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, admits that “being a woman and being African-American in the field of baseball writing remain somewhat unique and far too unusual in this day and age.”

Smith talked about being drawn to the field because of her mother’s love of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, who faced hardships as he crossed the big league color line in 1947.

“I knew of his story from the moment I could walk and talk, I think, because my mother, more so than my father, was a Jackie Robinson fan,” Smith said. “America was always represented as what is possible. She passed that on to me.

“I wanted to know as much as I could about sports. The older I got the more I wanted to know. I was able to dovetail this interest that never made me want to think about anything other than baseball.”

Smith would late joke about another Hall of Famer: “As Yogi Berra would say, Jackie (Robinson) –  thanks for making this necessary.”

Encouraged by her mother’s love of Jackie Robinson (her father was a Willie Mays fan), Smith has always bled Dodger blue. So it should come as no surprise when visiting the Hall of Fame Plaque Gallery prior to her speech she made sure to check out the bronze likenesses of Robinson and Sandy Koufax.

Moving on to gender, Smith said that’s always been the more intriguing and difficult aspect of her life in baseball.

“It’s safe to say by the time I started covering baseball it wasn’t politically correct to show any kind of prejudice in terms of race in major league clubhouses,’ Smith said. “Not so much to show prejudice against women. It happened early, it happened often.”

Often the only women in a baseball clubhouse, Smith called it “tough, it really was tough.”

“I don’t believe there is a female writer of my generation who didn’t have a tale to tell that wouldn’t bring another female writer to tears because it was a very vulnerable place to be,” Smith added. “And often your male peers were so busy doing their job that they couldn’t interrupt their jobs and come to your aid.”

Smith then recalled her defining moment, her “tipping point,” came in the 1984 National League Championship Series between the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres when she was physically removed by players from the Padres clubhouse after Game One. While the situation was eventually resolved, thanks to Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, it left scars for a number of years.

But despite the hardships Smith suffered due only to the profession she chose, she told those in attendance to encourage their students, daughters, nieces and granddaughters to pursue sports writing as a career. Not only are there numerous opportunities with the Internet, but also it can be a very rewarding.

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

54 years ago today, Murray began Hall of Fame journey

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

Despite the offensive explosion in Major League Baseball during the last 20 years, this fact remains: Only 10 men in big league history have driven in more than 1,900 runs.

And just two of them – Eddie Murray and Barry Bonds – began their careers after 1960.

02-24-10-Muder_Murray.jpgBonds’ 762 home runs tell the story of many of his RBIs. But Murray – one of the most consistent run producers in the game’s history – remains underappreciated.

Murray turns 54 today, making him one of the youngest Hall of Famers (62nd out of 68) despite the fact it’s been seven years since his election. He was a first-ballot choice by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in 2003 after finishing his career with 504 home runs, 3,255 hits and eight All-Star Game selections.

Murray’s consistency was staggering. In his 21 big league seasons, Murray’s team played at least 150 games 18 times. Murray appeared in at least 150 contests in 16 of those seasons – and topped the 160-mark six times.

Consider this: Over a typical 162-game season, Murray averaged 103 RBIs – the exact number as Willie Mays, one more than Mickey Mantle.

Few players answered the bell more consistently – and as well.

Twenty-one big league seasons, 1,917 RBIs – ninth on the all-time list. It’s a standard of excellence that will remain for generations to come.

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

Guide to success

Selover_90(2).jpgBy Whitney Selover

While it seems as though the winter just won’t end outside, inside my office it feel like the summer season is just around the corner.

Yesterday, I finished preparing the official Hall of Fame Weekend Inductee Guides. Once our class of inductees is complete, I get started pulling together what becomes the Inductee’s and their family’s HOFW bible. The binder that Doug Harvey, Whitey Herzog and Andre Dawson will receive today contains everything they need to know about the July 23-26 Hall of Fame Weekend in Cooperstown.

02-19-10-Selover_DawsonHarveyHerzog.jpgInductees are major superstars on the baseball diamond, but they are much like us when it comes to things off the field. They need to know what to expect, where they will be staying, who can come with them to the events, when they should arrive/depart, what to wear and where they need to be – and the one-inch binder arriving on their doorstep today will answer all of those questions.

Being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame is the highest honor a baseball player can achieve, but put yourself in their shoes for a minute. Take a quick second and look at your life: In your career, how many people have you worked with, how many people work for you now, how many people have influenced your career? Socially, how many people are you friends with (including Facebook!)? How many people are in your softball league, make up your neighborhood, are in your parish, share your love for volunteering at the SPCA? Personally, how many people make up your family, your extended family (don’t forget those 3rd cousins!), your wife’s family, those friends that feel like family? Take that number and multiply it by 100 and that is the number of people that want to join Doug, Whitey and Andre on their big day in Cooperstown in July. Imagine trying to sort through, make accommodations for, provide tickets to, and ensure a great vacation come July, for all those people on your list! Well, that is where I come in.

02-19-10-Selover_InductionLineup.jpgAs the director of special events at the Hall of Fame, I am fortunate to work with every inductee and help ease the pressures of being the “host.” Over the next couple of months, not only will I answer the “what do I wear” for Doug, Whitey and Andre but I will answer it for the hundreds of family and friends who come along for the ride. Organizing their “list” becomes a personal and intimate process for every inductee. Ask any Hall of Fame Member and they will tell you that their Induction Ceremony is one of the top moments in their lives. Making sure the people who have been there since Little League, or the ones that helped them break into the majors, or the ones that gave them just what they needed to get through a slump or overcome an injury, or the ones who believed in them through thick and thin… Helping those people witness the big day is my job.

Even thought I work at the Baseball Hall of Fame, I do not claim to be a baseball expert, but I’m fairly certain that Doug, Whitey or Andre didn’t become one of baseball’s elite with the help of a binder – nor did the process begin when FedEx showed up. But then again, we’re just trying to plan for Hall of Fame Weekend, not a Hall of Fame Member career.

If we were, I bet even Staples doesn’t carry binders that could plan for careers as gigantically successful, overwhelmingly influential and exceptionally outstanding as Doug, Whitey or Andre’s. And that, my friends, is why they make up the Induction Class of 2010.

Whitney Selover is the director of special events and travel at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

2014 could mean a Brave New World in Cooperstown

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

The Class of 2014 might just mean a Brave New World at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Former Braves and Mets ace Tom Glavine officially announced his retirement on Thursday, ending stellar 22-year big league career. Glavine did not pitch at the major league level in 2009, meaning he will be eligible for Hall of Fame consideration in 2014.

02-11-10-Muder_Glavine.jpgThe numbers indicate Glavine will get strong support.

One of just 24 300-game winners in Major League Baseball history, Glavine finishes with a record of 305-203. He won two Cy Young Awards (1991 and 1998), was named to 10 All-Star Games and posted 20-or-more wins in five seasons – leading the National League lead win victories in all five years.

In the postseason, Glavine won 14 games and was the World Series MVP in 1995 when the Braves defeated the Indians in the Fall Classic.

Glavine joins a star-studded roster of players who will be eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time in 2014. Former Braves teammate Greg Maddux, who won 355 games, is scheduled to be on the 2014 BBWAA ballot – setting up the possibility of a Braves reunion in Cooperstown.

Other candidates who are slated to become eligible in 2014 include two-time American League Most Valuable Player Frank Thomas, 270-game winner Mike Mussina and Jeff Kent, the all-time home run leader among second basemen.

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

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