Results tagged ‘ Billy Butler ’
By Bill Francis
It has been a decade since Hank Conger visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His bat is staying for good.
Conger came away with Most Valuable Player honors for the 2010 Futures Game held at Angel Stadium on Sunday afternoon. He donated the bat he used to club a three-run home run with two out in the fifth inning off of Henderson Alvarez that gave his U.S. Team a 5-1 lead on the way to a 9-1 victory over the World Team.
Conger, a switch-hitting Angel farmhand playing catcher for the Triple-A Salt Lake City squad, finished the game batting 1-for-3.
“It’s awesome,” said Conger in the winning team’s clubhouse after the game, referring to being asked to donate his bat. “It’s a great honor. I wasn’t really expecting it, to be honest.”
The Hall of Fame has made it a point over the years to ask for an artifact from the game’s MVP honoree.
“The Futures Game showcases the greatest minor leaguers,” said Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson, “and by being able to represent them and document them in Cooperstown before they make that final step in a lot of ways talks about the journey of all major league players.”
It was Idelson who first approached Conger, who grew up 15 miles from Angels Stadium in Huntington Beach, Calif.,about the possible donation.
“I was like, ‘Really, you want my bat?’” said Conger with a laugh. “This whole event has been great, so to have that be in the Hall of Fame is just unbelievable.”
Conger knows of the Hall of Fame firsthand, having visited back in the summer of 2000 as a 12-year-old when his travel baseball team from California played in one of the Cooperstown-area baseball camps.
“I loved Cooperstown,” Conger said. “I was really expecting something different. You think its going to be in a big city, but there was just so much green. Even for me as a little kid I thought it was an awesome view.
“The Hall of Fame, just looking at everything that was in there, the jerseys, the plaques, for any baseball fans it’s a must.”
Asked if had any more hits left in the bat, Conger smiled and said: “For the Hall of Fame, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to give that one up.
“And I’ll get to tell everybody for the rest of my life that I have something in the Hall of Fame.”
Bill Francis is a library associate for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
By Trevor Hayes
Several of today’s stars continued to carve out a bit of history for themselves this week alongside some notable Hall of Famers.
Doubled-Up: With double No. 50 Wednesday, Brian Roberts became the fourth player with three or more 50-double seasons. Hall of Famers Stan Musial and Paul Waner each did it three times while Hall of Famer Tris Speaker did it five times. Including his 51 last season, Roberts has put together his second straight 50-double season, putting him in an elite club with nine players – including three Hall of Famers: Speaker, Joe Medwick and Billy Herman.
On the subject of doubles, the same night Roberts got 50, the Royals Billy Butler hit three doubles in a game for fourth time this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Butler’s binge is unprecedented. No player has had four three-double games in a season dating back to 1901.
Quick Hit: A lot has been written about Derek Jeter tying Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig on the Yankees hits list. But one note that might slip by is that Jeter is now the fourth active player to hold his franchise’s all-time hits mark. Ivan Rodriguez returned to Texas earlier this season, where he has the most hits in Senators/Rangers club history. The other two all-time franchise leaders for the team they currently play for are Colorado’s Todd Helton and Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford.
Doc and the Babe: The Yankees might not like Roy Halladay very much. Most recently he stopped their seven-game winning streak with a one-hitter, but the Blue Jays’ ace has always been tough against the Bombers. He holds a .739 winning percentage against the Yankees with a 17-6 record. The only man better than him (min. 20 decisions) made his name as a hitter in New York. However, as a pitcher in Boston, future Hall of Famer Babe Ruth went 17-5 (.773) against his eventual team.
Slugging shortstops: Hanley Ramirez connected for the 100th home run of his career on Sunday, making him the fourth-fastest shortstop to reach the century mark. At 595 games, only Alex Rodriguez (470 games), Nomar Garciaparra (491) and Hall of Famer Ernie Banks (500) got there faster.
Goodbye to the Real McCoy: Longtime Reds beat writer Hal McCoy will be honored Wednesday prior to Cincinnati’s game against the Astros. The 2002 J.G. Taylor Spink winner announced earlier this season he will be retiring after 37 years covering the Reds. As a special treat, McCoy’s paper, Dayton Daily News, is sponsoring half-price tickets to the game.
Trevor Hayes is the editorial production manager at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.