Results tagged ‘ Cincinnati Reds ’

Spring Training comes to Cooperstown

By Jenny Ambrose

“That’s what it looks like.”

When Hall of Famer Pee Wee Reese saw Alex Traube’s photographs, he claimed the images “captured something about Spring Training – about baseball in general – which is recognizable and true to anyone who has spent time in training camps and ballparks.”

This year, the Baseball Hall of Fame Library has an extra special reason to celebrate the return of Spring Training. Photographer Alex Traube donated the images he shared with Reese to the Museum’s permanent photographic collection. Traube’s donation consists of 79, 11 x 14 inch, black and white photographs depicting Grapefruit League Spring Training in Florida in 1978, 1979 and 1980. And Pee Wee was right: The images truly capture the character of spring training.

Traube had press access to training venues, “but was entirely on my own in terms of who and what I shot,” he said.

Traube used his creativity and skill with a camera to create a portfolio of work that is remarkable both for its aesthetic quality and content. He took informal portraits of players sitting in the dugout, warming up before a game, or hanging out by the batting cage. He captured players being interviewed or photographed by the media, or signing autographs for fans. The photographs show games in progress and batting practice. Traube photographed fans in the stands wearing the striking plaids and checks particular to the era. He depicted teammates lined up across the field hats over hearts for the playing of the National Anthem, kilted marching bands, and members of a color guard rehearsing.

The photographs provide an inside view into day-to-day events at spring training, and express the flavor of preseason from an earlier decade. Reese wrote that the images “present us with a portrait of the rituals which are an everyday reality to the players.”

Traube’s photographs are now part of the Hall of Fame’s collection of more than 500,000 images, documenting every aspect of the game of baseball. They join hundreds of other photographs depicting Spring Training from the early 20th Century to the present.

Jenny Ambrose is the curator of photographs at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Baseball hits the mat

By Freddy Berowski

On Sunday, World Wrestling Entertainment will air the 25th annual Royal Rumble on pay-per-view. Millions of fans all over the world are expected to tune in to see John Cena, Zach Ryder, C.M. Punk, Mick Foley and all the top WWE superstars battle for a chance to be in the main event at WrestleMania: The World Series of professional wrestling.

Professional Wrestling and baseball have a storied history. Major Leaguers like baseball’s all-time hit king Pete Rose and long-time White Sox backstop A.J. Pierzynski have participated in numerous major professional wrestling events. Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets from 1964-2009, hosted a series of WWE wrestling events featuring Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan and Bruno Sammartino, from 1972 to 1980.

WWE Legend “Macho Man” Randy Savage was a professional baseball player in the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds minor league systems before turning his sights to a career in sports entertainment. Hall of Fame third baseman Pie Traynor was a wrestling announcer for Pittsburgh’s Studio Wrestling program in the 1960s. And current WWE star Mick Foley came to Cooperstown in 2006 to give a talk at the National Baseball Hall of Fame on the baseball book he authored, Scooter.

Professional wrestling’s connection to baseball, specifically the National Baseball Hall of Fame, goes back farther than that. It goes back nearly a century – to 1914.

On April 23, 1914, at the Polo Grounds in New York City, the prodigal son returned. Star outfielder Mike Donlin, owner of a career .334 batting average at the time, came back to the New York Giants after being sold to the Boston Braves three years earlier. In honor of his return, prominent New York Giants supporters, among them politicians, actors, song writers and theatre owners, got together and presented “Turkey Mike” with a specially made trophy bat during pre-game ceremonies, honoring him as the most popular Giants player.

The Master of Ceremonies for this event was prominent New York wrestling and boxing ring announcer Joe Humphreys. Among the team boosters who had this trophy bat made for presentation to Donlin was Jess McMahon.

Jess McMahon, a prominent wrestling and boxing promoter in his own right, is the grandfather of the “Babe Ruth” of wrestling promoters, Vince McMahon. Vince McMahon is the owner of World Wrestling Entertainment, the organization that revolutionized professional wrestling from the local, regionalized exhibitions of the pre-1980s, to the world-wide, multi-million dollar phenomenon that it is today.

This bat was donated to the Hall of Fame in 1963 by Mike Donlin’s widow, Rita.

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

He got the message

By Craig Muder

Barry Larkin discovered exactly what it means to be a Hall of Famer Monday afternoon.

“I got the call to say I had been elected,” Larkin said. “And the next thing I knew I had 400 text messages to respond to. I’m down to 298 now.”

It will take Larkin weeks to respond to all the congratulatory notes he received after becoming the 24th shortstop elected to the Hall of Fame. His phone was filled with messages from ESPN co-workers like Karl Ravech and former teammates like Hall of Famer Tony Perez.

But the one message that almost didn’t get through belonged to a special fan.

“My daughter told me someone had called for me… She said it was Ben or Bub…,” Larkin said. “I said: ‘You mean Bud? Bud Selig?’ I couldn’t believe the Commissioner took time to call.

“It’s wonderful how many people have called or sent messages. You just can’t believe the outpouring of support.”

The incredibly humble Larkin is a favorite throughout the baseball community for his skill on the field and character off it. Few generate the universally positive reaction he draws, and it seems all of Cincinnati is celebrating the election of their hometown hero.

The Class of 2012 couldn’t be classier.

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

FBI files in Cooperstown

By Bill Francis

You never know what you’ll run across when doing baseball research.

While looking through the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library’s clipping file for famed pitcher Johnny Vander Meer, what soon appeared was a copy of a 1938 typed letter sent by longtime Federal Bureau of Investigation Director J. Edgar Hoover congratulating the Cincinnati Reds southpaw on his two consecutive no-hitters.

Hoover has been in the news of late thanks to the recently released movie, J. Edgar, starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role and directed by Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood. Hoover was the FBI’s chief from its beginnings in 1935 until his death in 1972 at the age of 77.

In the letter, typed on the chief G-Man’s letterhead and dated June 17, 1938, Hoover writes, “I did have time to glance at the sports page of one of the Miami papers and read the account of the thrilling no-hit game which you pitched against the Boston Bees, and then when I read of your second no-hit game in five days I simply could not resist dropping you this note to extend you my congratulations on this remarkable feat.”

Hoover begins the letter by telling Vander Meer that he’s been “engaged in the investigation of the Cash kidnapping case,” referring to the kidnapping of 5-year-old James B. Cash Jr., known as “Skeegie,” who had been kidnapped from his bed in Princeton, Fla. on May 28, 1938.

Later in the letter Hoover admits that baseball has always been one of his favorite sports and that he attends many games, “although I do not attend as many games as I would like, due to the pressure of my official duties.”

In fact, years later, Hoover would be considered for the job of big league baseball’s commissioner. After a 1945 speech in which he extolled the virtues of wartime baseball, Hoover’s name shot to the top as a possible successor when big league baseball’s first commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, passed away in 1944. The job eventually went to Happy Chandler. When Chandler resigned his post in 1951, Hoover’s name again was bandied about.

Ellis Ryan, the principal owner of the Cleveland Indians and a member of baseball’s screening committee in search of a replacement for Chandler, said in a 1951 interview, “For instance, if J. Edgar Hoover decided to run, I’m sure he would get every vote. But that is out of the question. It would be improper for baseball to attempt to take so valuable a man away from the government.”

After sharing with Vander Meer the recent success of the FBI’s baseball team in Washington, D.C., Hoover ends the letter by wishing the hurler luck in the future, adding, “I really would be thrilled to see you pitch a third no-hit game this season.”

Hoover, once on the Little League board of directors, said that baseball would be the greatest deterrent to crime that America had ever seen. “Keep kids in sports,” his motto went, “and out of courts.”

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

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.

Prepare 4 October in Cooperstown: Detroit Tigers

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.

The Tigers’ 2011 resurgence has brought the team’s legends of yesteryear – like Cobb, Greenberg and Kaline – together with the stars of today like Cabrera and Verlander. Tiger fans might not be able to make it to Oakland this weekend to see their team continue its march toward the division crown, but Cooperstown offers a chance to follow along from afar while celebrating the team’s legacy in person.

And there is plenty to see for Bengal Believers at the Hall of Fame. To date, 25 Hall of Famers have worn Detroit’s Old English D, including 10 who entered the Hall of Fame sporting that signature D on their plaques.

While he’s preceded in history by Hall of Fame exec Ed Barrow and teammate Sam Crawford, Ty Cobb was the first Tiger elected to the Hall of Fame – having been a part of the inaugural class of 1936. Cobb, who led the Tigers to pennants in 1907, 1908 and 1909, won an MVP Award in 1911 (at the time a player could only win one during his career) with an other-worldly batting average of .420. He’s well represented in the Hall of Fame both in the Museum’s Baseball Timeline and in the newest exhibit One for the Books. Artifacts like the 1909 and 1911 Honeyboy Evans trophies, awarded to the all-time career batting leader for batting titles in those seasons, as well as sliding pads worn by the former all-time leader in stolen bases, are on exhibit in Cooperstown. Other artifacts from Cobb in the two exhibits include bats used during a career in which he won 11 batting titles; spikes worn during his career; and even a glove used by the stellar-fielding star, who holds the major league record for most games played in the outfield with 2,934.

The Tigers’ 1930s and 40s dynasty has a section devoted to it in the Timeline, marking the achievements of Hall of Famers like Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Mickey Cochrane and Hal Newhouser. From 1934 to 1945, this core group took Detroit to the World Series four times, winning in 1935 and 1945. The ’36 team holds the franchise record by fielding a lineup of four future Hall of Fame players and player/manager Cochrane. Found within the exhibit about these Motown Mashers are Cochrane’s catcher’s mitt; Gehringer’s bronzed second baseman glove; a home run ball from Greenberg’s 1940 league-leading campaign; a cap and jersey worn by Newhouser; and a number of awards, trophies and trinkets given to the group.

Between Fall Classic appearances in 1945 and 1968, notable Hall of Famers like third baseman and batting wizard George Kell, future senator and ace pitcher Jim Bunning and Mr. Tiger himself – Al Kaline – joined the team. Representing this trio in the Timeline are a pair of silver bats awarded to Kell for batting titles in 1943 (in the Interstate League) and 1949; Bunning’s spikes from his first career no-hitter – thrown at Fenway on July 20, 1958; and a uniform from Kaline who helped lead the Tigers back to the Fall Classic in 1968 when they topped the Cardinals to become World Champions. This group is also represented in One for the Books by Kaline’s 3,000th hit bat and the glove worn by 1968 and 1969 Cy Young Award winner, Denny McLain, who in 1968 became the first big leaguer to win 30 games in a season since 1934.

After Kaline retired, the torch passed to veteran manager Sparky Anderson, who after having won two World Series titles with the Cincinnati Reds, helmed a 1980s Tigers team poised to make some noise. In 1984, they won the World Series – and reached the ALCS again in 1987. Those teams have a spot in Cooperstown with Kirk Gibson’s 1987 batting helmet, Lou Whitaker’s 1984 championship jersey, Alan Trammel’s 1983 Gold Glove jersey, and Jack Morris 1984 no-hitter cap appearing in the Timeline alongside a 1984 Series cap from Sparky.

Recent Detroit squads have plenty of artifacts at the Hall of Fame, celebrating their success. Since winning the AL pennant in 2006, the Tigers have generously donated items found in Today’s Game such as: Bats from 2006 ALCS MVP Placido Polanco and ALCS Game Four walk-off home run slugger Magglio Ordonez, (in ¡Viva Baseball!); a jersey from Curtis Granderson, who joined Willie Mays and Frank Schulte as the only players with at least 20 doubles, triples, home runs and steals in a single season in 2007.

Other items within the Hall’s walls include a piece of the Tiger Stadium outfield wall (in Sacred Ground); and in Today’s Game the cap worn by Brian Moehler on April 11, 2000, when he became the first pitcher to start a game at Comerica Park; and the spikes from Armando Galarraga’s near perfect game on June 2, 2010, while first base from the game resides in One for the Books.

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

Van Gundys’ Visit

By Bill Francis

Despite the fact that Stan and Jeff Van Gundy have made their names in basketball, the brothers’ affection for a game that uses a much smaller ball was evident with their visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum on Wednesday.

“We’ve been meaning to come here for awhile,” said Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, who also brought with him his 16-year-old son Michael. “With work schedules and we both have families and other things around it was hard, but finally Jeff just said, ‘Get a date and I’ll go,’ so we came up with a date.”

While Stan was making his first visit to Cooperstown, Jeff Van Gundy, who coached the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets prior to his current gig broadcasting the NBA for ABC/ESPN, thinks he might have come years ago, adding, “I think I was here before once when I was in high school but now I’m not totally clear.”

But what was clear was how much the siblings were enjoying their Hall of Fame visit.

“It’s just unbelievable,” Stan Van Gundy said. “We’ve been baseball fans since we were little kids and been meaning to come here for years and years and years. It’s incredible how much stuff is here and how much history is here. You really feel connected to it. There’s just an overwhelming amount of … things.”

With a father who was a basketball coach, the Van Gundy brothers were exposed to that game from an early age. But as Stan explained, baseball brought with it a special family dynamic.

“We’re all involved in basketball and so we weren’t really together at a lot of games. We were watching my dad’s team or watching Jeff play a game or watching me play a game or whatever, but baseball’s something you can do together,” Stan said. “And it’s been the same way with me and my son. He may come to my games or I might go to his games but we’re rarely at a basketball game together. Baseball we can share. It’s a family experience. I remember going to baseball games with my family, so I think that’s been a big part of it.”

For Jeff Van Gundy, an A’s fan whose family lived in the Bay area in the 1970s, an early baseball memory comes from the 1972 World Series between Oakland pitcher Rollie Fingers and Reds batter Johnny Bench.

“I still remember vividly (A’s manager) Dick Williams walking out to the mound and calling for an intentional walk and they throw the strike. It was one of the great memories of my life,” Jeff said. “And I can still remember that we used to go out for a dollar and sit in the bleachers (in Oakland).”

Having lived in Florida for many years, Stan Van Gundy now roots for the Marlins.

“The 2003 World Series with the Marlins, we were living in Miami and got to know some of those guys,” Stan said. “And probably my biggest baseball memory is Jeff Conine throwing J.T. Snow out at home plate in the first round of the playoffs. The only time a play at the plate ended a series. And J.T. Snow tries to run Pudge Rodriguez over and he comes up with the ball.

“Baseball’s so many memories for all of us. And to be here, where there’s memories from the entire history of the game… It’s really overwhelming.”

While the National Football League settled its lockout this week, the National Baseball Association is currently embroiled on one of its own. When asked for their thoughts on the current impasse, Stan Van Gundy politely demurred, explaining that he could be fined by the league for making a comment. But brother Jeff was under no restrictions.

“I think it’ll work out eventually,” Jeff said. “Obviously it’ll involve compromise, the owners will win, and it will start late. And it will harm everybody and everything. What’s always forgotten in these is the person who is just striving to live paycheck to paycheck and gotten laid off. That’s the unfortunate thing about all these things. We talk about what’s in it for the owners or for the players but we often forget so many of the other people that are impacted by these types of lockouts.”

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 61 other followers