Results tagged ‘ Cooper Park ’

Championing the Classic

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

At 49, Mike Pagliarulo almost blends in with the crowd.

Wearing blue jeans and sneakers, the former big league third baseman strolled into Cooper Park next to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday and drew little attention. But quickly, the fans in the ticket line for the Hall of Fame Classic noticed it: The World Series ring Pagliarulo won in 1991 as as a member of the Minnesota Twins.

4-18-09-Muder_Pags.jpgAnd suddenly, the buzz started.

Pagliarulo, who spent 11 seasons in the major leagues with the Yankees, Padres, Twins, Orioles and Rangers, visited the Hall of Fame on Saturday in advance of the June 21 Hall of Fame Classic. Pagliarulo will play third base during the Classic as well as sign autographs and share memories from his big league career.

On Saturday, he thrilled fans with his homespun advice and easy-going style.

Really, what I’m most proud about my big league career is that it allowed me to put my kids through college,” Pagliarulo said. “But when you come (to Cooperstown), you think about all the game gave to you. That’s why this is such a special place.”

After visiting with fans in the ticket line, Pagliarulo entertained more than 100 Museum fans in a 30-minute question-and-answer session. Ironically, his biggest baseball thrill came not on the field — but at the Yankees’ Old Timers Day 24 years ago.

I walked into the locker room, and Joe DiMaggio was at my locker. And he just started talking to me,” Pagliarulo said. “Then, Billy Martin and Mickey Mantle came in — and Mickey gets me in a headlock and drags me into the trainers room. God forbid I hit him back! That’s Mickey Mantle!
“I don’t remember anything on the field that day. But I remember the time in the clubhouse.”

Pagliarulo will join Hall of Famers Fergie Jenkins, Paul Molitor, Phil Niekro and Brooks Robinson at the June 21 Classic — along with about 20 other former major leaguers, including George Foster, Jim Kaat, Bill Lee, Steve Rogers and Lee Smith. More participants will be announced at next week.

For ticket information, call 1-866-849-7770 or visit

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

Hargrove slips in and out of Museum

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

Mike Hargrove spent his entire baseball career behind the scenes.

So when he made a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in September, it was no surprise that it came without fanfare. But this time, “behind the scenes” also meant a look at baseball’s most sacred treasures.

Hargrove stopped in Cooperstown on Sept. 19 while on a trip through the Northeast. He and his wife, Sharon, travel throughout the country on their motorcycle, and few heads turned as the couple pulled into Cooper Park next door to the Hall of Fame.

9-22-08-Muder_Hargrove.jpgOnce inside, the Hargroves received a behind-the-scenes tour from Senior Curator Tom Shieber and chatted with Bull Durham writer/director Ron Shelton, who was himself experiencing the thrill of looking at the Museum’s archives.

A few hours later, the Hargroves emerged from the Hall of Fame and walked down Main Street to have a relaxed lunch. Soon after, they returned to Cooper Park, put on their leathers and rolled north on Main Street and out of town.

It was typical of Hargrove, who never sought the spotlight as a player or manager. A former Rookie of the Year and All-Star with the Texas Rangers, Hargrove was famous for his deliberate — or was that super-slow motion? — approach at the plate. And yet those tactics, which drove pitchers crazy and got them off their rhythm, often overshadowed a hitter who compiled a .290 career average and a .396 on-base percentage.

As a manager, Hargrove took over a dilapidated Cleveland Indians franchise in 1991 and led it to the World Series four years later. His even-handed approach and clubhouse skills resulted in five playoff appearances and two American League pennants for a team that was the laughingstock of baseball in the 1970s and ’80s.

At 58, Hargrove certainly has something left to give as a manager. Yet it would shock no one if he spent the rest of his days enjoying the fruits of his former lifetime. After a career in forced limelight, Hargrove seems content with his life.

Baseball is better because of people like him.

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


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