Results tagged ‘ Doug Harvey ’

The Kid in the Hall

By Jeff Idelson

I’ll never forget May 20th and 21st of 2011. 

I embarked on a 24-hour journey for an aspect of my job that is never comfortable and always sad: Attending a funeral.   

Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew had passed away in Arizona. After lunch with Robin Yount, Paul Molitor and their wives, as well as Bob Nightengale, my friend with USA Today, I headed back to the airport to take a redeye flight home.

As I sat on the flight and drifted off, I wondered what else could happen. Harmon’s passing was the last of six Hall of Famers who had passed away in the last year: Robin Roberts, Sparky Anderson, Bob Feller, Duke Snider and Dick Williams.

As I de-boarded my flight in Newark to change planes that next morning, May 21st, my phone began to ring. It was The Kid, and I smiled. I always looked forward to conversations with Gary Carter because he was so positive, so uplifting and had a zest for life.

This time, the call was different. 

Gary explained that he had been inventorying equipment with his coaches for Palm Beach Community College, where he was the head baseball coach. He told me he had lost count a few times and even snapped at some of his colleagues, and he did not know why. Very uncharacteristic of the most positive person I had come to know in Baseball.

I immediately thought about what I had been reading, about the recent rash of concussions in football. “I bet you have a concussion from all of those collisions you took,” I quickly blurted out, as if I could solve the problem. Gary waited patiently for me to finish and said, “No, it’s actually four tumors wrapped around my brain.” And then he quickly added, “But I am not scared, because I have my family around me and I am going to beat this.” 

And that was the essence of Gary Carter.

He fought gallantly with his family by his side, at every step. He went to Duke Medical Center to learn more. It was actually one tumor with four tentacles. And he could not have surgery: His cancer was inoperable. 

Gary called the next day.

“It’s inoperable, which is going to make this a little bit tougher, but I’ll beat this,” he told me confidently. “I have my family and my faith and with that, we’ll get through this, Jeffrey,” he said. “I plan to be at Hall of Fame Weekend to see everyone.”

It never happened.

Gary was so generous of time and spirit. He traveled to Cooperstown for the 2010 Hall of Fame Classic over Father’s Day Weekend and then to Cooperstown a month later for the induction of Andre Dawson, Doug Harvey and Whitey Herzog.  That would be his last visit to the place he adored so much and the Classic was the final time he participated in a baseball game. The fans adored him.

“Gary was so proud to be a Hall of Famer,” his widow Sandy told me on the phone yesterday afternoon after letting me know of Gary’s peaceful passing. 

And “proud” sums up the Kid so well. He was proud of wearing a major league uniform for 19 seasons, of being a Hall of Famer, of his family and his friends. 

We lost a good one yesterday. Rest in Peace #8. We miss you.

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

A nice ring to it

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

It was his first full day as an inducted Hall of Famer, and Andre Dawson looked relaxed and refreshed in his red polo shirt before Monday’s Legends Series event in Cooperstown.

07-26-10-Muder-Legends.jpgBut Dawson also appeared sorry that the weekend was almost over. The Hawk clearly enjoyed the process as much as the result.

“I really wanted to do this weekend right,” Dawson said. “This is a privilege, and I didn’t want to screw it up.”

Dawson, along with fellow Class of 2010 members Doug Harvey and Whitey Herzog, gave the fans a perfect weekend in Cooperstown – capped off by Monday’s event. The three newest Hall of Famers shared stories and laughs for the crowd in Cooperstown and the MLB Network cameras, which will turn Monday’s show into a program to be broadcast at 2 p.m. Wednesday on the network.

George Grande and Peter Gammons moderated the event, which was followed by the traditional “ring shot” where the newest inductees show off their Hall of Fame rings.

And with that, baseball’s best weekend came to a close.

Memo to the Class of 2011: Cooperstown is calling.

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

Induction moments

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

The gesture was so touching, it was easy to forget that these were two of the toughest umpires ever to don chest protectors.

It was fifteen minutes after Sunday’s Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown, and Doug Harvey was headed to the post-induction press conference.

07-25-10-Muder-Fogerty.jpgSuddenly, a man came running up behind Harvey, calling “Doug, Doug!”

Enter Joe West, Major League Baseball umpire and former colleague of Harvey.

“I am so happy for you,” said West. And then – with an awe-like respect for the umpire known as “god” – West kissed Harvey’s hand.

A Cooperstown-only moment, to be sure. And there were others.

How about John Fogerty’s appearance at the Hall of Fame? The rock-and-roll legend donated his bat-shaped guitar “Slugger” to the Museum for display Sunday evening. Earlier in the day, Fogerty got to spend time with one of his idols – Hall of Famer Willie Mays – before performing his baseball anthem “Centerfield” live at the Induction Ceremony.

“I don’t even feel like I should be here with these guys,” Fogerty said. “That was Willie Mays!”

For Fogerty – himself a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer – the Cooperstown experience was like that of any baseball fan.

“I felt like I was eight years old all over again.”

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

Grande delivery

Carr_90.jpgBy Samantha Carr

There is one voice that lets you know you are in Cooperstown for Hall of Fame Weekend – and it belongs to George Grande.

A crowd of thousands gathered on Main St. in Cooperstown Saturday evening for the first-ever Hall of Fame Parade of Legends. Grande, the retired announcer for the Cincinnati Reds and emcee of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Induction Ceremony announced each Hall of Famer, many with their wives and children, as they waved to fans from the back of Ford pickup trucks on their way to the Museum steps.

07-24-10-Carr-Grande.jpgGrande’s familiar voice introduced each legend with career statistics, a story from their career and even a personal greeting. As Twins legend Rod Carew was announced, Grande commented that Carew looked like he could still hit .300.

“I wish,” said Carew.

But I wouldn’t bet against the career .328 hitter, who spent 19 years in the big leagues, or any of his Hall of Fame teammates. The new parade format allowed fans to get a wave, say hello and get a photo of their heroes from the longest-tenured Hall of Famer Bob Feller to the most recent – of the Class of 2009 – Rickey Henderson.

But the final spots in the parade were reserved for the newest additions to the greatest team ever assembled, the Class of 2010.

Doug Harvey, Whitey Herzog and Andre Dawson made up the caboose of the line of legends and will be honored Sunday on stage with their Hall of Fame Plaques during the 2010 Induction Ceremony.

The ceremony will begin at 1:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday on the grounds of the Clark Sports Center, and admission is free. Forty-seven Hall of Famers will take the stage to welcome the Class of 2010 as well as Ford C. Frick winner Jon Miller and J.G. Taylor Spink winner Bill Madden. The ceremony will be broadcast live on MLB Network and Sirius/XM Radio.

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

Old friends, different ball

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

They were teammates on the baseball diamond, working toward a common goal and sharing good times in the clubhouse.

Today, they are friends in retirement – enjoying a history that only they share.

It all comes together in Cooperstown.

07-24-10-Muder-Dawson.jpgThe annual Hall of Fame Invitational golf outing was played at Leatherstocking Golf Course in Cooperstown on Saturday morning, with more than 20 Hall of Famers and dozens more distinguished guests launching drives and dropping putts on the picturesque course next to Otsego Lake. Andre Dawson and Whitey Herzog, who are set to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday with Doug Harvey as the Class of 2010, got their first taste of Hall of Fame Weekend golf and loved every minute of it.

Dawson invited former Montreal Expos teammate Tim Raines to play with him, and Raines wowed his fellow golfers with some prodigious tee shots. But for Raines, the real excitement was just being in Cooperstown with his friend.

“He was a quiet leader, who led by example and I was one of the guys who jumped on his shirttails,” Raines said. “You think about how to play the game right, and you think about Andre Dawson.

“I am so happy his day has come.”

Herzog played the round with family members, while other power foursomes included a group with Frank Robinson, George Brett and Brett’s former teammate John Wathan and another with Gary Carter, Paul Molitor and former umpire Bruce Froemming.

“Whitey was a pain in the butt,” Carter joked when asked about Herzog. “We had some good battles. When you played Whitey’s teams, they were always tough.”

Their time on the diamond may be passed, but the camaraderie they created appears to be everlasting – especially at the home of baseball in Cooperstown.

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

Countdown to immortality

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

With his career’s ultimate moment a mere 48 hours away, Andre Dawson showed he is still one of the game’s top clutch performers.

“Come Monday, I’m going to look in the mirror and know I’m a Hall of Famer,” Dawson said on Friday and he prepared for Sunday’s Induction Ceremony and celebrated with family and friends in Cooperstown. “I’m very excited, and my family is very excited.”

07-23-10-Muder-Dawson.jpgFighting off a cold but looking like he could still throw runners out at third base from the right field corner at Wrigley Field, the ever-relaxed Dawson put the finishing touches on his Induction Speech on Friday in preparation for Sunday’s Class of 2010 Induction Ceremony. Dawson will join Whitey Herzog and Doug Harvey as members of the Class of 2010 when they are inducted at 1:30 pm EDT on Sunday in Cooperstown. The ceremony is free and open to the public and will be broadcast live on MLB Network.

On Saturday, Dawson will participate in the annual Hall of Famers golf tournament in Cooperstown – with former Expos teammate Tim Raines as his guest on the links.

On Sunday, another former teammate – Warren Cromartie – will come to Cooperstown with busloads of Montreal fans to celebrate Dawson’s induction.

Yet with all the commotion, Dawson remains rock-solid and ready to roll.

“Lot of Expos fans in town, lot of Cubs fans in town,” said Dawson, who played for Montreal and Chicago as well as Boston and Florida. “It’s amazing to look down Main Street and see all those fans.”

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

 

No place like home for The Wizard

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

Ozzie Smith leaned back in his chair and gazed out upon idyllic Otesgo Lake on Thursday. After arriving at his hotel in advance of Hall of Fame Weekend 2010, The Wizard seemed to have a permanent smile on his face.

07-22-10-Muder-Smith.jpgOzzie may live in St. Louis, but Cooperstown remains his home.

“This place is very special,” said the 2002 Hall of Fame inductee upon returning to Central New York. “I’m fortunate enough to come back three or four times a year, and I love every minute of it.”

Smith joined more than 40 other Hall of Famers in Cooperstown on Thursday in preparation for Sunday’s 1:30 p.m. Induction Ceremony for the Class of 2010. Andre Dawson, Doug Harvey and Whitey Herzog will be enshrined then, and the returning Hall of Famers will help thousands of baseball fans celebrate the moment.

Many of those Hall of Famers will also ensure that Dawson, Harvey and Herzog appreciate the experience.

“(Hall of Famer) Johnny Bench always sits the new class down at the hotel and has them just look out on the lake for a while,” Smith said. “He tells them to take time to understand what this all means.

“Coming back year after year, enjoying all the laughter… I always look forward to it.”

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

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