Results tagged ‘ Hall of Fame Classic ’

Turning four: Congrats Tommy and Happy Birthday MLBlogs

Hayes_90.jpgBy Trevor Hayes

This weekend we were a little busy with the sale of Hall of Fame Classic tickets and the announcement of Mike Pagliarulo’s participation in the June 21st Father’s Day Game. But we did note that Saturday was the MLBlog-osphere‘s fourth birthday; and we’d like to send a shout out to one of our own who helped start this thing.


4-20-09-Hayes_Lasorda.jpgHall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda
wrote an introductory post on April 18, 2005, for the launch of this grand old network talking about this grand old game. Tommy has always been a great ambassador to the game (as you can see by that first post: “Remembering my friend Jackie” on Jackie Robinson). His blog has become an outlet for so many stories. As a newbie to the blog world, we here at Cooperstown Chatter are taking a page out of what he’s done and hope we can build the kind of community he has.

Today is the 41st entry for the Hall of Fame on Cooperstown Chatter and we are just over a month old, but we feel like we’re starting to connect to the vibrant community here on mlblogs.com. We have a wide variety of voices coming to you from recently retired Hall of Fame Chief Curator Ted Spencer to a special contributor Marty Appel, who made his debut last week. We’ve made a lot of progress very quickly in social networking (check out our Facebook site), and even though the Major League season is still young, we’re already chronicling the artifacts we’re collecting from the game’s historic openings, victories and defeats.

So here’s to you Tommy, and Happy Belated Birthday MLBlogs.

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

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 www.baseballhall.org next week.

For ticket information, call 1-866-849-7770 or visit www.baseballhall.org.

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

Love of baseball grows in spring

Idelson_90.jpgBy Jeff Idelson

Just back to Cooperstown after a nine-day road trip to Los Angeles, for the WBC; Phoenix, to meet with a couple of owners; and Florida, for some fundraising initiatives. My trip home from Florida on Sunday was fine, though my string of six straight Southwest flights in seat 11C – exit row aisle – came to an end.  Hey, at least I got an aisle seat.

 The main thrust of my visit to Florida was our annual Hall of Fame Champions Grapefruit League trip. We have a great circle of Champions -  individuals and couples who support the Hall of Fame at $5,000 or more.  In return for supporting our educational mission, Champions receive invitations to events across the country with Hall of Famers, spring training games in Florida and Arizona, exhibit openings, Hall of Fame Weekend and the Hall of Fame Classic, all with exclusive access.

4-3-09-Idelson_Roberts.jpgTwo weeks ago we were in Arizona to see the A’s and Mariners play. A’s General Manager Billy Beane joined us for a while before the game, and we had dinner with Hall of Famer Billy Williams.

For our Grapefruit League endeavor, we headed for Ft. Myers. Hall of Fame Vice President and Chief Curator Ted Spencer, named after Ted Williams, Senior Development Director Ken Meifert, whose heart belongs to the Indians, and I, were joined by Hall of Famer Robin Roberts.

We picked up the Hall of Fame right-hander at his home outside Tampa. “The Rays are selling out every game this spring,” beamed the longtime Phillie, about his hometown Tampa Bay Rays.

We headed south to Naples, where I talked to Robin about his career. “Sure I met Cy Young. I asked him how he won all those games and he told me he held the ball way back in his hand. I met Cobb too. He told me, ‘I wish I had a few less hits and a few more friends.’”

In Napes, we met Champion Jay Baker for lunch. Jay is a long-time Yankees fan and history buff, and along with his wife Patty, an ardent supporter of many philanthropic causes, such as the Hall of Fame. 

Over lunch, I asked Robin if he had ever been in a movie. “No, but Ashburn and I met Spencer Tracy when he was filming Judgment at Nuremberg,” he said. “What a nice man.”

Robin then quipped, “I was on television once, on What’s My Line (YouTube clip of Robin). The panel had to try and guess my off-season job, which was with the Neptunalia Seafood Company. I was president of Gold King and we sold frozen shrimp. No one could figure out what I did, but they sure came close.”

“I was on Murphy Brown,” quipped Baker. “If you watch carefully, you can see me. I was so smooth we did it on one take,” he laughed.

We spent the afternoon seeing two impressive private baseball collections – Jay’s and the one of another area Champion, Don Gunther. Both are wonderful examples of how the game means so much to people personally. They are both inspired by their love of the game and its history, akin to what happens to visitors every day in Cooperstown.

Jay and Patty generously hosted a Champions recruiting dinner that evening in Naples. There were 24 dinner guests, including former major leaguer Sterling Hitchcock, and we spent the evening all sharing personal stories about what the game means to each of us. 

Robin reminisced about meeting Grover Cleveland Alexander in grade school in Springfield, Illinois. “We had a two-room school house for 8 grades. Alexander was the special guest one day when I was in the eighth grade. He told us, ‘Baseball is a great game. Don’t drink. Look what it did to me.’ Sad, but true.”  

Hitchcock recounted how he grew up unhappy with George Brett who once refused to sign an autograph for him as a high school student. He told his fiancée (who became his wife) that if he ever made the majors, he would hit Brett with a pitch.

4-3-09-Idelson_Hitchcock.jpgNot too many years later, making his major league debut at Yankee Stadium, Hitchcock hit Brett on the elbow, very much by mistake. The phone rang that night, and Sterling’s mother-in-law, who was watching the game, remembered the story and thought he had done it on purpose. “Of course, I hadn’t, nor would I ever do that” said Hitchcock, laughing.

The dinner conversation was delightful, with everyone sharing childhood memories of how they first fell in love with the game.  

Jim Collias, a retired neurosurgeon from Yale-New Haven Medical Center, recalled growing up in Boston’s South End. “Mr. Yawkey gave a bunch of us jobs working in the clubhouse during the Depression. I have fond memories of being in Fenway Park and Mr. Yawkey was a nice man. We also were sent to the train station to get the players’ bags when the team arrived in town. We all got very excited to welcome the Yankees, though Joe DiMaggio would never let us carry his bag. He would just shake his head, ‘No.’”

Saturday was spent in City of Palms Park, home to the Red Sox, who played the Twins.   Brad Penny and Francisco Liriano pitched, and – aided by some serious wind blowing out to left field -  Rocco Baldelli, Big Papi and Jason Bay all hit home runs in a Red Sox victory.

Thanks to the generosity of the Red Sox, we enjoyed the afternoon from the owners’ suite.  A number of our Champions and recruits enjoyed the beautiful weather and the pristine ballpark while talking baseball all afternoon. 

Cincinnati-based champion Buck Newsome and his wife Robin traveled in for the game with Robin keeping a detailed scorebook. “This book’s only for spring training,” she explained to me “and I like this style scorebook, because it allows me to count pitches.” The Newsomes are my kind of people — ones who adore the game.

Robin (the pitcher, not the scorekeeper) and I were on the field before the game and we spoke with Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “Things sure have changed in pitching,” said Robin to Ron.  “My pitching coach and mentor, Cy Perkins’, instruction to me was pretty simple.  He said, ‘Kid, you can really pitch, keep it up; stay ahead of the batter, and; don’t get past 2-2 on a hitter.’ That was it.” 

After the game, we headed north to Sarasota to have dinner with Reds’ owner Bob Castellini and his wife, Susie, along with their son Bob, Jr., team general manager Walt Jocketty and Hall of Fame champion Bob Crotty. The dinner was wonderful. We talked to the Castellinis about the Hall of Fame and its programs and shared a lot of laughs.

On the way back to Tampa, I asked Robin about how he developed such an effective curveball. “Sal Maglie,” said Robin. “I pitched against ‘The Barber’ on opening day in 1952 and watched how he really shortened up his delivery with the curveball. So, I copied it, won 28 games that year, and never told him.”

We dropped Robin off at home around 11:30 pm, concluding a great couple of days with a group of friends who truly love the game of baseball.

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

Welcome to Cooperstown

Idelson_90.jpgBy Jeff Idelson

Greetings from Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame. Welcome to our first official blog.

We’re proud to be entering the world of social networking. We created our first Web site in early 1995, certainly ahead of the curve in the Museum world, riding that cyberwave that society was just beginning to discover. We are excited to now be a part of the blogosphere. You’ll begin to hear from many Hall of Fame staff members about a variety of topics.

In Cooperstown, we have a series of entertaining, educational and interactive exhibit openings and special programs planned between now and Induction Weekend. We hope you’ll be able to join us.

3-16-09-Idelson_Welcome.jpgNext month we’ll open Chasing the Dream, the life story of Hank Aaron and a permanent tribute to one of the game’s lasting legends. From humble beginnings to integrating the South Atlantic League to setting many records in the face of intense racism to becoming a successful philanthropist, Aaron’s life story is fascinating, and you’ll learn much more about “The Hammer” through this exhibit. It opens April 25, and the day will include a formal dedication and ribbon-cutting, a roundtable discussion and a Member reception to close the day. Chasing the Dream is the centerpiece to a new Hall of Fame Gallery of Records, which will open in 2011.

You’ll most certainly want to be in Cooperstown on Memorial Day Weekend when we open our first-ever bilingual exhibit. ¡Viva Baseball! tells the story of how Latinos have changed the face of baseball in America, while giving Museum visitors a taste of how baseball looks and feels and what it means in Caribbean Basin countries, including Cuba, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Puerto Rico. This exhibit has a great deal of technology and features our first-ever “talking labels” — Hall of Famers and other Latino stars sharing stories about artifacts in their own words. There will also be an entire wall of television screens, creating an awesome visual of the sights and sounds of Latino baseball, as narrated by 1998 Ford C. Frick Award-winner and the Spanish voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jaime Jarrin.

Cooperstown will be a hotbed of fun, talent and nostalgia Father’s Day Weekend when we stage the first Hall of Fame Classic Weekend, replete with a game of catch on Doubleday Field for fathers and their children, a children’s baseball clinic, Museum programs dedicated to dads and a legends (old-timers) game called the Hall of Fame Classic. The Classic, complete with autograph sessions for ticket-holders, and presented by the Ford Motor Company, will be held Sunday at legendary Doubleday Field, and includes five Hall of Famers and scores of other retired Major League players. We expect the weekend to become one of the Museum’s signature events and the ultimate Father’s Day Weekend destination.

That’s it for now.

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

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