Results tagged ‘ Hank Aaron ’

Hall Monitor: 600 vs. 600?

By Trevor Hayes

Tomorrow night could be a historic night for the American League – featuring two 600 home run hitters in the same game. Of course there are factors to keep it from happening until Sunday or even next month – and then again, the event could be postponed indefinitely.

On Monday night, Jim Thome, in back-to-back at-bats, connected for home runs No. 599 and 600, joining an elite club consisting of just seven other players – three of whom are Hall of Famers and the other four, like Thome, aren’t yet eligible.

Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Hank Aaron are responsible for the only games in which two 600 Club members were featured in the same game, all of which happening under the National League banner. The American League has never one, but it could happen this weekend in Minneapolis.

Last night, Alex Rodriguez’s Yankees started a four-game series in Minnesota against baseball’s newest edition to the elite club, Thome, and his Twins. But Rodriguez is on the disabled list. News reports say he could be in the lineup tomorrow and with the Bronx Bombers fighting for a division crown, he very well could be. He’s played in four rehab games already, but the slightest setback in clearing him for play after knee surgery could postpone his return.

Should that happen, or if Thome – a 40-year-old designated hitter, who could retire at the end of the season – gets a day off, the two teams do meet again on Sept. 19th as a makeup for the rainout on April 6th. Another factor that could stop the AL’s first 600-600 game: Thome’s name is circulating the rumor mill as a waiver trade candidate, though a move elsewhere in AL could just alter the time and location for his matchup against Rodriguez.

With only eight members of the 600 Club, it has been rare for two 600 home run hitters to be active for an extended period of time together. The inaugural member, Babe Ruth, retired almost 35 years before the Giants Mays joined him at 600 at the end of 1969. The Braves Aaron joined Mays two years later, but once Mays retired in 1973 and Aaron in 1976, it was a full 25 years before Barry Bonds launched his 600th in 2002. Sammy Sosa, wearing a Ranger’s uniform, played just one season – 2007 – before he and the Giants Bonds both hung ’em up without meeting in interleague. Next was Ken Griffey Jr. who reached 600 in 2008. During Junior’s final season last year, Alex Rodriguez reached the plateau – but two months after Griffey’s retirement from the Mariners – and that brings us to Thome.

For those curious, Mays and Aaron played in 24 games against each other after both achieved 600 home runs, including the game in which Aaron hit his 600th on April 27, 1971, off of fellow future Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. 1971 featured the most action, with the two taking the field together 13 times. With Mays as a Met they met four times in 1972 and seven times in 1973. In those 24 games, Aaron hit home runs eight times by himself, Mays had one on May 9, 1971 and they both went deep on May 8, 1971.

One last note, there have actually been three games featuring two 600 Club members on the same team: the 1971-73 All-Star Games. Both featured Aaron and Mays on the NL rosters, and the two were in the starting lineups for the 1972 and 1973 games.

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

Connections in Cooperstown

By Ana Apostoleris

“Preserving History. Honoring Excellence. Connecting Generations.” This is the Hall of Fame’s mission statement, and, as a Hall of Fame public programming intern for the past two months, I’ve been able to see this succinct string of words as a daily reality.

“Connecting Generations,” especially, rings true as the Hall blends together past and future for the wide variety of visitors who come through our doors, as well as for me personally.

The Hall, of course, is largely commemorative. Baseball has a history in this country that no other sport has; here, I get to live that history every day, through patrons as well as programs. We have people in their 80s and older coming in every day, some of whom have been here more times than they can count, some of whom are making the trip for the first time in their lives. For the most part, they all have stories – I’ve met people who saw Babe Ruth play when they were young, who grew up in Boston rooting for the Braves, who remember the days before integration. They’re here to remember their childhoods and the game they watched growing up.

I also took this internship with an eye on my future. Baseball has been my lifelong passion, and as a 20-year-old college student, my ongoing goal is to get myself into the best position I can to turn my passion into a career. I see the same kind of forward thinking from visitors, usually young. We have the thousands of Little Leaguers who dream of being Major Leaguers, for whom the Hall of Fame represents the ultimate end goal. We have others whose baseball dreams come from different angles – for example, the eloquent 16-year-old who participated in our “Making Airwaves” radio recreation program, calling Hank Aaron’s 715th home run, and who later told me that his dream is to be a broadcaster and that he’d made sure his family woke up early so they wouldn’t miss the program. On a less long-term scale, these young visitors are afforded the same opportunity to explore their love of baseball and to connect with their future goals that I am.

Of course, it’s also about the present, which, as always, is the intersection between past and future. My present is contributing as much as I can to the museum while I’m here, so that visitors can make the most out of what is for some a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

It’s these 10 weeks, where I get to walk through the Plaque Gallery on my way to the office every morning and run my hand over Lou Gehrig’s plaque for luck. It’s been the opportunity to discover the history of the game I love while exploring my own future, and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my summer vacation.

Ana Apostoleris is a public programming intern in the Class of 2011 Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program. For more information on the Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program, please click here http://baseballhall.org/education/internship-program/internship-program.

Experiencing Cooperstown: An Intern’s Perspective

By Chris Duffy

A day in the life of the stereotypical intern has the basic ingredients of a Dilbert comic strip. Each day’s forecast typically calls for eight hours of filing papers, answering phones and periodically refilling the “World’s Greatest Boss” coffee mug.
 
Fortunately, my time as a Public Programs intern at the Hall of Fame has been far from stereotypical. Words such as extraordinary, unforgettable and surreal properly reflect my Cooperstown experience.
 
My morning begins with a scenic commute through the Hall of Fame Plaque Gallery, where bronze portraits of baseball legends rest peacefully in silent alcoves. Roberto Clemente’s gaze, Stan the Man’s smile and Ty Cobb’s smirk greet me as I pass by quietly, not wanting to disrupt the stillness of the moment.

Then, the doors open, the Hall of Fame roars to life and the public programs begin.
 
My purpose this summer is to develop, prepare and conduct daily programs for fans to enjoy. My favorite part of programming? The passionate visitors. Whether I’m demonstrating the sweet spot on a bat, or recreating Hank Aaron’s 715th home run call, the fans’ love for the game is always evident.
 
Artifact spotlights, which present artifacts not currently on display in the Museum, are particularly special programs to run. The treasures presented bring out the utmost zeal from fans of all ages. I will never forget the man from Milwaukee with the youthful glint in his eyes as I held Craig Biggio’s batting gloves; I will always remember the young girl from Florida gazing at Derek Jeter’s bat like it was fashioned from solid gold.
 
Moments like these are amazing because my experience with baseball has come full circle. Before this summer, I was simply a fan. Now, I contribute to improving the experience for other fans and sustaining the legacy of America’s national pastime.
 
No papers, phones or coffee mugs. Just fun, excitement and passion for the game of baseball.

Chris Duffy is a public programs intern in the Class of 2011 Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program. For more information on the Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program, please click here http://baseballhall.org/education/internship-program/internship-program.

Mike McCormick visits Hall of Fame

By Bill Francis

Mike McCormick had experienced much in his baseball career, from making his big league debut 55 years ago at the age of 17, to capturing the 1967 National League Cy Young Award, and surrendering Hank Aaron’s 500th career home run. But it wasn’t until this week that the longtime left-handed pitcher visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

“It’s the first time that I’ve been to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and shame on me,” McCormick said on Thursday afternoon. “I’ve heard about it, obviously, my whole career and honored to be in it in different ways, not as an elected person. It’s been a wonderful day so far and we’re looking forward to the rest of it.”

The 72-year-old McCormick is a native Californian who moved with his wife to Pinehurst, N.C. eight years ago. Now retired, he spends time on the golf course and keeping up with his beloved Giants thanks to a cable television baseball package. He was visiting Cooperstown with one of his daughters, her husband, and their two children. Soon after the family arrived, they were given a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum.

“You come in as the average citizen and you see the exhibits but you don’t see what’s behind those exhibits,” McCormick said. “They have some incredible things that they shared with my family and me that, had it not been under the conditions, we wouldn’t even be aware that such things existed.”

After a heralded prep career in a Los Angeles suburb in which he posted records of 49-4 in American Legion and 34-4 in high school, McCormick spent 16 seasons (1956-71) as a major league hurler. Because of the rules at the time, his reported $50,000 signing bonus from the New York Giants demanded he stay on the big league roster for his first two professional seasons.

“I wanted to be a baseball player,” McCormick recalled. “And all at once I was thrust into it at 17 and it was whole different world, let me tell you. I grew up real fast.”

While McCormick spent most of his time with the Giants, first in New York and then with San Francisco after the franchise moved in 1958, he also saw time with the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Senators, New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals. His career, which ended with a 134-128 won-loss record, was highlighted by his 22 wins in 1967 that helped him capture the senior circuit’s top pitching prize.

“When I was healthy, I don’t want to say I was the best but I was among the best. I just had a struggle staying healthy,” McCormick said. “I went my first six years feeling fine then all at once I ran into a sore shoulder which set me back the next three years. I stayed in the major leagues but I was really a nonproductive individual. Then I got to Washington and re-established that I had some value, where I had three or four good years, one of which one was the Cy Young Award year. But then I had back problems and had to succumb to a back operation.”

Walking through the Plaque Gallery, McCormick not only saw the bronze likenesses of such former teammates as Willie Mays, Gaylord Perry, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal and Orlando Cepeda, but also legendary opponents like Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Stan Musial and Mickey Mantle.

“I’ve been blessed to have played with and against the finest in the game,” McCormick said. “I pitched in both leagues in the 1950s and ‘60s, an era I consider one of baseball’s best ever.”

Before continuing on his first-ever Hall of Fame visit, McCormick added, “It’s an incredible place. I would tell everybody that has an opportunity that this is the place to come.”

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

A “bench”-mark record

By Bill Francis

Working at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, you never know who you might bump into, whether it be a star or a journeyman. In this case, it was Jeff Manto, your prototypical journeyman, a ballplayer who spent time with eight different big league teams over a nine-year career.

But unlike most who have toiled at the end of a major league roster, Manto had one three-game stretch in which he accomplished something that few in the game can lay claim to. As a member of the Baltimore Orioles in 1995, Manto tied a major league record, joining such legendary names as Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Jimmie Foxx, Mike Schmidt, Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols, when he became the 20th player to hit four home runs in four consecutive at-bats.

Manto was awestruck when he and his family visited the Museum in November 1997 for another look at the bat he used for his rare feat, an artifact that at the time was on exhibit.

“I’ve got my youngest child with me and I want to make sure I get a picture with her with the bat,” said Manto some 14 years ago. “Plus, it’s nice to get away from home (the Philadelphia suburb of Langhorn) and Cooperstown is a great place to visit. We had a five-hour drive with the kids, but we lucked out and we had a van with videos, so we survived.”

According to Manto, currently the roving minor league hitting instructor for the Chicago White Sox, it was “truly humbling” when the Hall of Fame initially asked for the bat.

“In 1995 when the Hall of Fame called down to Baltimore to ask for the bat, I almost got goose bumps,” Manto recalled. “To be a part of the Hall of Fame, and to reach some kind of immortality in the game that you love, is something special that I’ll cherish for a long time. Hopefully, my family beyond me will cherish it also.”

While names like Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Cy Young and Nolan Ryan dominate the national pastime’s record book, it was great to see the look on the face of a utility player with 164 career hits, 31 homers and a .230 batting average who made the pilgrimage to Cooperstown in order to share his shining moment on the diamond with the ones closest to him.

More stories like this can be found in the Museum’s new exhibit, One for the Books: Baseball Records and the Stories Behind Them, which opens on Saturday.

Bill Francis is a Library Associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Building history

By Craig Muder

The player’s face was obscured by the in-progress construction of the Hall of Fame’s new One for the Books exhibit. But his chiseled lower body left little doubt about the man depicted holding a base over his head.

If there was any question about his identity, it was removed when the “1,406” came into view. As records go, Rickey Henderson’s stolen base mark may be one of the safest in all of baseball.

One for the Books: Baseball Records and the Stories Behind Them will feature the exploits of the stolen base king along with hundreds of other stories in an exhibit that will open May 28 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. One for the Books, located adjacent to Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream on the Museum’s third floor, will be the Hall’s most technologically advanced exhibit yet – allowing visitors an interactive experience as they learn the stories behind the game’s iconic records.

But at its heart, the exhibit is about the people who created these records through talent and determination. The Hall of Fame will welcome many of those record holders to Cooperstown May 28 for a special Voices of the Game program as part of the exhibit opening.

Henderson, elected to the Hall of Fame in 2009 after a career where set standards in stolen bases (1,406), unintentional walks (2,129) and runs (2,295), will join fellow Hall of Famers Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson, Joe Morgan and Cal Ripken Jr. on stage for the program.

Museum members can reserve seats, which cost $10 for adults and $5 for children, now by calling 607-547-0397. For more information about becoming a Museum member, click here.

Just 16 days till a historic exhibit opening – and a chance to listen to the stories behind that history – in Cooperstown. Until then, Rickey’s face may be hidden, but his story remains for all to see at the Hall of Fame.

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

Record builders

Carr_90.jpgBy Samantha Carr

Anyone who has ever purchased a piece of furniture and then couldn’t fit it through a door in their house knows that how you picture something isn’t always how it turns out.

02-03-11-Carr_OFTB.jpgSo on Thursday, a group of curators, exhibit designers and exhibit installers met on the third floor of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum to view a mockup of an interactive display that will appear in the One for the Books exhibit opening May 27-28 in Cooperstown.

The process is called prototyping. Essentially, the process includes using a placeholder for a piece of an exhibit to see what it will be like when the real thing arrives. This week, the curators created a panel that was the same shape and size with similar graphics as a new interactive display that will explain top 10 record holders in the exhibit.

“We can have great ideas on paper, but there is no substitute for bringing the ideas to the exhibit space and working out the details,” said Tom Shieber, senior curator at the Baseball Hall of Fame. “We have to make sure that something like this, that is interactive, functions but also attracts people, is useful to the user and for other visitors in the room.”

One for the Books will celebrate the sacred records of baseball and the stories behind them. The exhibit will be the most technologically advanced permanent exhibit in the Museum’s 71-year history. It will feature an interactive visitor experience with multi-media elements and be located on the second floor of the Museum in the Hank Aaron Gallery. For the first time in the Hall of Fame’s history, the Museum is inviting fans to help support an exhibit by honoring their favorite record holder.

02-03-11-Carr_Aaron.jpgWhille the Hall of Fame’s curatorial team prepares for the exhibit opening, design and aesthetic elements are very important. The process of prototyping allows the curators to see how an exhibit will interact with the space, lighting, and shape of the room. For instance, in the case of this interactive, some of the lighting trusses that attach to the ceiling and lights the exhibit will hang too low over the interactive and be in the way. The team will have to remove the grid directly in front or find another solution.

Many times this practice will not change the substance of an exhibit, like the artifact or information in it, but it can change how the artifact is presented. Everything from colors, lighting, shadows and pillars need to be taken into account so that the curators can determine how a visitor will see the exhibit best.

“This is really an easy, early way to get a feel for problems you may encounter in the exhibit,” said John Odell, curator of history and research at the Hall of Fame. “We can look at something on paper, or on a computer, but being in the space makes a big difference.”

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

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