Results tagged ‘ Hank Aaron ’

A perfect storm

Hayes_90.jpgBy Trevor Hayes

The White Sox can slug. Last season they hit 235 home runs, tops in the Majors and 21 ahead of the world champion Phillies. This season, they’ve hit 10 — tied for ninth at the moment, with the Rangers leading the way with 17 homers in this young season.

But Chicago has a fearsome heart of the order with Carlos Quentin, Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye and then Paul Konerko. And their bats are coming alive. Quentin deposited a pair of balls over the outfield wall at Comerica Park on Monday, and it was the team’s first four-homer game of 2009. They had 11 last year.

The story of Monday’s Tigers-White Sox game was, of course, two men making history by hitting their 300th career home runs in back-to-back at-bats. Dye and Konerko became the first teammates to reach a century milestone of at least 300 in the same game, let alone doing so in back-to-back fashion.

4-15-09-Hayes_KonerkoDye.jpgIt was the fifth time in Major League history that two men have reached a century milestone of at least 300 in the same day, and Thome has been involved in two of those events. The others are Mark McGwire (400) and Andres Galarraga (300) on May 8, 1998; Albert Belle (300) and Rafael Palmeiro (300) on July 17, 1998; Juan Gonzalez (400) and Thome (300) on June 5, 2002; and Thome (500) and Todd Helton on Sept. 16, 2007.

Thome, Dye and Koneko have been together since 2006 and are fairly well represented at the Hall of Fame. Dye’s jersey from Game 4 of his Most Valuable Player performance during the 2005 World Series is here, as are the jersey Thome wore when he hit his 400th career home-run on June 29, 2004, and his 500th home-run ball. In fact, Thome came to Cooperstown last August and presented the ball to the Hall’s chief curator, Ted Spencer.

Something to think about as the Sox home-run machine gets its engines turning is this: With Dye in right field, Konerko at first base and Thome as the designated hitter, the White Sox have 1,143 career home runs in their lineup between just three men. Of course dropping Dye or Konerko for Ken Griffey Jr. at the end of last 2008 considerably ups the total. Both Konerko and Dye ended 2008 with 298 and Thome ended with 541, while Griffey had 611 for an unreal total of 1,450 home runs. That kind of slugging is historic in nature.

An incomplete look at some of the great home-run hitting trios in baseball history turns up very few teams featuring a lineup with that much pop. I was only able to find one team that can overtake the current Sox. In 2006, the Yankees had Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi. Those three Bronx Bombers finished the season with a combined 1,269 career homers (Rodriguez at 464, Sheffield at 455 and Giambi at 350). The next season, Sheffield was traded to Detroit, breaking up the unit.

Many teams have come close. Mr. Cub’s Lovable Losers fall just short of their Windy City successors. In Hall of Famer Ernie Banks‘ final year, the North Siders had 1,131 career homers between their three top sluggers. Banks had 512, Hall of Famer Billy Williams had 319 and Ron Santo had 300.

Babe Ruth‘s final year with the Yankees, 1934, was another homer-happy squad, but even they can’t match the Sox mashers despite having three prominent Hall of Famers. With Ruth at 708 and Lou Gehrig at 348, the two sluggers had 1,056. Like many teams however, they fell short of finding a third player. Bill Dickey‘s 62 give the 1934 Yankees a combined 1,118 career home runs.

The 1971 Giants, featuring two Hall of Famers with a 40-year-old Willie Mays at 646 and Willie McCovey at 370, also had a young Bobby Bonds with 100 career homer runs, combining for a total of 1,116.

Eddie Murray played in Baltimore for many years and came back at the tail end of 1996 with 474 homers at the end of the season and teamed with Cal Ripken Jr. (353) and Palmeiro (233) for 1,060 total home runs. 

4-15-09-Hayes_MantleAaron.jpgThe ’04 Cubs had Slammin’ Sammy Sosa with 543, Moises Alou at 278 and Derrek Lee with 162 for a total of 983. That team also featured Aramis Ramirez with 127 at the time.

The hardest part of finding a team with over 1,000 career homers between three players is finding three prolific hitters at that point in their careers. 2009 inductee Jim Rice and Hall of Famers Carl Yastrzemski and Ted Williams all played in Boston and overlapped each other’s tenures, but they never played together that late in their careers.

The Milwaukee Braves of the late ’50s and ’60s were known for their slugging threesome. In 1962, the Braves featured Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews at 399, Hall of Famer and eventual home-run king Hank Aaron at 298 and Joe Adcock with 270 for a 967 total. Four years later, Adcock was gone, but by then Mathews (493) and Aaron (442) had come a long way. Felipe Alou’s 148 give the new threesome 935 homers in 1966.

Mickey Mantle ran into the same problem. He played with Joe DiMaggio as a youngster and Yogi Berra for a long period of time. By 1963, Mantle had 419 longballs, Berra had 358 and slugger Roger Maris contributed 214 for a total of 991.

It takes the perfect storm to put 1,143 career home runs into one lineup. Right now, the White Sox have it, and it’s fun to watch.

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

The picture of perfection

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

The pictures cover the full spectrum: from young man chasing his dream to veteran warrior chasing a ghost.

Those eyes — the eyes of Henry Aaron. They never stopped looking for greatness.

4-15-09-Muder_Aaron.jpgThe word “great” doesn’t begin to describe Aaron’s career, nor does it do justice to the Baseball Hall of Fame’s new exhibit Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream. Located on the Museum’s third floor in what was the Records Room, the exhibit is a worthy tribute to one of the game’s finest players.

From Aaron’s uniforms and bats — including those used to chase Babe Ruth‘s record of 714 home runs — to the brilliant photography, Museum visitors will be treated to a visual journey documenting Aaron’s Hall of Fame career on and off the diamond. It is a fitting tribute to a man who wore the crown of home-run king with grace, dignity and humility.

Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream opens April 25 at the Baseball Hall of Fame with an 11 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony. Click here for more information.

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

Artifacts tell the story

Strohl_90.jpgBy Erik Strohl

This time of year is extremely busy for the Curatorial Department at the Hall of Fame. Our busiest time of year is the offseason because come April and Opening Day, all of our new exhibits are either planned or well under way, and maintenance on existing exhibits must be done on a yearly basis.

3-20-09-Strohl_AutmnGlory.jpgAmong the many existing exhibits in need of updating in the offseason are: Autumn Glory, the exhibit focused on the World Series; the Records Room, which lists statistics of career and active record-holders in both pitching and hitting; and the Major League Baseball awards, featuring honors such as the Gold Glove and Cy Young Awards. We also do a fair amount of digital curatorial work, updating Hall of Famer databases and Web content.

We have a unique position as curators because when something is incorrect in our exhibits, our visitors let us know. That shows the passion that baseball fans have for the game and its history. Many fans come in and may be more knowledgeable than we are on a specific topic or team like the 1950s Cleveland Indians or the current state of Minor League franchises for the Chicago Cubs. The strength that our curatorial team has is a vast general knowledge as well as the resources at our fingertips to gain more information. Our fans always keep us on our toes to make sure our information is accurate and up to date.

The fun part about working at the Hall of Fame is you can go home and watch baseball on television and say it’s your job — because it is. So that is something that I will never get tired of. Sometimes you just have to sit back and smile because you get paid to do baseball.

In April, we will be opening Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream which will be a retrospective of his entire career. Up until this point, the only person who has had an entire exhibit dedicated in his honor had been Babe Ruth.

3-20-09-Strohl_Records Room.jpgThe exhibit will cover Aaron‘s youth, growing up playing baseball to his career in the Negro leagues with the Indianapolis Clowns and the Minor Leagues in Eau Claire (Wis.) and Jacksonville (Fla.). It will obviously look at his Major League career, which is what we have focused on in the past.

We will also cover his post-baseball career and really talk about his business and philanthropy efforts for the first time. Many people may not realize the impact Aaron has had both domestically and internationally since he retired. He really used the celebrity and iconic status that he earned as a player to make a larger difference off the field.

The artifacts in this exhibit are unbelievable. Most have been donated by Aaron himself — in fact 85-90 percent of the artifacts that will be on display come from Aaron. He has been extremely generous with us. All of his records, particularly the chasing of Babe Ruth’s career home-run record, will be covered extensively.

This new permanent exhibit will become a part of our new massive expansion of our Records Room over the next few years which will eventually be called the Hank Aaron Hall of Records. Permanent exhibits are really only changed every 10-20 years, so this is truly historic. Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream will open April 25.

Our second large-scale exhibit opening this year is °Viva Baseball!, slated to debut May 23. This is an exhibit we have been wanting to do, and its subject matter becomes more prevalent every year in the modern game. This is the story of Latinos in baseball and the impact on the game that Latinos have had.

It will be located in the second-floor timeline around the 1960s. It will be a room covering the history of baseball in most of the Latin-American countries where baseball is played as well as the cultural transition that baseball has had and the impact players have had on Major League Baseball today.

- For more from Erik, visit the Hall’s Official Blog at baseballhall.org.

Erik Strohl is the senior director of exhibits and collections at 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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