Results tagged ‘ Induction Weekend ’

SABR Day in Cooperstown

By Jim Gates

The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) celebrated its annual National SABR Day on Saturday, Jan. 28, with local chapters holding meetings throughout North America. The Baseball Hall of Fame recognized the work of this organization by hosting a meeting of the Cliff Kachline Chapter in the Hall of Fame’s Bullpen Theater.

Chapter president Jeff Katz opened the meeting with some general business items, including a discussion of how to promote the summer meeting which occurs every year on the Sunday evening of Induction Weekend. The chapter will try to set up a tent to hand out information that weekend. The meeting is open to all, and interested parties should drop by the tent to learn more. Research presentations were then delivered by chapter members.

The presentations included one from Professor Jon Arakaki of the State University of New York-Oneonta, who has been conducting research on the appearance of baseball on the covers of Sports Illustrated from 1954 to date. He has examined 3,299 covers for which 605 or 18.3 percent are baseball related, only five of which do not concern the major leagues. Of all the baseball covers, appearances were broken down by person, team, race and gender. The most revealing numbers relate to the breakdown by race. 

During the 1950s, 88% of Sports Illustrated covers were related to Caucasians, 9% to African-Americans, and 3% to Hispanics. By the 1990s these figures had changed to 55% for Caucasians, 28% for African-American, and 16% for Hispanics. This data served to support Arakaki’s general conclusions that these magazine covers mirror our culture and represent what is a hot topic, and that they also serve to suggest who wields cultural influence at any time.

Anyone seeking additional information on the Society of American Baseball Research can check out their web site, www.sabr.org, and anyone interested in becoming involved in baseball research should consider becoming a member.  The next meeting of the Cliff Kachline Chapter will be Sunday evening, July 22nd.

Jim Gates is the Librarian at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Baseball’s Happiest Place on Earth

By Trevor Hayes

I spent most of my morning chatting with MLB.com’s Marty Noble at the MLBPAA Skills Clinic at Doubleday Field.

As we walked the field, it was filled with smiling faces. The kids were having a wonderful time as they moved from station to station interacting with and learning from Jim Hannan, Jon Warden, John Doherty, Don Demola, Steve Grilli and the other MLB Player Alumni on the field. Many of these MLBPAA alumni had retired even before these kids were born, but for the kids, each of the players was a star.

Several former All-Stars were also instructors. Rick Wise and Bill “Spaceman” Lee were working on pitching mechanics in the right field corner. Dave Henderson – wearing his large gold World Series ring from 1989 – was talking hitting in shallow center.

“Always remember that Dave Henderson taught you to kiss each shoulder,” he’d say, showing the proper follow through of a swing. Before long though, his station always became baseball chatter. It was a chance for him to talk with the younger generation about the game, moving from Derek Jeter’s chance at 3,000 to dealing with making an out (“You’re going to make them, because the game has to end sometime.”) to showing off his ring – to the delight of many of the youngsters who’d never seen one.

One young ballplayer in Grilli’s base running station may have summed up the atmosphere best. Grilli said, “We’re in Cooperstown, but what is Cooperstown?” One youngster quickly shouted out “It’s baseball!”

Truly baseball was alive at Doubleday this morning and it’s as vibrant as the pop of all the mitts in Doherty’s catch station – where players worked the basics of throwing and catching a ball. “We’re working on playing catch instead of playing fetch,” he’d say before each of the groups began.

Once the clinic ended, each young ballplayer got one last chance to shake hands with the Major Leaguers before getting a sheet with their autographs. While we watched the kids go through the line, Noble started laughing. I asked him what he was laughing about and he said, “One of the kids just gave you guys a great marketing line. He said, ‘This place is like Disneyland for baseball.’”

That’s what Cooperstown feels like during the summer, especially during our big events like Classic and Induction Weekend. It’s Disneyland for baseball fans.

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

Path to Cooperstown

Carr_90.jpgBy Samantha Carr

Despite playing his entire 16-year career in Boston with the Red Sox, Hall of Famer Jim Rice grew up in Anderson, S.C. – and is more accustomed to the quiet life in the South.

So this week’s trip to Cooperstown proved the perfect mini-vacation for the Class of 2009 Hall of Famer.

“It is a great time of the year to come to Cooperstown because it is laid back,” Rice said Tuesday before the 28th Annual Otesaga Hotel Seniors Open and Pro-Am Golf Tournament at Leatherstocking Golf Course in Cooperstown. “It’s not as fast-paced as Induction Weekend. You can come here and play a round of golf.”

09-07-10-Carr_Rice.jpgRice is serving as the celebrity host for the Pro-Am, while top pros from around the country will compete in the Seniors Open, which runs Wednesday through Friday, Sept. 8-10. The Seniors Open continues to be known as one of the country’s premier non-PGA tournaments.

“I played here two or three times when I was with the Red Sox,” said Rice, who also played the course during Hall of Fame Weekend 2009, when he received his bronze plaque.

Proceeds from the traditional post-Labor Day event benefit Pathfinder Village, located in nearby Edmeston, a residential community dedicated to children and adults with Down syndrome.

“I went to visit Pathfinder Village yesterday,” said Rice. “We were talking about Down syndrome, but there is no ‘down’ syndrome. There is no worry. All they want is love. They are baseball fans and NASCAR fans. They just want to blend in.”

Pathfinder Village opened in 1980 with seven homes and a school. Since then, the Village has added more homes and programs, all with the goal of providing fulfillment for those who have Down syndrome.

“It is more of an adult situation,” said Rice. “The residents cook and clean and have responsibilities and really learn to be apart of society in their own environment. What they are doing over there is outstanding. I think if you go over there you will really appreciate what this tournament is all about.”

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

Team Dawson comes to Cooperstown

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

Vanessa Dawson watched carefully Tuesday as her husband toured the Baseball Hall of Fame, preparing herself for a hectic Induction Weekend less than three months away.

05-05-10-Muder_Dawson.jpgBut during a film retrospective of her husband’s career, the enormity of it all set in.

The stoic and regal Andre Dawson, one of the game’s leading citizens for more than three decades, took his Orientation Tour on Tuesday in preparation for his July 25 induction. Dawson, who spent 21 big league seasons with the Expos, Cubs, Red Sox and Marlins, was making his fourth-ever visit to the Hall of Fame – but this time he arrived as an electee. Hall of Fame officials spent the morning preparing Andre and Vanessa for what is to come in July, then showed the Dawsons the Museum in the afternoon.

At the end of the tour, Andre and Vanessa were treated to a video summary of his career, complete with commentary from other Hall of Famers. When the lights went up, Vanessa was moved to tears – overwhelmed by the tribute to her Hall of Fame husband.

“I was driven by discipline that was instilled in me through women who were my mentors – being my mother (Mattie Brown), my grandmother (Eunice Taylor) and then my wife,” Andre Dawson said.

That discipline brought Andre Dawson the 1977 National League Rookie of the Year Award, the 1987 NL MVP Award, eight Gold Gloves for his play in the outfield and eight All-Star Game selections. And now, it has brought him to Cooperstown.

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

Guide to success

Selover_90(2).jpgBy Whitney Selover

While it seems as though the winter just won’t end outside, inside my office it feel like the summer season is just around the corner.

Yesterday, I finished preparing the official Hall of Fame Weekend Inductee Guides. Once our class of inductees is complete, I get started pulling together what becomes the Inductee’s and their family’s HOFW bible. The binder that Doug Harvey, Whitey Herzog and Andre Dawson will receive today contains everything they need to know about the July 23-26 Hall of Fame Weekend in Cooperstown.

02-19-10-Selover_DawsonHarveyHerzog.jpgInductees are major superstars on the baseball diamond, but they are much like us when it comes to things off the field. They need to know what to expect, where they will be staying, who can come with them to the events, when they should arrive/depart, what to wear and where they need to be – and the one-inch binder arriving on their doorstep today will answer all of those questions.

Being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame is the highest honor a baseball player can achieve, but put yourself in their shoes for a minute. Take a quick second and look at your life: In your career, how many people have you worked with, how many people work for you now, how many people have influenced your career? Socially, how many people are you friends with (including Facebook!)? How many people are in your softball league, make up your neighborhood, are in your parish, share your love for volunteering at the SPCA? Personally, how many people make up your family, your extended family (don’t forget those 3rd cousins!), your wife’s family, those friends that feel like family? Take that number and multiply it by 100 and that is the number of people that want to join Doug, Whitey and Andre on their big day in Cooperstown in July. Imagine trying to sort through, make accommodations for, provide tickets to, and ensure a great vacation come July, for all those people on your list! Well, that is where I come in.

02-19-10-Selover_InductionLineup.jpgAs the director of special events at the Hall of Fame, I am fortunate to work with every inductee and help ease the pressures of being the “host.” Over the next couple of months, not only will I answer the “what do I wear” for Doug, Whitey and Andre but I will answer it for the hundreds of family and friends who come along for the ride. Organizing their “list” becomes a personal and intimate process for every inductee. Ask any Hall of Fame Member and they will tell you that their Induction Ceremony is one of the top moments in their lives. Making sure the people who have been there since Little League, or the ones that helped them break into the majors, or the ones that gave them just what they needed to get through a slump or overcome an injury, or the ones who believed in them through thick and thin… Helping those people witness the big day is my job.

Even thought I work at the Baseball Hall of Fame, I do not claim to be a baseball expert, but I’m fairly certain that Doug, Whitey or Andre didn’t become one of baseball’s elite with the help of a binder – nor did the process begin when FedEx showed up. But then again, we’re just trying to plan for Hall of Fame Weekend, not a Hall of Fame Member career.

If we were, I bet even Staples doesn’t carry binders that could plan for careers as gigantically successful, overwhelmingly influential and exceptionally outstanding as Doug, Whitey or Andre’s. And that, my friends, is why they make up the Induction Class of 2010.

Whitney Selover is the director of special events and travel at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

History comes alive

Hayes_90.jpgBy Trevor Hayes

Several of today’s stars continued to carve out a bit of history for themselves this week alongside some notable Hall of Famers.
 

9-11-09-Hayes_MusialRoberts.jpgDoubled-Up:
With double No. 50 Wednesday, Brian Roberts became the fourth player with three or more 50-double seasons. Hall of Famers Stan Musial and Paul Waner each did it three times while Hall of Famer Tris Speaker did it five times. Including his 51 last season, Roberts has put together his second straight 50-double season, putting him in an elite club with nine players – including three Hall of Famers: Speaker, Joe Medwick and Billy Herman.

On the subject of doubles, the same night Roberts got 50, the Royals Billy Butler hit three doubles in a game for fourth time this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Butler’s binge is unprecedented. No player has had four three-double games in a season dating back to 1901.

Quick Hit: A lot has been written about Derek Jeter tying Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig on the Yankees hits list. But one note that might slip by is that Jeter is now the fourth active player to hold his franchise’s all-time hits mark. Ivan Rodriguez returned to Texas earlier this season, where he has the most hits in Senators/Rangers club history. The other two all-time franchise leaders for the team they currently play for are Colorado’s Todd Helton and Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford.
 
Doc and the Babe: The Yankees might not like Roy Halladay very much. Most recently he stopped their seven-game winning streak with a one-hitter, but the Blue Jays’ ace has always been tough against the Bombers. He holds a .739 winning percentage against the Yankees with a 17-6 record. The only man better than him (min. 20 decisions) made his name as a hitter in New York. However, as a pitcher in Boston, future Hall of Famer Babe Ruth went 17-5 (.773) against his eventual team.
 
9-11-09-Hayes_McCoy.jpgSlugging shortstops: Hanley Ramirez connected for the 100th home run of his career on Sunday, making him the fourth-fastest shortstop to reach the century mark. At 595 games, only Alex Rodriguez (470 games), Nomar Garciaparra (491) and Hall of Famer Ernie Banks (500) got there faster.

Goodbye to the Real McCoy: Longtime Reds beat writer Hal McCoy will be honored Wednesday prior to Cincinnati’s game against the Astros. The 2002 J.G. Taylor Spink winner announced earlier this season he will be retiring after 37 years covering the Reds. As a special treat, McCoy’s paper, Dayton Daily News, is sponsoring half-price tickets to the game.

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

Sun shines on Induction Weekend

Idelson_90.jpgBy Jeff Idelson

Another Hall of Fame Weekend is in the books and by all accounts, it was a rousing success. Our staff was well prepared and ready to assure that each and every guest – from the returning Hall of Famers to the invited guests to the 21,000 fans who support the game we all love so much by attending the Induction – had the best possible experience possible.

7-29-09-Idelson_Berra.jpgEach year our staff agrees to control everything we can to assure success and be as prepared as humanly possible for elements we can’t. For the past five or six years, the weather patterns have been suspect and we have yet to have a completely dry four consecutive days of Hall of Fame Weekend. 

A few years ago, I was sitting on the back porch of the Otesaga on Friday morning of Hall of Fame Weekend in rocking chairs with Yogi Berra. He looked at me and said, “Hey Jeff, how come it rains a little bit on Hall of Fame Weekend all the time?” I explained Cooperstown is nestled between two mountain ranges – the Catskills and Adirondacks – and situated at the base of nine mile-long Otesgo Lake, making weather somewhat unpredictable. “Why don’t you move Hall of Fame Weekend to a different one when it’s not raining?” he said. I scratched my head, had a sip of coffee, and scratched my head again. End of conversation.

Mother Nature has a pretty good streak of being kind to us. Sure, we get some serious snow in the winter and spring can be cool. But when the chips are down (Hall of Fame Weekend), she is as interested in seeing the stars shine as much as we do. We’ve not had to move ceremony inside since 1990.

This year, it rained most of Friday, but Mother Nature gave us windows of decent weather when it mattered most, allowing us to stage our two Doubleday Field events – Play Ball with Ozzie Smith in the morning, and our Legends for Youth Skills Clinic.  

7-29-09-Idelson_Boggs.jpgSaturday was beautiful all day – cool and dry. The Hall of Fame golf tournament proceeded seamlessly, the annual New York-Penn League game was played without a hint of delay, and fans could leisurely walk Main Street and enjoy all the village of Cooperstown has to offer. It sprinkled for just a few minutes before our version of Hollywood’s Walk of Fame – the annual Red Carpet Ceremony where the game’s living legends arrive at the Hall of Fame by trolley for an evening reception.

Sunday, on the other hand, was dicey, as rain clouds threatened from the minute I woke at 7 a.m.  By 11 a.m, we were monitoring Doppler Radar and beginning to run through the various “what if” scenarios. 

Each year we prepare four versions of the Induction Ceremony with the ultimate goal, to stay outdoors for every fan to enjoy. The versions include (1) regular run of show; (2) delay; (3) reverse order with elements cut, and; (4) indoors. The final version, not needed since 1990, only comes into play when the weather dictates the potential for disaster, such as lightening or hail.

The forecast looked ominous at 12:30 p.m, as Hall of Fame Chairman Jane Clark, security chief Evan Chase and I looked at the various forecasts. The weather was OK enough to not have to go indoors, but it was going to deteriorate as the day progressed, so going to a delay was not an option either. We made the decision to go with the “reverse order” ceremony, which is why we started with the inductees and ended with the award winners. Thankfully, our new broadcast partner, the MLB Network, was able to air the ceremony live, in its entirety.

7-29-09-Idelson_HendersonRice.jpgAs we boarded buses at 1 p.m to head from the Otesaga Resort Hotel to the Clark Sports Center, we knew we might get pelted with rain. The forecast was showing a large rain cell in Binghamton, N.Y., south and west of Cooperstown, and heading directly toward us. We knew there was a good chance of a soaking rain around 2 p.m, but with the unpredictability of central New York weather, there was reason to hope.

Well, Mother Nature must not be a very good bowler, as she delivered a 7-10 split.  The winds starting howling and some light rain ensued, but the storm split, as it does sometimes, going north and south of us and leaving us dry for the Ceremony.

We were able to complete the Induction, but as I looked out the window from the Hall of Fame members’ dinner that evening, I saw sheets of rain streaming down on the lake. I was glad we made the right call.

Mother Nature got it out of her system. Monday was gorgeous as the Weekend concluded with our annual Legends Series event with our new inductees, Rickey and Jim.

And for the 19th consecutive year, Mother Nature did her part. Maybe we should give her a plaque.

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

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