Results tagged ‘ Jeff Idelson ’

A Night of Baseball before Hitting the Road

By Brad Horn

Throughout the day on Saturday, a steady stream of visitors from around the island made their way to Guaynabo to see the Hall of Fame plaques of the four Puerto Rican Hall of Fame legends.

At the Museo de Deporte del Puerto Rico, thousands filed through all day, just waiting to catch a glimpse of the Cooperstown representations of their island heroes.

One Museo visitor, Hector from nearby Bayamon, came to see Orlando Cepeda’s plaque. Hector loves the Yankees and has long-followed another Puerto Rican baseball hero, Bernie Williams.

Following the public display at the Museo on Saturday night, the Hall of Fame team was treated to a night at the ballpark, as the Gigantes de Carolina hosted the Indios de Mayaguez in Puerto Rican Winter League action at Roberto Clemente Stadium.

The evening was arranged by Puerto Rican baseball historian and author Jorge Colon Delgado. A great friend to the Hall of Fame, Jorge has been one of the several islanders who made this experience seamless for us in Cooperstown.

Colon, one of the foremost historians on baseball in Puerto Rico and the statistician of the Puerto Rican Winter Leagues, has his fingers on the pulse of baseball on the island.

On Saturday night, he made our evening a very memorable experience, providing an inside look at baseball in the Caribbean leagues.

Upon arrival at the beautiful – and I mean truly beautiful – Roberto Clemente Stadium, a 12,000-seat treasure for the city of Carolina and the people of Puerto Rico, we headed right to the home clubhouse to see manager Edwin Rodriguez, who guided the Florida Marlins for the first half of the 2011 season.

Edwin, and his coaching staff of major league veterans, including Orlando Merced, Tome Cruz and others, were putting the final touches on their pre-game plan against Mayaguez, but took out time to share stories and pass along the plaque postcards of the four Puerto Rican Hall of Famers to their team.

Moments later, Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson was introduced and whisked to the mound to deliver the ceremonial first pitch. This was a very important moment to the people of Puerto Rico, as it marked the first time a representative from Cooperstown has thrown out a first pitch. As expected, without any preparation, Jeff displayed extreme coolness and confidence in delivering a strike to Carolina catcher Rene Rivera, who appeared in 27 games for the Minnesota Twins in 2011.

Both rosters were highlighted with current and former major league stars, ranging from Carolina’s Pedro Valdes, who is someone of a local icon in Carolina by virtue of playing for the same Carolina club for many years in a career that included stints in Texas and Seattle, to Brendan Harris, Hiram Boccachica, Alex Cintron and Jesus Feliciano, among others.

During the game, we were showered with kindness from the Giagantes staff, sampling the local fare including empanadillas, carne frittas and the Puerto Rican version of chicken tacos.

We left Carolina with a full diet of local fare and flair, resting for two days of travels, starting Sunday morning, with the visits of the plaques to Guayama, Salinas and Ponce still on tap for the next 36 hours.

We were so thankful to the kind people of Carolina for making our evening possible, especially to Hector, Guillermo, Angelica, Edwin and everyone we met. Thanks to Jorge and his ever-lasting kindness, the game provided the ultimate transition halfway through our journey.

Brad Horn is the senior director of communications and education at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Generations of Garveys connected to the game

By Trevor Hayes

With overcast days and rain for much of the last week in Cooperstown, the appearance of a player once known as “Mr. Clean” on Main Street was cause for Mother Nature to shape up and give the Home of Baseball a beautiful summer day.

Steve Garvey – the 19-year big league vet, 10-time All-Star and 1974 N.L. MVP – visited the Hall of Fame on Monday with his son Sean’s 12-and-under Little League traveling team, the Desert Longhorns.

“It’s always an honor to come to the ultimate sports Hall of Fame,” Garvey said. “To see its presentation of the sport is really something. I really do love just coming here and seeing the photos of Cy Young, Honus Wagner and the rest.”

Now considered a Dodger legend, Garvey played for LA from 1969 to 1982 before a five-year stint in San Diego. With an always-present respect for the game, Garvey set a National League record with 1,207 consecutive games played, hit .294 during his career and was a member of the 1981 World Champion Dodgers. With all his achievements, his youth growing up in awe of the game has carried to his adulthood.

“I’ve always seen myself as a historian of the game,” Garvey said. “I served as a batboy for Brooklyn in 1956, so I sat on a bench next to Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese and Carl Furillo. It has been fun to see the history of a team – that I am closely tied to – progress from Brooklyn to LA.”

Garvey, who is now 62 and 24 years removed from his playing days, keeps busy between his motivational speaking engagements, his brand management company Garvey Media Group and the advisory role he holds with the Dodgers. He also recently celebrated the high school graduation and Amateur Draft selection of his son Ryan, who was taken in the 15th round by the Phillies.

While in Cooperstown, Sean Garvey’s team met with Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson, who imparted the importance strong character and integrity on the Longhorns by pointing to Garvey and his 19 seasons in the bigs. When the team and parents started clapping and cheering, he quickly hushed them with a smile and a wave of the arms, not wanting the moment to be about him.

“It’s great for kids this age to see (the Hall),” he said. “I think it makes them better ballplayers. They get a sense of appreciation for the game’s history.”

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

Gonzalez shaping baseball’s stars of tomorrow

By Trevor Hayes

He doesn’t strike the average onlooker as a former Major Leaguer. But the impact Luis Gonzalez made on the game of baseball is unmistakable, his place in history is secure and – despite his unassuming looks – he is a recognizable figure for fans.

Fans know him as the offensive star of the 2001 World Champion Diamondbacks – the man with 57 home runs and the Game 7 game-winning hit off Mariano Rivera. They remember his 30 game-hitting streak (a bat from which resides in Cooperstown along with his Game 7 bat). In Arizona, he’s the first player to have his number retired and he’s now immortalized each during each D-backs home game as the racing Gonzo – a more than eight-foot tall caricature of the 19-year vet – that competes in against Mark Grace, Randy Johnson and Matt Williams.

This summer he’ll serve as the All-Star Game Ambassador when the Mid-Summer Classic heads to Chase Field in Phoenix. But on Monday, Gonzo sported a little gray stubble on his face and an Arizona T-Rex’s T-shirt while at the Hall of Fame with his son’s Little League team for the second straight year.

 

“There are a lot of hopes and dreams in baseball,” Gonzalez said. “That’s why it’s so exciting to bring the kids. It’s exciting to be able to show them your artifacts and show them you actually did something in the game.”

Gonzalez, his brother Rex and a former minor league teammate of Rex’s coach the T-Rexes who are competing in a weeklong tournament at nearby Cooperstown Dreams Park. Like last summer, Gonzalez and the T-Rexes met with Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson before touring the Museum.

Idelson briefed the team on the Hall’s history and purpose before telling them about the importance of character, integrity and good sportsmanship in baseball. After posing for a few photos with the young ballplayers, Idelson wished them luck for the remainder of their week in Cooperstown and told them to enjoy the Museum.

“It gives these young kids a chance to come out and see the history,” Gonzalez said. “When they leave here, it’s amazing to see how they appreciate everything. This is the history of the game and it means a lot to them.”

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

Hall Monitor: Crushing, Curses and the Killer

By Trevor Hayes

Things have settled down for me a bit with our publication season, which means the return of my favorite stat-based blog feature, the Hall Monitor. There’s been a lot already this season that has made 2011 special, including Braves icon Chipper Jones setting career marks by collecting his 1,500th RBI and passing Mickey Mantle on switch-hitters RBI leader board. We’ve had lots of great pitching, including two no-hitters – Francisco Liriano’s cap and game ball made it to the Hall earlier this week – and several near misses. So here’s what’s been going lately:

Giambi’s first three: Jason Giambi, the former Yankee-A’s All-Star slugger turned Rockies part-timer, collected his first three homer game last night to lead Colorado over Philly 7-1. Showing he’s still got some power in the tank, Giambi pulled a comparison to Stan the Man. Stan Musial at 41 years old is the oldest player to hit three home runs in a game, beating out Giambi, who at age 40 years, 131 days is now the second-oldest player to do it.

With 416 homers before Thursday’s contest, he also has the highest total before his fiDerek Jeterrst three homer game in Major League history aside from Babe Ruth, who had 522 career dingers before his first three home run performance. Coincidentally enough, Ruth also collected his first three home run game against Philadelphia – but playing in the AL, it was against the A’s not the Phillies.

Another feather in his cap: Derek Jeter likes hitting against the Birds and this week he added one more feat to his growing list of accomplishments on his journey to reach 3,000 hits. With career hit No. 300 against the Orioles, the Yankees captain became the first player with 300 hits against one franchise since Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn retired after the 2001 season. Mr. Padre had at least 300 against Atlanta, Cincinnati, Houston and San Francisco.

Fall Classic mixing and matching: Interleague Play, which begins tonight, always brings some interesting matchups, from the geographic rivals like the 2000 World Series Subway Series rematch of Mets-Yankees, the Bay Bridge Series re-matching the 1989 Fall Classic combatants in Oakland and San Francisco or the I-70 Series 1985 rematch of St. Louis and Kansas City.

But this year brings a rare pairing of the formerly cursed Red Sox hosting the still-cursed Cubs. The Northsiders will be back in Fenway for the first time since the 1918 World Series – which began a drought of 86 years without a title the following year. Saturday night will pair the two in throwback uniforms and several icons from the teams will be around Beantown like Bill Buckner

Mourning the Killer: The Hall of Fame and the baseball community lost a great man and an incredibly talented ballplayer this week with the passing of Harmon Killebrew. His funeral service was held today in Peoria, Ariz., with several Hall of Famers in attendance including 2011 Electee Bert Blyleven, Rod Carew, Paul Molitor, Robin Yount, Frank Robinson and Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson. Next Thursday, Twins fans will have their chance to show their love for Killebrew with a public Memorial Service at Target Field in Minnesota starting at 7 p.m.

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

Election excitement

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

It’s January in Secaucus, N.J., so you wouldn’t figure the air would be buzzing with baseball talk.

But at MLB Network studios on Wednesday, the atmosphere was electric as Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson prepared to announce the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Class of 2011.

01-05-11-Muder_MLBNetwork.jpgThe Network brought out its heavy hitters for the announcement, with Bob Costas, Harold Reynolds and Peter Gammons headlining a star-studded cast of announcers and analysts. For the better part of an hour prior to the 2 p.m. Magic Hour, everyone — talent, producers and crew — speculated about the results of the BBWAA vote.

For folks accustomed to making the chaos of a live TV show run like clockwork, it might have been the most exciting and nervous hour of the year.

Once the announcement came that Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven were elected to Cooperstown, everyone shifted into overdrive — filling the air with stats, highlights and predictions for 2012 and beyond. MLB Network’s Barry Larkin, who received the most votes (361, 62.1 percent) of any player not elected, was hooked up via satellite and magnanimously said what an honor it was just to be on the ballot.

This time next year, Barry may be making quite a different on-air speech.

Now, the Network starts its planning for the July 24 Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown — carried live on MLBN. It’s an incredible weekend — the best one on the baseball calendar.

But you get the feeling that the folks at MLBN now understand what news reporters already know: There’s nothing quite like the magic of Election Day.

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

Going Gonzo for Cooperstown

Carr_90.jpgBy Samantha Carr

Winning a World Series is the goal of every major league player from the time they enter the big leagues. Luis Gonzalez not only has a ring, but helped his team in dramatic fashion with a walk-off hit in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series against the premier closer of his generation, the Yankees’ Mariano Rivera.

 
07-28-10-Carr-GonzalezLuis.jpgThe 2001 World Series was special because it was the Diamondbacks’ first and the first ever to be played in Arizona – but more so because it came two months after the September 11th attacks.

“There was so much going on in the world at that time that baseball was a release for people. Especially being played in New York where the attacks took place. They could forget about all the trouble and enjoy America’s Pastime,” said Gonzalez, who is in Cooperstown this week coaching his son Jacob’s travel team at Cooperstown Dreams Park.

“Gonzo” donated the bat he used from that 2001 game to the Hall of Fame, and it is on display in the Autumn Glory exhibit on the third floor of the Museum.

“It was dramatic, in Game 7 and definitely a memorable World Series,” he said.

Gonzalez’s team is 5-1 so far this week – and the players visited the Museum on Wednesday after meeting Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson, who gave them a sneak peak at one of the newest Hall acquisitions – the cap Arizona’s Edwin Jackson wore during his June 25 no-hitter.

Gonzalez retired in 2009, and he will have his number retired by the Diamondbacks on Aug. 7 – the first player to receive that honor.

“I’ve been enjoying my time coaching my son and taking the team to Cooperstown,” Gonzalez said. “It is great to take them through the Museum so they can dream – just as I did as a kid.”

Gonzalez will be eligible for Hall of Fame election in 2014 and with five All-Star appearances, 354 home runs, 596 doubles (15th on the all-time list) and a lifetime .283 batting average over 19 seasons he is likely to get some consideration.

“The Hall of Fame is every kid’s dream when you start playing baseball,” said Gonzalez. “You just hope that I did as much as I could in the game, that I helped with community service and that I did enough on and off the field.”

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.

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