Results tagged ‘ Mike Mussina ’

Cooperstown credentials

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

When all-time saves king Trevor Hoffman announced his retirement on Wednesday, it marked the end of a brilliant career.

It also started the clock running on his Hall of Fame candidacy, which is scheduled to begin in 2016.

01-12-11-Muder_Hoffman.jpgIt seems like a long time from now. But by the time we reach fifth United States presidential election of the new millennium, the Hall of Fame may be in the midst of a historic run of inductees.

Since the Baseball Writers’ Association of America began electing Hall of Fame candidates in 1936, 44 players have won election in their first year of eligibility. This includes the first five of Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner in 1936, but does not represent the elections of Lou Gehrig (elected by acclimation) in 1939 or Roberto Clemente (elected by special election) in 1973.

Starting in 1936, the BBWAA has conducted 68 Hall of Fame elections. And only once – 1989-90 – have at least two first-ballot candidates been elected in back-to-back years. Those elections featured Johnny Bench and Carl Yastrzemski in 1989, followed by Joe Morgan and Jim Palmer in 1990.

But beginning in 2013, the BBWAA could easily select multiple first-ballot candidates in four straight elections.

Two years from now, the Hall of Fame ballot will feature players like Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza and Curt Schilling for the first time. The following year, in 2014, Tom Glavine, Jeff Kent, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina and Frank Thomas will debut on the ballot.

01-12-11-Muder_Hoffman2.jpgIn 2015, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz are all eligible for the first time. And in 2016, Hoffman will join Ken Griffey Jr. on the ballot.

Since the selection of the first class, the 1999 election marked the only time as many as three first-ballot candidates were elected in the same year. In that time, only seven other elections (1962, 1982, 1989, 1990, 2001, 2004, 2007) featured as many as two first-ballot electees.

But with the above list featuring the likes of four 300-game winners, three members of the 500-home run club, a member of the 3,000-hit club and the all-time saves leader, we could see a couple years with three-or-more electees and as many as four years with multiple enshrines.

Predicting the BBWAA vote is never easy. But the talent set to become Hall of Fame-eligible in the next five years in undeniable.

As for 2017 and beyond, consider the likes of Chipper Jones, Mariano Rivera, Ivan Rodriguez, Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel – all of whom are likely to retire in the next few seasons. The streak could easily reach five or six years with multiple first-ballot electees.

Bottom line: Baseball was filled with shining stars in the 1990s and 2000s. And thanks to those players, Cooperstown is going to be one busy place this decade.

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

California dreams, Cooperstown memories

Carr_90.jpgBy Samantha Carr

After 34 successful years as head coach of the Stanford University baseball team, it’s still all about the dream for Mark Marquess.

“When you are in the backyard and playing ball pretending to by Mickey Mantle or A-Rod, you dream to be a major league player – and I get these kids on their path to that dream,” Marquess said Thursday during a visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

07-08-10-Carr_Marquess1.jpgMarquess and his wife, Susan, were visiting their youngest daughter, Maureen, in Manhattan, and they decided to make their first trip to Cooperstown.

“If you are a baseball fan, and even if you’re not, it’s just so American,” said Marquess. “The Museum is a special place, and the town is so quaint, we could stay here for a week.”

A Stanford alum, Marquess played baseball and football during his college days. An All-American first baseman, he was drafted by the White Sox and spent four seasons in their system before returning to his alma mater as an assistant coach. Five years later, he took over the team and since has posted a 1,356-694-7 record. That puts him in the top 10 in NCAA Division-I baseball history in wins.

He has led the team to two NCAA Championships and is a member of the Stanford University Athletic Hall of Fame and the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame. He is a three-time NCAA Coach of the Year recipient. He has also served as President of USA Baseball and earned a Gold Medal as the head coach of the 1988 U.S. Olympic Team.

“Baseball is still our National Pastime, but it is very much becoming a world game,” said Marquess. “You travel to Latin American countries and some of those kids don’t have much, but they are playing baseball.”

Susan Marquess is a counselor at St. Francis High School in Palo Alto, Calif., and each year sees kids that dream of being a major league player, but are taking the steps of going to college and getting an education too.

07-08-10-Carr_Marquess2.jpg“I think the exposure of the College World Series is helping a lot,” she said. “It becomes part of the dream.”

Division I baseball is very competitive, but unlike at the professional level, a coach’s job is not just win games.

“The difference is teaching,” said Marquess. “These kids are bright and can do so many things, but their focus is to be a major league player. I need to make sure they are getting an education and on track to graduate.”

Marquess has taught players like Mike Mussina, who achieved their dream that began as a kid on a diamond. But the percentage of players who see that kind of success in the game is small.

“It is just as rewarding for me, and sometimes more so when a second-string player who is now a successful heart surgeon comes back and donates money to our program because of his memories at Stanford. They don’t make their dream, but it is a different kind of reward.”

Susan is already making plans to come back to Cooperstown and bring their four grandkids with them. And after 34 years of coaching, I don’t doubt that Marquess will pass on his passion for the game to the next generation.

“Being here,” Marquess said, “reminds you of the dream.”

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

2014 could mean a Brave New World in Cooperstown

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

The Class of 2014 might just mean a Brave New World at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Former Braves and Mets ace Tom Glavine officially announced his retirement on Thursday, ending stellar 22-year big league career. Glavine did not pitch at the major league level in 2009, meaning he will be eligible for Hall of Fame consideration in 2014.

02-11-10-Muder_Glavine.jpgThe numbers indicate Glavine will get strong support.

One of just 24 300-game winners in Major League Baseball history, Glavine finishes with a record of 305-203. He won two Cy Young Awards (1991 and 1998), was named to 10 All-Star Games and posted 20-or-more wins in five seasons – leading the National League lead win victories in all five years.

In the postseason, Glavine won 14 games and was the World Series MVP in 1995 when the Braves defeated the Indians in the Fall Classic.

Glavine joins a star-studded roster of players who will be eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time in 2014. Former Braves teammate Greg Maddux, who won 355 games, is scheduled to be on the 2014 BBWAA ballot – setting up the possibility of a Braves reunion in Cooperstown.

Other candidates who are slated to become eligible in 2014 include two-time American League Most Valuable Player Frank Thomas, 270-game winner Mike Mussina and Jeff Kent, the all-time home run leader among second basemen.

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

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