Results tagged ‘ Plaque Gallery ’

Baseball Credited with the Save

Carr_90.jpgBy Samantha Carr

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Even during America’s darkest days, baseball provides a little light.

9-11-09-Carr_Seigel.jpgOn Friday, Sept. 11, newlyweds Jason and Jody Seigel visited the Baseball Hall of Fame as part of their honeymoon. The date could not have been more significant for Jason.

During their visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Seigels were wearing shirts to honor victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

“We try to wear these shirts once a year on this date to remember what happened on 9-11. For me, it always feels like I got a second chance at life that day. I lost about 23 friends in those attacks,” said Jason.

Back in 2001, Jason was asked to be the best man at a friend’s wedding. He was living in North Carolina at the time, and planned to travel to the New Jersey area for the wedding. As a Mets fan, Seigel thought it would be fun to catch a ballgame with his friend – who is a Phillies fan – as a bachelor party-type celebration of the wedding.

“We decided the two of us would go to the Labor Day game between the Phillies and the Mets (in Philadelphia),” said Seigel.

9-11-09-Carr_Crowd.jpgDespite having seats just a few rows from the third base line, Jason’s friend had to miss the game due to a scheduling conflict.

“So without hesitating, I thought of all the games my dad took me to as a child and decided it was time to pay my dad back with a trip to the ballpark,” said Seigel.

On Sept. 3, 2001, Jason and his dad watched as the Mets beat the Phillies 10-7.

“We had a great day, we spoke to each other as two adults do, talking not only as father and son, but also as two dads. We discussed our jobs, our marriages and we drank in every moment of the close game.”

During the game, Seigel found out from work that he’d be back up north in a week for a business meeting in New York City. His dad suggested instead of making two trips to try and hold the meeting a week early and save himself the time.

“The baseball game we watched had made me feel very close to my dad, and put me back in a place I used to be as a child – taking advice from him as if he could do no wrong by giving it,” said Seigel.

9-11-09-Carr_Piazza.jpgSeigel took the advice and arranged plans with his boss to hold the client meetings the following day – Tuesday, Sept. 4.

“So you see, if I had not gone to the game with my father, and took his advice, I would have been in (World Trade Center) Tower One at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, and not a week earlier on Sept. 4.”

Jason will never forget how baseball saved his life.

“For me, baseball was always an island of peace when I was growing up. I’d go to the game with my dad and we’d just talk about baseball, not about school or what I might have done wrong that day. Just baseball. It is still an island of peace for me.”

Samantha Carr is media relations coordinator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Phillies fans celebrate World Series title in Cooperstown

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

6-27-09-Muder_Ring.jpgLarry Shenk has seen his share of fanatic Phillies fans. But Shenk, the longtime head of the Phillies communications department and now a team vice president, couldn’t help but be impressed with the turnout on Saturday in Cooperstown.

“It’s great to look out and see all that Phillies red,” said Shenk, who was in Cooperstown on Saturday to present a 2008 World Series ring to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “It was eight months ago today, Oct. 27, when the Phillies clinched the World Series title. And we’d like to come back and do this again next year.”

6-27-09-Muder_Trophy.jpgThe overflow crowd in the Museum’s Autumn Glory exhibit cheered Shenk’s proclamation, then took turns taking pictures of the ring Shenk presented to Hall of Fame Senior Vice President Bill Haase. The ring will become part of the Museum’s collection and will soon be displayed in the Museum’s Autumn Glory exhibit, which is dedicated to baseball’s postseason.

After the presentation, Shenk and his wife Julie — who wore her World Series pendant, given to player’s and executive’s wives — walked down to see the 2008 World Series trophy, which is on display at the Hall of Fame through Sunday, June 28.

“This is the 10th state we’ve brought the trophy to since we won it,” Shenk said. “But it’s the first time we’ve had it in New York. I think it was safer to bring it to Cooperstown, New York, than Flushing, New York — with all those Mets fans there.”

Museum visitors can view the 2008 World Series trophy until 5 p.m. on Saturday and then from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The chance to see the World Series trophy is included with regular Museum admission.

Craig Muder is director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
6-27-09-Muder_Crowd.jpg

Golf and Baseball

Hayes_90.jpgBy Trevor Hayes

On Saturday, I met up with Michael Walker, the senior editor of Golf Magazine. He was in town for the weekend to hit the links and crush a few at the Leatherstocking Golf Course while taking in the scenic and blossoming village of Cooperstown and its three renowned museums: The Fenimore Art Museum, the Farmers’ Museum and of course the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Walker is a Medfield, Mass. native and which is just under 45 minutes from 4 Yawkey Way – the address of Fenway Park and the home of the Boston Red Sox. When I asked him to get his picture taken in the Plaque Gallery, he mentioned Ted Williams, then Carlton Fisk. As we walked through the gallery, I motioned to Williams plaque and asked him if he preferred Fisk over Williams as his favorite Hall of Famer.

5-19-09-Hayes_Walker.jpg“I think for me it would have to be Williams for what he meant to the city.”

Like most Sox fans, conversation about the team quickly steered to present day and the success the team has seen this decade. Walker had said he hadn’t been to the Museum since 2001, so I asked if he knew we had Curt Schilling’s bloody sock. His face lit up. I could tell he was suddenly reliving the 2004 World Series again.

“Has it been tested for ketchup like all those Yankees fans claim?” he joked. “I can’t wait to see everything from 2004. For me baseball has changed so much since I was here in ’01.”

As a baseball guy talking to a golf guy, I had to ask, what’s the allure of golf to ballplayers?

“I think pitchers for whatever reason are usually the best; it’s that pitching motion that is similar,” Walker said. “I mean, (Red Sox pitcher John) Smoltz plays with Tiger (Woods). Pitchers and hockey players are always good and I think it’s because the swing is so similar to what they did in their sport.
 
“It seems like all ex-jocks, when they can’t compete any more in their sport take up golf so they can compete in something,” he said. “You see all these Pro-Am’s and they are just filled with former ballplayers.”
 
Walker told me that he had a buddy who played in a group of four with Tim Wakefield, but he’d never played with any big name baseball players. Then as if to further make his point about golf and baseball, Walker mentioned that he saw 2009 Hall of Fame electee Jim Rice out on the course earlier that morning.

“I haven’t really played with any guys, but meeting Rice this morning out on the course, that was something else.”

The natural question after he said he’d met Rice, was if he’d be back later this summer for Induction? Walker said he didn’t think he’d be able to make it this year, but true to his 2004 dedication, he said there is one ballplayer he won’t miss.

“My brother and I were talking and I think for Pedro (Martinez) – when it happens – we’ll come back.”

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

Henderson right at home at Hall of Fame

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

With his back to plaques of some of the most famous players in baseball history, Rickey Henderson sat down and was immediately confronted with microphones, flash bulbs and notepads. But if he had been any more relaxed, you’d have thought he was on his couch at home.

Fitting, since the Man of Steal was always most composed in the midst of utter chaos on the baseball diamond. It was Henderson — and his singular baserunning ability — who always made others nervous

5-8-09-Muder_Rickey.jpgHenderson and his wife Pamela came to Cooperstown on Friday for his orientation tour. With only 11 weeks until his July 26 induction into the Hall of Fame, Henderson had a chance to visit the Museum and learn what to expect during the weekend that will be the crown jewel of his record-setting career.

“It’s great to see all the history here,” Henderson said. “I think you don’t feel it until you get here.”

His tour completed, Henderson held court with the media — recounting stories and reflecting on his accomplishments. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in January on his first appearance on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot — garnering almost 95 percent of the vote.

As the career leader in runs (2,295) and stolen bases (1,406), Henderson’s election was no surprise. But the minute the call came this winter, Henderson’s life changed forever.

I’m going to spend the next few weeks doing what I’ve been doing since January: Preparing for Hall of Fame Weekend,” Henderson said. “It’s only going to happen once, so I’m going to enjoy it.”

Henderson will join Jim Rice and Joe Gordon as the Class of 2009 at the Hall of Fame. For more details on Hall of Fame Weekend — including the free Induction Ceremony — visit www.baseballhall.org.

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

Jackie Robinson Day

Hayes_90.jpgBy Trevor Hayes

All Major Leaguers wore the No. 42 yesterday in honor of one man. It’s amazing to me that a number can be retired throughout a sport to honor just one person. But then the accomplishments of Jackie Robinson are far beyond amazing.

I recently finished reading Jonathan Eig’s book Opening Day, about Robinson’s first season in the Majors. Let me just say this — I knew what he accomplished was hard, but I really had no clue. The truth about Robinson’s first season goes way beyond anything I ever knew beforehand.

The hatred he faced in the early part of the season is nothing I can even comprehend. Death threats — something Hank Aaron also received while chasing the Babe — were just the tip of it. 4-16-09-Hayes_Mets42.jpgHe had really had no friends other than his wife and infant son. Players threatened to stop playing, thinking the game would continue without Robinson and other black players.

I was born after the Civil Rights Movement, so for me to try to understand the environment is tough. The book, however, gave me a good clue. One of Eig’s main sources was Jackie’s widow, Rachel Robinson. Between the research Eig did in newspapers and interviews with Rachel, the book painted a picture for me that I can more fully appreciate.

I had the good fortune to say hello and shake Rachel’s hand in November when the Hall of Fame dedicated the Character and Courage statues in the lobby of the Museum. Eig was also there that day and participated in a Voices of the Game event with Roberto Clemente‘s sons. I learned that day that baseball can mean so much more. The game follows the ebb and flow of the nation.

A lot of things have been said about why Branch Rickey signed Robinson. Regardless of the original reason, Robinson became an icon not just for African-Americans but for people throughout the country. He was Martin Luther King Jr. before the Civil Rights Movement had a face. Malcolm X charted Robinson’s batting average while listening to Red Barber on the radio.

The Robinsons were celebrated but were also outcasts. They lived a fairly secluded life, but Jackie may have been the most recognizable face in America — and most certainly was the most recognizable African-American next to Joe Louis.

His success that first season proved a color line should have never been drawn. He carried the team for parts of the season, and he made thousands of people instant Dodger fans. His style of play made the game a thrill ride. It was aggressive, it was fast-paced and it was exciting.

Babe Ruth changed the game with the home run, but Jackie Robinson revolutionized it. He opened the door, and talent flooded through. Larry Doby was in the Majors by July. Dan Bankhead joined the Dodgers for the playoff push. But Jackie was first. He faced unreal circumstances and showed he could flourish. The bravery, skill and spirit he displayed are attributes that we can admire.

Robinson deserves every bit of appreciation we can gather. He is immortalized here at the Hall of Fame in the Plaque Gallery. The month of November has been designated Character and Courage Month to celebrate Robinson and two players he shared those characteristics with — Clemente and Lou Gehrig. Their statues in the lobby serve as year-round reminders of traits we should all aspire to exhibit. The entrance to the Mets’ new ballpark, Citi Field, was dedicated to him. The Jackie Robinson Rotunda replicates the entrance to Ebbets Field where Jackie broke the color barrier. His No. 42 hangs in every ballpark, and yesterday it was on the back of every player to take the field.

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

Home means coming to Cooperstown

Carr_90.jpgBy Samantha Carr

Brothers Chris and Cary Buchanan drove to Chris’ home in Hamilton, N.Y., from Colorado Springs, Colo. — and once again found themselves taking a detour to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Both Buchanans have recently returned home from their second tour of duty in Iraq with the army and visited baseball heaven with their families. To them, last Thursday’s trip to Cooperstown was a reminder of what it means to be home.

3-30-09-Carr_Buchanans.jpg“It’s not real yet,” said Chris about his happiness to be home. “You really get pulled in a lot of different directions, but spending time with my family is great.”

Active and retired career military personnel receive free admission to the Museum, and Chris visits Cooperstown just about every time he returns home. He was even a part of Induction Weekend in 2007 to see Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn receive their Hall of Fame plaques.

“The Hall of Fame has grown quite a bit over the years,” said Chris.

“I haven’t been here in about 15 years and [the village] has grown a lot,” added Cary, who makes his home in Richmond, Va. “You can barely even see [Doubleday Field] from the road.”

Chris returned from Baghdad in January, and Cary has only been back about a month.

“I’m stationed in Hawaii, so last week I was deep-sea fishing in warm weather, and now I’m in cold Upstate New York,” Cary said.

I can’t imagine that is the best tradeoff, but Cary is a fan of Jackie Robinson, so once he gets to see the Pride and Passion exhibit dedicated to the African-American baseball experience, I know he will think it’s worth it.

Both Buchanan wives, Laurie and Rose, are also military women. Chris’ wife, Laurie, served for 12 years in the army, and Rose has served for 14 in the same branch.

Both couples became much more animated when they got to view the plaque at the entrance to the Plaque Gallery that commemorates all of the Hall of Famers who served in the military.

Lawrence Berra — is that Yogi?” Chris asked. When I replied that it was, he responded with a laugh. “I wouldn’t go by Lawrence, either.”

It was a great opportunity to thank a few of the people that dedicate their lives to defending freedom. Thank you to Chris, Cary, Laurie, Rose and all the other members of the U.S. military.

Samantha Carr is the media relations coordinator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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