Results tagged ‘ Rickey Henderson ’

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.

Hall of a game for Crawford

Carr_90.jpgBy Samantha Carr

After winning the American League pennant last year and starting off slow in 2009, the Rays were starting to be regarded as a fluke by some baseball fans. But Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford proved Sunday — by tying the record of a Hall of Famer — that the Rays are heating up again.

Tampa Bay took three of four from the second-place Red Sox over the weekend and is 11-2 against Boston at Tropicana Field dating back to last year. The Rays have a Major League-leading 40 stolen bases through 26 games. On Sunday, the Rays tore up the basepaths by stealing a club-record eight bases. Crawford swiped six in six tries.

“Hopefully, it’s the start of something,” Crawford told MLB.com. “We have to pick it up if we want to get to where we were at last year, so hopefully, it was the start of something.”

5-4-09-Carr_Crawford.jpgCrawford graciously donated his jersey from the 2008 World Series, and the jersey is currently on display in the Hall of Fame’s Autumn Glory exhibit. Crawford has agreed to donate his spikes from Sunday’s game to the Hall of Fame.

Crawford reached base in each of his five plate appearances Sunday, four times on hits, and tied the modern-day Major League record of six stolen bases held by Hall of Famer Eddie Collins in the American League and Otis Nixon and Eric Young in the National League. It was the first time a player recorded six steals and four hits in one game since Collins did it in 1912.

Crawford leads the Majors with 17 stolen bases, four more than Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox. He has yet to be thrown out this season and is only one successful steal away from becoming the American League’s all-time leader in stolen-base percentage for players with at least 300 steals. Crawford is at 83.28 percent, and Willie Wilson is the record-holder with 83.29. Hall of Famer Paul Molitor holds the American League record for most steals in a season without getting caught with 20.

If Crawford continues his larceny for a few more years, he might just run himself all the way to Cooperstown. Of the top 10 base stealers in the modern era, seven are enshrined in Cooperstown.

Top 10 Modern-Era Base Stealers
Rickey Henderson* 1,406
Lou Brock* 938
Ty Cobb* 892
Tim Raines 808
Vince Coleman 752
Eddie Collins* 744
Max Carey* 738
Honus Wagner* 722
Joe Morgan* 689
Willie Wilson 668
* – denotes Hall of Famer

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

Bronzed glove to be golden addition to collection

DiFranza_90.jpgBy Lenny DiFranza

Ever since this year’s inductee list was set at Rickey Henderson, Jim Rice, and Joe “Flash” Gordon, we’ve been planning the exhibits that will honor them. We’ve combed through our collection for artifacts related to the players and discovered some excellent items. But, like most years, we’ve also looked to borrow items that would help us illustrate these great careers.

I have been assigned Joe Gordon’s exhibit, and it has been a great pleasure to communicate with Gordon’s children, Judy and Joe. Their effort and generosity has allowed us to assemble an extraordinary tribute to their father that will give visitors to Cooperstown an excellent review of his accomplishments.

4-24-09-DiFranza_GordonGlove.jpgOf all the wonderful items they loaned to us, my favorite is a bronzed fielder’s glove that arrived just a few days ago. Judy Gordon explained to me that when her father retired, her mother took possession of the glove he had been using and had it preserved in bronze.

We have Gold Glove Awards in our collection and many different items that were bronzed and later donated to our museum, but this bronzed glove stands out in comparison, showing the rips and repairs of an old, trusted piece of leather.

I hope you can see, along with the many other items that the Gordon family loaned to us for this summer’s exhibit, for yourself.

Lenny DiFranza is the assistant curator for new media at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Thinking Spring

Idelson_90.jpgBy Jeff Idelson

Thank goodness for Spring Training. It means baseball has finally returned and the regular season is just around the corner.

I recently spent a week in Arizona. Can’t believe there are 14 teams there now, and when the Reds migrate west next spring, there will be an even split between Florida and Arizona. It seems like only yesterday when almost every team was in the Sunshine State.

I had a chance to reminisce about my Yankees Spring Training memories a couple of weeks ago when Gov. Charlie Crist invited me to speak at the recently rejuvenated annual Florida Baseball Dinner at Tropicana Field in St. Pete.

Sitting on the dais with Hall of Famers Tony Perez, Bill Mazeroski, Al Kaline, Mike Schmidt, Phil Niekro and Wade Boggs brought back great thoughts about my five springs in Ft. Lauderdale from 1989-93. There’s nothing better than 10 weeks in Florida to beat the cold, dreary New York winters.

 In Arizona, I was based in Scottsdale, which is conveniently located in close proximity to the Giants, Brewers, Angels, A’s and Cubs Spring Training facilities. I spent my time visiting with team owners, Hall of Famers, current players, media members and fans.

3-18-09-Idelson_Arizona.jpgFor instance, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsorf is on the Hall of Fame Board of Directors. After lunch with Jerry, his general manager, Kenny Williams, and his special assistant, Dennis Gilbert, at the team’s new facility in Glendale, the Sox played the Dodgers. Jerry, Dennis and I watched the game from Jerry’s suite, and Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, a native New Englander like me, joined us in the eighth inning, just in time to see his Dodgers rally from a two-run deficit to win in their last at-bat.

My visit was a chance to catch Frank and Dennis up on the inner-workings of the Hall of Fame. The silver lining for me was watching White Sox first-round draft pick Gordon Beckham, picked eighth overall out of the University of Georgia, play shortstop and show why he’ll likely soon join Alexei Ramirez (whose swing reminds me a lot of Alfonso Soriano) in the middle of the infield. Keep an eye on Beckham. He won’t be wearing uniform No. 80 for long.

Reality hit home when I realized that Beckham was born Sept. 16, 1986, 12 days before the Red Sox clinched the pennant while I was working for them after recently graduating from Connecticut College. Nothing like a dose of reality …

Later in the week, I headed over to Scottsdale Stadium with friend Rick Swig, one of our Hall of Fame Champions from the Bay Area. I also had a chance to spend some time in the Giants clubhouse and speak with Randy Johnson, Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum.

Lincecum and I first met in January when I presented him with his 2008 National League Cy Young Award at the Baseball Writers dinner. I presented him with plaque postcards of our only two Hall of Famers from Washington state — Ryne Sandberg and Earl Averill. I told him that I doubted he would need inspiration, but if he ever did, to take a look at these two legends’ plaques. He has the build of Juan Marichal, the delivery of Goose Gossage, the dominance of Sandy Koufax and the velocity of Bob Feller.

Zito loves the history of the game. We talked quite a bit about the Museum and our collections, as well as Bruce Hurst, one of his favorite players growing up in San Diego. I said to him, “I thought your 12-6 curveball looked familiar.” Hurst was his model and used his devastating out pitch to perfection in Fenway Park when I worked in Boston.

3-18-09-Idelson_Johnson.jpgWith Johnson five wins away from 300, I wanted to be sure he has us in his thoughts when he reaches the magical milestone. He’s always been generous, and I know he won’t disappoint us when he reaches that plateau. I told him that I doubted anyone would ever get to 300 wins again, unless the economy got so bad that teams were forced to scale back to smaller rosters and the old three-man rotations returned.

Randy also loves the history of the game and a signed Christy Mathewson book has a spot in his library.

While in the Giants clubhouse, I also exchanged pleasantries with Mike Murphy, the wonderful clubhouse manager who’s been there since the club went west, as well as the two Willies — Mays and McCovey. Both guys were in great spirits and were looking forward to coming back for Hall of Fame Weekend.

During the game, I sat with Cubs scout Gary Hughes and USA Today national writer Bob Nightengale, two longtime friends, in scout seats, right behind home plate. The Rockies and Giants were playing. I had no idea Sal Fasano was still playing, catching for the Rockies.

Dinners are meant for catching up with Hall of Famers and friends. Dinner with Robin Yount and his brother Larry, George Brett, White Sox vice chairman Eddie Einhorn and longtime Hall supporter Bob Crotty was a lot of fun. Robin dragged us to a restaurant he liked. “The general manager’s from Milwaukee. How could it be bad?” Robin said. He was right. It was terrific. He also let us know about his new product endorsement — Robinade — a form of lemonade sold only in Wisconsin and promoted in commercials by Bob Uecker. “Flying off the shelves,” he quipped.

I also caught up with three of our Cubs Hall of Famers — Fergie Jenkins, Billy Williams and Sandberg — for dinner one night. They all feel good about the Cubs in 2009.

Toward the end of my stay, we had a day-long event for our Champions — those who support the Museum with an annual contribution of $5,000 or more. The day, put together and co-hosted by A’s team doctor and Hall of Fame Champion Elliott Schwartz and his wife, Patti, consisted of going to see the A’s and Mariners play, where A’s GM Billy Beane talked to our group for a while. “I lockered next to Rickey Henderson in 1980,” remembered Beane. “I was sent down to Triple-A for three weeks and then was recalled. ‘Where were you?’ said Henderson upon my return,” Beane laughed.

Dinner that night was wonderful, with Hughes, Nightengale, Marty Lurie, who handles A’s pregame, and A’s announcer Ken Korach joining us and sharing stories. Williams and his wife, Shirley, were our guests of honor. “Good, better, best,” said Billy. “Never let it rest, ’til good is better and better is best.”

Lots of laughs, lots of baseball, lots of fun.

Over and out.

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

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