Results tagged ‘ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ’

A different kind of hit record

By Samantha Carr

Baseball and music have a rich history together. The Hall of Fame honored that history at the 2010 Induction Ceremony by celebrating John Fogerty’s classic baseball song “Centerfield.”

That tradition will continue this year when Terry Cashman’s hit “Talkin’ Baseball (Willie, Mickey and the Duke)” will be honored during Hall of Fame Weekend 2011. On Friday, a musical group a little newer to the scene got their first taste of Cooperstown.

The Baseball Project is a musical group that formed in 2007 to perform songs about baseball. The group is made up of Steve Wynn (also of Dream Syndicate), his wife Linda Pitmon, Scott McCaughey (also of The Minus 5) and Mike Mills of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee R.E.M.

“The song ideas are flowing,” said Wynn during their visit to the Hall of Fame.

The Baseball Project will be performing tonight at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown and had to make a stop at baseball heaven as part of the trip. The group and some of their crew received a “backstage” tour of the Hall of Fame and were able to go into the Museum’s collections storage to see some artifacts not currently on display.

“I feel like I could really hit something with this,” said Mills when he felt the weight of the bat Ted Williams used to record his last hit.

The group got to see the trombone case from the baseball classic, “The Natural,” as well as items like a ball signed by astronauts.

“Baseball is all weaved in with American culture, so there are all kinds of items that relate,” said Mills.

McCoughey’s favorite artifact was a Babe Ruth jersey he got to hold and be photographed with.

“My dad’s favorite player was Ruth, so this is pretty cool,” he said.

The group, who released their second album Volume 2: High and Inside in March, checked out artifacts like a jersey worn by the Braves manager Billy Southworth made of satin to show up better under lighting during night games and even some snare drums used by the Brooklyn Dodgers Symphony Band.

One thing is for sure – the band finally got the official answer to a lyrical question they have had for years about the baseball classic “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” when they got to view the original sheet music in the Hall of Fame’s collection.

“Now we know the real lyrics – it’s never get back, not ever.”

Don’t be surprised if the group is inspired by their trip to Cooperstown to write a hit that is honored at a Hall of Fame Weekend in the near future.

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

Induction moments

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

The gesture was so touching, it was easy to forget that these were two of the toughest umpires ever to don chest protectors.

It was fifteen minutes after Sunday’s Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown, and Doug Harvey was headed to the post-induction press conference.

07-25-10-Muder-Fogerty.jpgSuddenly, a man came running up behind Harvey, calling “Doug, Doug!”

Enter Joe West, Major League Baseball umpire and former colleague of Harvey.

“I am so happy for you,” said West. And then – with an awe-like respect for the umpire known as “god” – West kissed Harvey’s hand.

A Cooperstown-only moment, to be sure. And there were others.

How about John Fogerty’s appearance at the Hall of Fame? The rock-and-roll legend donated his bat-shaped guitar “Slugger” to the Museum for display Sunday evening. Earlier in the day, Fogerty got to spend time with one of his idols – Hall of Famer Willie Mays – before performing his baseball anthem “Centerfield” live at the Induction Ceremony.

“I don’t even feel like I should be here with these guys,” Fogerty said. “That was Willie Mays!”

For Fogerty – himself a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer – the Cooperstown experience was like that of any baseball fan.

“I felt like I was eight years old all over again.”

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

Rock and Roll Hall of Famers visit Cooperstown

Idelson_90.jpgBy Jeff Idelson

One of the great strengths of the Baseball Hall of Fame is its universal appeal. Even though we are a Museum dedicated to baseball, fans of American history will invariably visit because one can’t begin to fully appreciate Americana without seeing baseball’s imprint. 

Those who travel to Cooperstown do so as a pilgrimage – we’re not exactly a place you can stumble upon. Once in a great while, visitors will “just happen to be in town for other reasons” and a Museum visit becomes a secondary undertaking. 

6-15-09-Idelson_CSN.jpgSuch was the case Friday when music icons and 1997 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Crosby, Stills and Nash came to town to play a concert at legendary Doubleday Field, the fifth concert ever at the famed venue. Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson got the ball rolling in 2004. Others to have performed include Paul Simon, The Beach Boys with Herman’s Hermits and Dylan, a second time.

Prior to the show, led by three decade-long tour manager Mike “Coach” Sexton, the entire band sans David Crosby, came to visit the Museum. Arriving in golf carts two hours before sound check were Graham Nash and Stephen Stills, along with drummer Joe Vitale, base player Bob Glaub, their newly-anointed organist, and pianist James Raymond — David Crosby’s son.

They spent 90 minutes touring the exhibits and 30 minutes in archival collections. The tour ended with a trip to the photo library so Nash, a well-known photography collector, could have a look at the Library’s famed collection. “Too short of a visit,” lamented Stills after the tour. 

While touring, I learned that Vitale was born in Canton, Ohio, and went to high school with Thurman Munson. “Is he in the Hall?” asked Vitale. When told he wasn’t, he responded: “He should be.”

Stills and Nash loved the Museum and were fascinated with its history. “Ahhh, Mickey Mantle – my first hero,” recalled Stills in the Yankees of 1950s exhibit on the Museum’s second floor. “I loved the Mick, but I am a Red Sox fan. I threw out the first pitch during their run to their first championship and that baseball is one of my prized possessions.”

 In archives, Nash, who played cricket in Blackpool, England as a youngster, picked up one of Hall of Famer George Wright‘s cricket bats, circa 1890. He was intrigued to learn of Wright, the only person in history to play Major League Baseball (Boston and Providence) and First Class Cricket (Longwood Cricket Club of Chestnut Hill, Mass.).

6-15-09-Idelson_Paige.jpgCricket matches are renowned for being seemingly-endless, as they can last for days. I asked Nash if cricket reminded him of acoustic Grateful Dead concerts, which were could also last for hours. “You may have a point there,” he said laughing.

I explained to both musicians the definition of a five-tool player (hit for average, hit for power, run, throw and field) and asked if music had any. “Prince. Definitely Prince,” said Nash. “He can probably play five instruments.”

When I asked Stills if he could go back in time which player he would meet, he answered without hesitation, Satchel Paige. “B.B. King told me that watching Satchel Paige pitch was like watching Jimi Hendrix play guitar. They were both legendary.”

The band thanked Hall of Fame curators Erik Strohl and Tom Shieber for arranging the tour and then headed back to Doubleday Field. After the sound check at 4:30 p.m., the three rock legends posed in Hall of Fame jerseys – as one Hall of Fame honored legends from another: Crosby, Stills and Nash were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, and are about to enter the Songwriters Hall of Fame (the three are also in the Harmony Hall of Fame). Nash was so appreciative, he opened the show wearing his new garb.

For the photo shoot, to tie music and baseball together even more closely, we brought the bats of three players with which the three musicians posed: Crosby with a Babe Ruth bat, Stills with a Lou Gehrig bat and Nash with a Joe DiMaggio one.

“What a thrill,” said Nash. “What a thrill.”

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

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