Results tagged ‘ Stan Musial ’

Experiencing Cooperstown: An Intern’s Perspective

By Chris Duffy

A day in the life of the stereotypical intern has the basic ingredients of a Dilbert comic strip. Each day’s forecast typically calls for eight hours of filing papers, answering phones and periodically refilling the “World’s Greatest Boss” coffee mug.
 
Fortunately, my time as a Public Programs intern at the Hall of Fame has been far from stereotypical. Words such as extraordinary, unforgettable and surreal properly reflect my Cooperstown experience.
 
My morning begins with a scenic commute through the Hall of Fame Plaque Gallery, where bronze portraits of baseball legends rest peacefully in silent alcoves. Roberto Clemente’s gaze, Stan the Man’s smile and Ty Cobb’s smirk greet me as I pass by quietly, not wanting to disrupt the stillness of the moment.

Then, the doors open, the Hall of Fame roars to life and the public programs begin.
 
My purpose this summer is to develop, prepare and conduct daily programs for fans to enjoy. My favorite part of programming? The passionate visitors. Whether I’m demonstrating the sweet spot on a bat, or recreating Hank Aaron’s 715th home run call, the fans’ love for the game is always evident.
 
Artifact spotlights, which present artifacts not currently on display in the Museum, are particularly special programs to run. The treasures presented bring out the utmost zeal from fans of all ages. I will never forget the man from Milwaukee with the youthful glint in his eyes as I held Craig Biggio’s batting gloves; I will always remember the young girl from Florida gazing at Derek Jeter’s bat like it was fashioned from solid gold.
 
Moments like these are amazing because my experience with baseball has come full circle. Before this summer, I was simply a fan. Now, I contribute to improving the experience for other fans and sustaining the legacy of America’s national pastime.
 
No papers, phones or coffee mugs. Just fun, excitement and passion for the game of baseball.

Chris Duffy is a public programs intern in the Class of 2011 Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program. For more information on the Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program, please click here http://baseballhall.org/education/internship-program/internship-program.

Sweet music

By Craig Muder

It was the day before Induction Sunday, so this moment in the first-base dugout at Doubleday Field was a rare chance to sit down.

One-hundred yards away, the Hall of Fame Awards Presentation was just getting started. On the stage was Terry Cashman, telling the assembled crowd about how he came to write his classic piece of baseball nostalgia “Talkin’ Baseball (Willie, Mickey and The Duke).”

I was tired, I was hot (Saturday featured another day of 90-plus degree temperatures in Cooperstown) and I was thinking about the next item on my to-do list.

And then Terry Cashman started to sing.

The Whiz Kids had won it; Bobby Thomson had done it; and Yogi read the comics all the while…

I have never felt tears well up that quickly.

We’re talking baseball; Kluszewski, Campanella…

Suddenly, it was 1981 all over again. I was 12 years old, in love with this game and its history, and Terry Cashman was signing to me. I decoded each line of the song like it was a treasure.

Talkin’ baseball; The Man and Bobby Feller…

The first time I heard that song, I knew there were kindred spirits out there. Others felt the same love, and Cashman had captured that feeling. In the days before the internet and when ESPN was in its infancy, the song was a unifying force.

The Scooter, The Barber and the Newk; They knew them all from Boston to Dubuque…

All the controversies, trials and quibbling, it’s all just background noise. This game can still be perfect; and the memory of it can still make me cry.

It was all on display this weekend in Cooperstown.

Especially Willie, Mickey and The Duke…

Thank you, Terry, for giving us fans our piece of history. And thank you for coming to Cooperstown.

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

Special service

By Scot Mondore

One of the things I enjoy most about my job is that the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is fun – and it makes people happy when they are here. As with most museums, our visitors come from all walks of life – including those who are retired, or even in the prime of their career.

I had the great fortune to meet one such individual who is in the prime of his career on Thursday. This young man is from a small town not to far from Cooperstown – a little town called Wells Bridge, N.Y. Nicholas Zorda been to Cooperstown before, visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame numerous times, including as a member of the Otego, N.Y., American Legion baseball team during the 1998 and 1999 seasons. He was a first baseman for the team and had the opportunity to play on historic Doubleday Field.

On Thursday, he visited the Hall of Fame with many members of his family, including his wife Kristy, two-year-old daughter Cali, and four-year-old son, Cooper, who incidentally is named after one of his favorite towns – Cooperstown. He was also accompanied by his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and colleagues – this was not the typical baseball fan visit, but a special visit, because Navy Career Counselor First Class Nicholas Zorda chose to reenlist for three more years in the United States Navy in a little ceremony in the Hall of Fame Plaque Gallery.

Petty Officer First Class Zorda could have stayed at his office and reenlisted, but he wanted to share this moment with everyone who means so much to him, in a place that means so much to him. A lifelong St. Louis Cardinals supporter, Nicholas is a big fan of Bob Feller who also served in the Navy, as well as Stan Musial – an icon of the Cardinals’ rich tradition.

He was happy to be here, and we were happy to have him.

Scot Mondore is the director of licensing and sales at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Mike McCormick visits Hall of Fame

By Bill Francis

Mike McCormick had experienced much in his baseball career, from making his big league debut 55 years ago at the age of 17, to capturing the 1967 National League Cy Young Award, and surrendering Hank Aaron’s 500th career home run. But it wasn’t until this week that the longtime left-handed pitcher visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

“It’s the first time that I’ve been to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and shame on me,” McCormick said on Thursday afternoon. “I’ve heard about it, obviously, my whole career and honored to be in it in different ways, not as an elected person. It’s been a wonderful day so far and we’re looking forward to the rest of it.”

The 72-year-old McCormick is a native Californian who moved with his wife to Pinehurst, N.C. eight years ago. Now retired, he spends time on the golf course and keeping up with his beloved Giants thanks to a cable television baseball package. He was visiting Cooperstown with one of his daughters, her husband, and their two children. Soon after the family arrived, they were given a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum.

“You come in as the average citizen and you see the exhibits but you don’t see what’s behind those exhibits,” McCormick said. “They have some incredible things that they shared with my family and me that, had it not been under the conditions, we wouldn’t even be aware that such things existed.”

After a heralded prep career in a Los Angeles suburb in which he posted records of 49-4 in American Legion and 34-4 in high school, McCormick spent 16 seasons (1956-71) as a major league hurler. Because of the rules at the time, his reported $50,000 signing bonus from the New York Giants demanded he stay on the big league roster for his first two professional seasons.

“I wanted to be a baseball player,” McCormick recalled. “And all at once I was thrust into it at 17 and it was whole different world, let me tell you. I grew up real fast.”

While McCormick spent most of his time with the Giants, first in New York and then with San Francisco after the franchise moved in 1958, he also saw time with the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Senators, New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals. His career, which ended with a 134-128 won-loss record, was highlighted by his 22 wins in 1967 that helped him capture the senior circuit’s top pitching prize.

“When I was healthy, I don’t want to say I was the best but I was among the best. I just had a struggle staying healthy,” McCormick said. “I went my first six years feeling fine then all at once I ran into a sore shoulder which set me back the next three years. I stayed in the major leagues but I was really a nonproductive individual. Then I got to Washington and re-established that I had some value, where I had three or four good years, one of which one was the Cy Young Award year. But then I had back problems and had to succumb to a back operation.”

Walking through the Plaque Gallery, McCormick not only saw the bronze likenesses of such former teammates as Willie Mays, Gaylord Perry, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal and Orlando Cepeda, but also legendary opponents like Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Stan Musial and Mickey Mantle.

“I’ve been blessed to have played with and against the finest in the game,” McCormick said. “I pitched in both leagues in the 1950s and ‘60s, an era I consider one of baseball’s best ever.”

Before continuing on his first-ever Hall of Fame visit, McCormick added, “It’s an incredible place. I would tell everybody that has an opportunity that this is the place to come.”

Bill Francis is a library associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Kenny Loggins relishes Hall of Fame visit

By Jeff Ideslon

I spend a lot of time walking through the Museum with celebrities. Some have very little interest, others modest – and then there’s the serious fan, like Kenny Loggins.

The popular musician was in town Thursday to play a benefit show for Hospice at Ommegang Brewery in Cooperstown, fronting his band Blue Sky Riders, which includes vocalist Georgia Middleman and bass player/guitarist Gary Burr.

The very accomplished Loggins won Best Male Pop Vocal Grammy for “This Is It” in 1980, and co-wrote the 1979 Grammy-winning Song of The Year “What A Fool Believes” with his long-time friend, Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers.

Along with his son Luke, who is entering his senior year at Santa Barbara High School and pitches for the baseball team, Loggins spent Thursday afternoon at the Hall of Fame. The two completely immersed themselves in the history of the game.

Loggins, who played youth baseball through the Babe Ruth level, played catch with all five of his children through the years. “I wanted them to know baseball like I did,” he said. “Luke has a much better temperament for the game than I did. He handles adversity well.”

Growing up in Alhambra, Calif., Loggins and his dad would sit in the kitchen and listen to Vin Scully call Dodger games on the radio. “I grew up with Koufax and Drysdale. It seemed like one of them pitched every day.”

Walking through the Hall of Fame’s collections, “Oh my God, this is in great shape,” he said, marveling at the wonderful conservation of the jersey.

Holding a Stan Musial game-used bat he looked skyward and said, “This is my day. ‘The Man’ was unbelievable.” I explained to Loggins that Musial was a five-tool player – he could hit for power and average, run, throw and catch. I asked him if he knew any five-tool musicians.

Without even thinking, he answered exactly as Graham Nash did two years ago when I asked him the same question: “Prince.” Loggins added Stevie Wonder and Nash added Stephen Stills.

After seeing Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson sweaters, Loggins asked where he could get one. “I wish these were still in vogue. These are beautiful,” he said.

Finally, while holding the bat Ted Williams used for his 521st and final home run, he noticed that part of the Louisville Slugger trademark was the word, ‘powerized.’ “Do you think I could get my guitar powerized?” he asked his Burr and me.

After seeing artifacts from Willie Mays, Orel Hershiser, and so many other, he softly said to no one in particular, “You forget how short a baseball career is. ” How true.

Two hours later, Loggins concluded, “This Museum is incredibly well done. It is interactive and exciting, and chock full of great contextual information. It plays well to my son Luke, who’s in high school and also to older folks, like Gary and me. The experience really took me back in time, right back to my childhood.”

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

‘Cruz’ through history

By Craig Muder

They stood together in the Museum’s archive, father and son of Major League Baseball fame.

Jose Cruz Sr. and Jose Cruz Jr. have 31 big league seasons between them. But nothing prepared them for their visit to Cooperstown.

“This is unbelievable,” said Jose Cruz Jr., in town this week with his children – Jose Sr.’s grandchildren – for a youth baseball tournament. “The history is here… guys that I played with, Hall of Famers… . I’m still here and I can’t wait to come back!”

The pair and their families visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum on Tuesday. Jose Cruz Sr., a 19-year big league veteran best known for his 13 years with the Astros, looks remarkably the same as the smooth left-handed swinger who knocked line drives around the National League during the 1980s. Now 63, Cruz paid special attention to two exhibits: One featuring new Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, who like Cruz was born in Puerto Rico.

The other exhibit? One featuring Hall of Famer Stan Musial, who was an executive with the St. Louis Cardinals when Cruz signed with the team as an amateur free agent in 1966.

“Stan the Man was my hero,” said Cruz, now a special assistant to the general manager for the Astros.

Jose Cruz Jr., 37, is only three years removed from a 12-year big league career that saw him hit 204 homers and capture a Gold Glove Award for his outfield play in 2003. A student of baseball history, Cruz Jr. tested his father on baseball trivia throughout his visit.

Father and son, bonding through baseball. Seems fitting during a week that will feature the annual Hall of Fame Classic on Father’s Day – Sunday, June 19 – in Cooperstown.

The connection – even at the game’s highest level – remains unbreakable.

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

A “bench”-mark record

By Bill Francis

Working at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, you never know who you might bump into, whether it be a star or a journeyman. In this case, it was Jeff Manto, your prototypical journeyman, a ballplayer who spent time with eight different big league teams over a nine-year career.

But unlike most who have toiled at the end of a major league roster, Manto had one three-game stretch in which he accomplished something that few in the game can lay claim to. As a member of the Baltimore Orioles in 1995, Manto tied a major league record, joining such legendary names as Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Jimmie Foxx, Mike Schmidt, Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols, when he became the 20th player to hit four home runs in four consecutive at-bats.

Manto was awestruck when he and his family visited the Museum in November 1997 for another look at the bat he used for his rare feat, an artifact that at the time was on exhibit.

“I’ve got my youngest child with me and I want to make sure I get a picture with her with the bat,” said Manto some 14 years ago. “Plus, it’s nice to get away from home (the Philadelphia suburb of Langhorn) and Cooperstown is a great place to visit. We had a five-hour drive with the kids, but we lucked out and we had a van with videos, so we survived.”

According to Manto, currently the roving minor league hitting instructor for the Chicago White Sox, it was “truly humbling” when the Hall of Fame initially asked for the bat.

“In 1995 when the Hall of Fame called down to Baltimore to ask for the bat, I almost got goose bumps,” Manto recalled. “To be a part of the Hall of Fame, and to reach some kind of immortality in the game that you love, is something special that I’ll cherish for a long time. Hopefully, my family beyond me will cherish it also.”

While names like Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Cy Young and Nolan Ryan dominate the national pastime’s record book, it was great to see the look on the face of a utility player with 164 career hits, 31 homers and a .230 batting average who made the pilgrimage to Cooperstown in order to share his shining moment on the diamond with the ones closest to him.

More stories like this can be found in the Museum’s new exhibit, One for the Books: Baseball Records and the Stories Behind Them, which opens on Saturday.

Bill Francis is a Library Associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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