Results tagged ‘ Tom Seaver ’

Baseball Film Festival less than two weeks away

By Steve Light

Here in Cooperstown, the air has turned brisk and the leaves are beginning to turn colors. For me, that means two things: The regular season is winding down, and the Baseball Film Festival is just around the corner.

Indeed, the Festival is less than two weeks away, and we are very excited for the great lineup of baseball themed films – a record 14 in all this year. Our lineup includes a bit of everything – from Little League Baseball in Curacao and Michigan, to Big League Baseball at Wrigley, to midnight baseball in Alaska. You can go behind the scenes at the Great American Ballpark and Fenway, or learn about grounds keeping at Camden Yards.

The Festival kicks off on Friday night, Sept. 30, and will run through Sunday afternoon, Oct. 2 in the Bullpen Theater. Tickets to each screening session are free but must be reserved, and tickets are available now to participants in the Hall of Fame’s Membership Program by calling 607-547-0397 weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET. Non-members can reserve their seats, if any remain, starting on Monday, Sept. 26.

So if you enjoy watching baseball films, be sure to mark Sept. 30 – Oct. 2 on your calendar, and reserve your tickets today.

And if you would like a sneak preview of some of the films, check out the trailers listed below.

Official Schedule
Friday, September 30th
Session 1: 7:00 p.m., Bullpen Theater

Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend (27 minutes) – A portrait of Nicole Sherry, head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards – one of only two women in that position in Major League Baseball.
Produced by: Jo Films
Directed by: Sarah Knight

Slap Back Jack: High Five Master (11 minutes) – This kid friendly stop motion short film narrated in rhyme begins when superstar baseball player, Bub Stocky, hits a walk off Grand Salami to win the big ball game for his team the Bronx Buffalo. When he tries to celebrate with his teammates, he flubs his high-fives, loses out on his lows, and punks out on his pounds.
Produced by: Combover Productions/MRN Media Inc.
Directed by: Mark Newell
View the trailer: http://www.slapbackjack.com/

Catching Hell (1 hour, 41 minutes) – It’s the pop fly that will live in infamy. When Chicagoan Steve Bartman fatefully deflected a foul ball in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, the city’s long-suffering Cubs fans found someone new to blame for their cursed century without a World Series title.
Produced by: ESPN Films
Directed by: Alex Gibney

Saturday, October 1st
Session 2: 10:00 a.m., Bullpen Theater

Play by Play (23 minutes) – Donn, a lonely 10-year-old, leads a vivid imaginary life as a big league ballplayer. When his schoolyard nemesis Steve accidentally learns about it, Donn is thrust into an escalating struggle to avoid being humiliated in front of his class.
Produced by: Afterwork Films
Directed by: Carlos Baena & Sureena Mann
View the trailer: http://www.imdb.com/video/wab/vi2452200729/

The Legend of Pinky Deras (41 minutes) – Since Little League Baseball was founded in 1939, about 40 million kids have played the sport. The list includes future Hall of Famers like Carl Yastrzemski, Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan, and hundreds of other future Major Leaguers. But of all the kids who ever played Little League, the best of the best was a boy you’ve probably never heard of.
Produced by: Stunt3 Multimedia
Directed by: Buddy Moorehose and Brian Kruger
View the trailer: http://stunt3.com/Stunt3_Multimedia/The_Legend_of_Pinky_Deras.html

Session 3: 2:00 p.m.,Bullpen Theater

Bubble Gum Champs (8 minutes) – Marc is watching a baseball game with his wife, Julie. His son’s team is losing and Marc is not so happy about it. He blames it on the coach, a Frenchman. Fed up with Marc’s attitude, Julie drops the bomb and accuses him of being a couch coach…
Produced by: Eric K. Boulianne
Directed by: Jean-Sebastien Beudoin Gagnon & Eric K. Boulianne

Touching the Game: Alaska (1 hour, 40 minutes) – In today’s high pressure, big dollar world of professional baseball and its accompanying media cyclone, the most poignant and refreshing perspectives are those that portray the unique and committed institutions which keep the essence and purity of our national pastime alive. The Alaska Baseball League is such an institution and offers such a perspective.
Produced by: Fields of Vision and Eye Candy Cinema
Directed by: Jim Carroll
View the trailer: http://touchingthegame.com/alaska/trailer.shtml

Session 4: 7:00 p.m., Bullpen Theater

Christy Mathewson Day (48 minutes) – Christy Mathewson Day captures the spirit of Factoryville, PA as they celebrate their most famous resident, Hall of Fame pitcher Christy Mathewson. Members of the community tell their own history of triumphs and adversities through the framework of the yearly celebration of their favorite son.
Produced by: 23circles Productions
Directed by: Kevin Malone
View the trailer: http://www.christymathewsondayfilm.com

Boys of Summer (1 hour, 33 minutes) – On the tiny island of Curaçao, Manager Vernon Isabella has sent his Little League All-Stars to the World Series for seven consecutive years, routinely defeating such baseball powerhouses as Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic to win a spot in Williamsport. How do they do it? This film tries to crack the code of Curaçao’s phenomenal success.
Produced by: Keith Aumont & Ariana Garfinkel
Directed by: Kevin Aumont
View the trailer: http://boysofsummerfilm.com/videos.html

Sunday, October 3rd
S
ession 5: 10:00 a.m., Bullpen Theater

Black Baseball in Indiana (25 minutes) - A half-hour documentary film of original research and interviews, produced by students at Ball State University’s Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry, under the advisement of Negro leagues historian and SABR member Geri Strecker.
Produced by: Ball State University
Project Coordinator: Geri Strecker

The Queen of the People (1 hour, 4 minutes) – In 1944, Caracas hosts the 7th Amateur Baseball World Series. The organizers decide that the beauty queen of the event has to be elected via a popular vote. The title is disputed by Yolanda Leal, a school teacher from a humble neighborhood, and Oly Clemente, a young woman from Caracas’ high society.
Produced by: Producciones Triana
Directed by: Juan Andrés Bello
View the trailer: http://www.youtube.com

Session 6: 2:00 p.m., Bullpen Theater

Late August (10 minutes) – Scenes from the Babe Ruth World Series in Clifton Park, New York.
Produced by: Chris Woods
Directed by: Chris Woods

Down the Line (23 minutes) – A documentary on Boston’s Fenway Park that takes fans where they have never been before by celebrating Fenway’s “team behind the team” – the bat boys, ball girls, clubhouse attendants and grounds crew members who make every Major League Baseball game possible.
Produced by: Prospect Productions
Directed by: Colin Barnicle
View the trailer: http://www.prospectproduction.com/site/projects.html

Let’s Get Ready to Win (44 minutes) – In this 44-minute documentary, Mid-American Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Craig Lindvahl features the unforgettable Sept. 28, 2010 game in which Jay Bruce hits the walk-off home run that clinched the National League Central division title for the Cincinnati Reds, as part of a season-long look behind the scenes at the operations within Great American Ballpark.
Produced by: Callan Films / Cincinnati Reds
Directed by: Craig Lindvahl

Steve Light is the manager of museum programs at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Hall Monitor: Cys, Fourths, Hitters and Winners

By Trevor Hayes

Here we are, basically at the halfway point. Many point to the All-Star break as the halfway mark, though that’s not entirely true this season. Seventeen teams are slated to play their 90th game tonight. Baltimore has the fewest games played and tonight will be the Orioles’ 86th contest. Plenty of storylines are swirling with Albert Pujols’ injury, Derek Jeter’s quest for 3,000 and much more. Here’s how the last week has gone.

The Cy Young Returns: On Sunday, the Blue Jays 2003 AL Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay started in Toronto, wearing a Phillies uniform. The outcome was a complete game victory for Doc in his first start as an opposing pitcher since leaving the Jays. Halladay is the sixth former Cy Young to notch a complete game “W” in his first road start against the team for which he won the Cy Young Award. The others include: Hall of Famers Catfish Hunter as a Yankee a season after leaving Oakland in 1975; Tom Seaver after being traded by the Mets to the Reds in 1977; and 300-game winner Randy Johnson in 1999 as a Diamondback against the Mariners.

First-year Oriole mashers: Before this season, Frank Robinson was the only player to collect 20 home runs by the All-Star break in his first season in Baltimore. He had 21 in 1966, the same year he won the AL MVP Award and the Triple Crown. Robinson now has company as Mark Reynolds hit two home runs on Monday, giving him 20 before the break in his first season in Birdland.

Independence Day Fun: Vance Worley led the red-white-and-blue clad Phillies to a 1-0 victory on the Fourth of July. For fans in the city that is home to the Liberty Bell and Ben Franklin, they can now claim a .500 record on the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. With Hall of Famers from Chuck Klein and Mike Schmidt to Pete Alexander and Steve Carlton, in 201 July 4th games since 1883, Philadelphia’s record is now 101-100.

A fellow N.L. East red-white-and-blue team, the Nationals, also won on Monday. The team in the Nation’s Capital now sports a .633 winning percentage on the Fourth of July. At 31 wins and 18 losses, it’s the best mark for any team with at least 20 Independence Day tilts. Of course, the majority of the franchise’s wins came while playing in another country powered by Hall of Famers Gary Carter, Andre Dawson and Dick Williams – though as Les Expos de Montreal, they still wore red-white-and-blue uniforms.

Verlander matching Newhouser: Tiger All-Star Justin Verlander, who’s scheduled to throw again this weekend, has been dominant this season, especially so in his last eight starts. After Tuesday, he’s thrown at least seven innings and given up two-or-fewer runs in each of his last eight. It’s rarified air for Detroit pitchers. In 1945, future Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser put together the only other streak like Verlander’s – a nine-game string en route to one of his two MVP Awards.

Youngsters walkin’ off: Mike Stanton became the third youngest player to hit a walk-off  home run when he went yard in the bottom of the 10th on Wednesday. At 21, Stanton’s game-winner gave Florida a 7-6 win over the Phillies. Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews is the youngest, when at 20-years-old he decided a game for the Boston Braves in 1952, also beating the Phillies. Fellow Marlin Alex Gonzalez hit a walk-off homer in 1998 – also 21, but slightly younger than Stanton.

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

No-spin zone

Francis_90.jpgBy Bill Francis

The brotherhood of big league knuckleball pitchers is relatively small, but one of its former practitioners could be seen floating through the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum on Monday.

Steve Sparks made a name for himself tossing a baseball with no spin to bewildered hitters during a nine-year big league career spent with the Milwaukee Brewers (1995-96), Anaheim Angels (1998-99), Detroit Tigers (2000-03), Oakland A’s (2003) and Arizona Diamondbacks (2004). The right-hander made the trip from his home outside Houston in Sugar Land, Texas, with his 14-year-old son Blake.

07-20-10-Francis_Sparks.jpg“Blake and I have talked about coming to the Hall of Fame for four or five years now,” Spark said. “He’s going into high school next year and just thought with his schedule this might be our last chance for awhile, so we decided to make the trip this year.

“His sisters are in camp for the month of July so this is a chance for him and me to get out and do something by ourselves.”

This was Sparks’ first trip to the Hall of Fame.

“I’d never been here before, so I was very anxious. It’s a dream come true just seeing all the artifacts. I’ve always been enthralled by the game’s history,” Sparks said. “I grew up reading books about the history of the game, and I work with Fox Sports in Houston doing the pre- and post-game shows for the Houston Astros, so I’ve stayed in it and I’ve always enjoyed it. So for Blake and me to enjoy this together has been a lot of fun.”

Sparks, who turned 45 on July 2, ended his major league with a 59-76 record, highlighted by a 14-9 mark with the 2001 Tigers, and a 4.88 ERA.

“I was in my 40s and I just felt like I was ready to be home with my family,” Sparks said. “And the hitters let me know it was time to get out of the game, too.”

While the Hall of Fame boasts two knuckleball pitchers – Hoyt Wilhelm and Phil Niekro – the game has seen at least 250, but fewer than 90 who threw it regularly. This year, only Boston’s Tim Wakefield, R.A. Dickey of the Mets and Los Angeles Dodger Charlie Haeger are regulars at it.

Sparks was your regular fastball, curveball, slider, changeup pitcher before the Brewers approached him about making a radical change.

“I played professionally for 19 years but my first five or six years I was a conventional pitcher,” Sparks said. “I was kind of stalling out at the Double-A level, and the Milwaukee Brewers, the team I was with in the minor leagues at that point, felt like I might be a good candidate for the knuckleball because being shorter in stature helps (he’s 6-feet tall) and also I had pretty clean mechanics.

“They gave me a three-year plan and I started back over in Single-A, and by the end of that three years I was knocking on the door.”

According to Sparks, it was a lot of trial and error in the beginning, but eventually a coach hooked him up with big league knuckleballer Tom Candiotti.

“I had about five pages worth of questions to ask him over the telephone,” Sparks said. “And then actually got a chance to meet him at the Houston Astrodome at the tail end of one of his seasons with the Dodgers and that was very beneficial. It’s a very close fraternity of knuckleball pitchers, and Candiotti, for myself, was probably the most helpful. He was kind of a hybrid knuckleball pitcher, where he threw a lot of curves and sliders and fastballs, and that’s what I did a lot.

“The biggest luxury for me at the major league level was the bounce back factor. You didn’t have to rely on velocity three or four days after you pitched. You could go out there, and as long as you had good feel and took the spin off the ball you had a chance to be successful.”

And while Sparks played with and against a number of Hall of Famers over the years, he grew up in Tulsa, Okla., with fellow pitcher Tom Seaver as his favorite player.

“In 1969 I was five years old and my father taught me how to read the box scores,” Sparks said. “That was the year the Mets had their miracle season, Tom Seaver was the best player on that team at that time, and that’s who I stuck with.”

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

Photographic memories

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muader

The Dec. 6 Veterans Committee meetings had just broken up when Tom Seaver pulled me aside.

“Where’s my cameraman? I want you to take a photo of me with this gentleman,” Seaver said, pointing to fellow Hall of Famer and Veterans Committee member Robin Roberts.

05-06-10-Muder_RobertsSeaver.jpgWith my palms sweating as the camera focused on 597 big league victories, I pressed the button then showed the image to Seaver.

“I’m keeping this one,” said Tom Terrific, turning to Roberts to start a conversation about pitching, hitting and the craft of baseball.

It seemed whenever Robin Roberts was around, those in his company knew that it was a special moment.

The world lost a legend on Thursday morning when Roberts passed away at age 83. With him went a large part of an era – a time when pitchers completed their starts and rarely missed their turn in the rotation. Roberts was one of the best at both, posting 305 complete games (the most of any pitcher who began his big league career after World War II) and never missing a start in the 1950s.

But he was more than just his numbers. A member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Board of Directors and a frequent participant in Museum programs, Roberts exhibited an easy-going quality that helped others relax around a baseball immortal.

Sitting next to him after snapping the picture, I got the feeling that this was a man that was truly comfortable in his own skin.

We should all be so lucky.

Thank you, Tom, for your foresight in asking for a picture. And thank you, Robin, for letting us know the true meaning of the world “gentleman.”

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

Lucky 10,000

Hayes_90.jpgBy Trevor Hayes

Colby Lessmann became a fan of the Hall of Fame on Facebook last week because he wanted to stay in touch. Little did he know that by clicking the “Become a fan” button on www.facebook.com/baseballhall, he’d be getting more than updates on his News Feed.

04-15-10-Hayes_Kauffman.jpgLessmann just happened to be Facebook fan number 10,000 – a mark the Hall reached in just over a year after launching on Opening Day 2009. To honor him, the Hall of Fame has given away an individual membership. As a Member, Lessmann receives a subscription to the Hall’s bi-monthly Memories and Dreams magazine, a Hall of Fame Yearbook, complimentary admission, a Tom Seaver membership card and lapel pin and a 10 percent discount and free shipping on all purchases through the Hall of Fame store at www.baseballhall.org/shop.

A baseball-lifer, Lessmann has been a fan since his early childhood, continuing to play the game through college and now as an amateur at age 37. He grew up four hours north of Kansas City and watched the glory years of the Royals, led by Hall of Famer George Brett. Many of Brett’s heroic feats serve as Lessmann’s greatest baseball moments.

“Back in the 80′s my family and I went to a Royals game,” Lessmann said of his favorite memory. “It turned out Brett had been injured, but he pinch hit in the ninth inning. When he came out on deck the crowd went crazy. He came up and jacked a home run over the right field wall and the stadium went wild.”

04-15-10-Hayes_Brett.jpgAn ardent Royals fan, he’s been to at least one game in K.C. each year since 1979, but growing up in Iowa also provided the chance to easily travel to games in Minnesota and Chicago. As an adult he’s taken that passion to a new level and vowed to visit every major league stadium.

“Of course, it is getting more difficult because they keep building new stadiums,” Lessmann said. Among his conquests have been the brand new Target Field, Safeco Field, Chase Field, AT&T Park, Comerica Park, Great American Ballpark and 16 others past and present.

He’s also writing on the history of baseball in his hometown of Sioux City, Iowa. And After doing some research for the book through the Library, Lessmann sought out the Hall’s Facebook page.

“The Research Center at the Hall of Fame helped me out., (so I) wanted to be a fan to show my appreciation for a great museum and research facility” he said. “I have visited the Hall of Fame a few years ago and plan to go back in the future. I went probably 10 years ago when I was in northern New York State.  My favorite memory was viewing all of the old memorabilia of Ruth, Gehrig and other greats. It is a great experience that any baseball fan should pursue.”

Now as both a Facebook fan and a Hall of Fame member, he can continue re-living the great moments in baseball history with his connection to the game. Make sure you don’t miss out on the Facebook action at www.facebook.com/baseballhall.

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

Big stars — and a little fun

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

INDIANAPOLIS — The man with the “GTS” monogram on his sweater looked around the room, then asked: “Where’s my cameraman?”

Camera in hand — and with far less photography skills than worthy of the event — I darted over to the two gentlemen in the chairs. They had just wrapped up Sunday’s afternoon Veterans Committee for Executives and Pioneers meeting at Baseball’s Winter Meetings in Indianapolis, and they wanted to capture their moment.

12-07-09-Muder_RobertsSeaver.jpgJust two guys, 597 major league victories — and a whole lot of little boy in both of them.

“I’m keeping this one,” said George Thomas Seaver, who couldn’t resist the chance to pose with fellow Hall of Famer Robin Roberts. “How many wins do we have here?”

Let’s see: 286 for Roberts, 311 for Seaver. Then, two of the best right-handed pitchers in history began doing what every pitcher does: They compared hitting statistics.

“I had four career stolen bases, and was never caught,” said Seaver.

“You got me there,” said Roberts. “I only had three steals. But I did something not even Babe Ruth did: I hit home runs from both sides of the plate.”

Seaver was duly impressed — so much so that the three-time Cy Young Award winner dropped into his best “We’re Not Worthy” pose, saluting the switch-hitting Roberts from the carpeted floor.

In a flash, the two friends were on their way — ready to pick up the conversation this summer in Cooperstown during the July 23-26 Hall of Fame Weekend. Two of baseball’s greatest, still in love with the game they played.

A moment to remember.

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

A visit with history

Idelson_90.jpgBy Jeff Idelson

The job requirements that come with being president of the Hall of Fame are diverse, but one of the great elements is staying in touch with our Hall of Fame members.

12-07-09-Idelson_Seaver.jpgWe have 65 living legends, many of whom I see several times annually. It’s important for the Hall of Fame that I maintain and grow these relationships, as they are the lifeblood of the Hall of Fame. These are the men who bestow the virtues of Cooperstown upon fans across the country.

Just before Thanksgiving, I made a trip west to see Tom Seaver, Willie McCovey and Bobby Doerr. I met McCovey at his home south of San Francisco in the Peninsula area, and then had dinner with Willie and his friend of 50 years, Rocky Dudem, near Willie Mac’s home. We talked about the state of the Giants, what’s new in Cooperstown and how much Willie missed attending Hall of Fame Weekend this year.

A few days later I ventured north to Napa Valley to visit with Tom and Nancy Seaver. Tom’s added a new chapter to his life as a wine maker. GTS Vineyards bottles Cabernet and is terrific. For Tom, he approaches his new career as he did his playing career. “It’s all about the journey,” No. 41 said to me as he greeted me in blue jeans and a work shirt with a pair of pruning shears in his back pocket.  As we walked the vineyard, it became obvious that creating the product was as – if not more – important than distributing the wine.

12-07-09-Idelson_Doerr.jpgA quick flight to Portland, Ore., the following morning, followed by a two-hour drive south on I-5 to Junction City, brought me to the home of Bobby Doerr. Getting to Bobby’s house reminded me of driving in central New York. “Take the 5 south, take a right at a stop sign, go over a bridge for 5 miles, and a left will get you to my house,” said Doerr prior to my visit.

A man of great character, the 91-year old Doerr — the Hall of Fame’s oldest living player — greeted me with a big smile. As we sat in the living room of his modest ranch-style home amidst 150 acres of virgin farm land, Doerr reveled how he and his father-in-law had built the home he shared with his late wife Monica two years after he retired in 1951. He proudly showed me a recent picture he found, one of Bobby in his Little League uniform, with his dad and brother.

After lunch in an area restaurant that used to be a bank, I dropped Bobby home and headed north to Portland.

Seeing our Hall of Famers in the natural surroundings reminded me that these men are just like any of us. They care about their community, are proud and have a great zest for life outside of baseball — as they did when playing.

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

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