Results tagged ‘ Tony Gwynn ’

Rising in the fall

Hayes_90.jpgBy Trevor Hayes

A look at some of baseball’s record chasers as the last month of the season gets under way:


9-4-09-Hayes_HowardKlein.jpgRanking Ryan:
With August coming to a close, Ryan Howard cemented his name in the Phillies record book yet again. Last Friday marked his third multi-homer game of the month, tying the Phils record for a single calendar month. Among the five others to do it are Hall of Famers Chuck Klein (August 1931) and Mike Schmidt (August 1974 and August 1983). Howard’s teammate Chase Utley (September 2006) is on the list as well.

The last week also saw Howard drive in his 600th career run in just his 693rd game. That’s the fastest for any major-league player since 1946, when Ted Williams collected his 600th RBI in his 675th game.

Elite Pettitte: Though he lost a perfect game bid in the seventh inning, Andy Pettitte’s win on the final day of August made him the third winningest pitcher in Yankees history. He had been tied with Hall of Famer Lefty Gomez at 189. Only Whitey Ford (236) and Red Ruffing (231) have more wins in Yankee history.

9-4-09-Hayes_Uggla.jpgPower at second: Florida’s Dan Uggla belted his 25th homer Wednesday, making him the third second baseman to hit at least 25 dingers in four straight seasons. The others are Alfonso Soriano (2002-05) and Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg (1989-92). Unlike the others, however, Uggla has done it all in the first four years of his career.

Remembering Roberto: In October, the Hall of Fame will hold its second Character and Courage weekend to honor the achievements and spirit of Jackie Robinson, Lou Gehrig and Roberto Clemente. Major League Baseball, meanwhile, is in the midst of its own celebration of the Pirates’ legend.

9-4-09-Hayes_Clemente.jpgWednesday was the eighth annual Roberto Clemente Day, and MLB’s teams announced their nominees for the Roberto Clemente Award, which seeks to find the player “who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.”

Prior to Clemente’s tragic death on New Year’s Eve 1972 while delivering supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua, the award was simply called the Commissioner’s Award. Last year’s winner was NL MVP Albert Pujols, and the names on the award read like a who’s who of the game’s greats since 1971 – the first year it was given out.

Hall of Famers have won the award 13 times, including Willie Mays, who received the honor the first year, Al Kaline, who was the first winner of the award after it was renamed in Clemente’s honor; Clemente’s teammate Willie Stargell. Other Hall of Famers who won the Clemente Award include Brooks Robinson, Lou Brock, Rod Carew, Phil Niekro, Gary Carter, Cal Ripken, Jr., Dave Winfield, Ozzie Smith, Kirby Puckett and Tony Gwynn.

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

Caught in the draft

Berowski_90.jpgBy Freddy Berowski

Monday night, mere moments before the deadline for teams to sign their 2009 amateur draft picks, the Washington Nationals agreed to a record-setting contract with the first overall pick in the draft.

8-19-09-Berowski_StrasburgJackson.jpgAfter failing to sign their first round pick the previous year, the Nationals inked San Diego State fireballing junior Stephen Strasburg to a four-year contract worth in excess of $15 million, smashing the previous record for an amateur contract by nearly five million. If Strasburg had failed to sign with the Nats, he still had several options open, including a return to the Aztecs. His college coach, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, said: “I wanted him to sign. If he didn’t, he had a place to go. But he had nothing else to prove in college baseball. It was time for him to start his pro career.”

But being the first overall selection in the annual amateur draft is by no means a guarantee of success in the major leagues. Since the draft began in 1965, only 19 No. 1 picks have made an All-Star team, and none have been elected to the Hall of Fame. In fact, three players drafted No. 1 prior to 2005 failed to make the major leagues, including Brien Taylor, a hard-throwing high school pitcher selected by the Yankees in 1991 who drew comparisons to Dwight Gooden.

Only four players drafted in the top 10 have been elected to the Hall of Fame. In 1966, the Mets passed on Reggie Jackson and selected catcher Steve Chilcott out of Antelope Valley High School in Lancaster, California. Chilcott never made it past Triple-A. Jackson was taken with the second pick by the Kansas City A’s and is the highest draft pick to earn election to the Hall.

Rounding out the foursome of top ten picks elected to the Hall of Fame are Robin Yount and Dave Winfield, selected with the third and fourth picks respectively in the 1973 draft, and Paul Molitor, taken third overall in 1977.

Induction Week Memories

Hayes_90.jpgBy Trevor Hayes

After this Sunday’s Induction Ceremony at 1:30 p.m. EDT, nine men who have worn the San Diego Padres uniform will have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Of those nine, Lillian Edmondson and Ann Spraker will have seen eight.

7-21-09-Hayes_InductionWeek.jpgThe two women have seen Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Tony Gwynn, Gaylord Perry, Ozzie Smith, Dick Williams and Dave Winfield grace the stage at Clark Sports Center after making the cross-country pilgrimage from San Diego to Cooperstown. Spraker, who is originally from Upstate New York, always made an annual trip, but 20 years ago Edmondson started coming along as well.

“We come to Cooperstown every year because it’s a beautiful place,” Edmondson said on Tuesday. “And the Hall of Fame is great.”

This year the two will see their eighth Padre inducted into the Hall of Fame – they missed the induction of Willie McCovey in 1986 – when Rickey Henderson joins Jim Rice and Joe Gordon as the Induction Class of 2009.

“We had Rickey for a little while and then we traded him, but then he came back and when he came back, he made the game fun, lively and interesting,” Edmondson said. “When Rickey was on base, look out. You never knew what was going to happen.”

Henderson holds a place in Edmondson and Spraker’s hearts, but one man stands above the rest: Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn. Now with Tony Gwynn Jr. playing in San Diego, it’s a bit of a trip back in time.

“It’s fun when you look up at the scoreboard and see a Tony Gwynn batting,” Edmondson said. “We had to be here the year Tony went in as well as Cal Ripken – two very high-class individuals.”

That summer they enrolled in the Hall of Fame Membership Program for the first time – something they’ve done every year since. Spraker said they wanted to make sure they weren’t going to miss out on any of the events.

“We wanted to be sure we didn’t miss out on anything,” Spraker said. “It was the most fantastic week. Everyone was wearing clothes of both teams and just being courteous to each other.”

As veterans of several Inductions prior to 2007, they knew Hall of Fame Weekend provides a lot to do, but a few events are exclusive for members. There are still tickets for a few of this year’s the Member events, including:


7-21-09-Hayes_PLAYBall.jpgFriday July 24 -
PLAY Ball! with Ozzie Smith, an opportunity to interact at Doubleday Field with the Wizard and fellow Hall of Famers Wade Boggs, Harmon Killebrew and Eddie Murray. (8:30 a.m.)

The Legends for Youth Skills Clinic gives children (5 to 12) a chance to enhance their baseball skills with former major leaguers on historic Doubleday Field. (1:30 p.m.)

Saturday July 25 -
At Connecting Generations, audience participants will compete with Goose Gossage, Ryne Sandberg and Dick Williams in a trivia contest moderated by former major leaguer and MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds. (3 p.m., Clark Sports Center)

Monday July 27 -
The Legends Series Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice relive the memories from their playing careers. (10:30 a.m., Clark Sports Center)

To become a member click here and to reserve tickets for Member exclusive Induction Weekend events call 607.547.0397.

Trevor Hayes is editorial production manager for 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.

Future Iron Man in Cooperstown

Carr_90.jpgBy Samantha Carr

Dick and Mary Lue Brown didn’t expect to see anyone famous when they entered the Museum on a summer morning in 1983. They had traveled from their home in Portland, Mich., to Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame Game between the Orioles and Cardinals with their four young sons.

But Dick Brown recognized a star in the Museum, walking around quietly by himself, just taking in the history.

3-26-09-Carr_Ripken.jpg“It was 9:30 in the morning and there was Cal Ripken, holding a bottle of Coke, cordial as all get out,” Brown said. “This was before he knew he would be a Hall of Famer.”

The 22-year-old Ripken was still fairly unknown, despite having won the American League Rookie of the Year Award the previous season. Brown asked if he could take a picture, and Ripken happily agreed.

Ripken singled in the game that weekend, although the Orioles lost, 4-1. The team went on to win the World Series, and Ripken won his first American League Most Valuable Player Award.

Brown told his wife, “If he ever gets into the Hall, I want to be there.”

So, return they did in 2007 with the 1983 photo and a record crowd to see Ripken and Tony Gwynn inducted into the Hall of Fame. Friends who own a bed-and-breakfast in town told the Browns to donate their photo to the Hall’s collection. They made a few copies for themselves, and the Hall of Fame gladly accepted the donation.

The Browns even had a chance to meet Ripken’s brother Billy that weekend. They wanted to give a copy of the photo to the family, and Billy Ripken took down their name and address. A few weeks later, the photo came back in the mail, autographed by Cal Ripken himself.

“On the photo was written, ‘Looks like we’ve come full circle.’ This is such a great memory, and Cal has been such a wonderful ambassador to baseball,” Brown said.

The Browns returned to Cooperstown on Monday, March 23, and got to peek at the file containing the Hall of Fame’s photos of Ripken.

“There are some wonderful photos in there, taken by professional photographers,” Brown said. “To see our photo among them, taken by an average Joe with an Instamatic camera, is pretty special.”

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

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