Results tagged ‘ World Series ’

Opening Day: A National Holiday

By Trevor Hayes

Today should be a national holiday. Close down the schools, shutter the offices, go home and watch baseball.

While I know this will never happen, Opening Day might be the best day of the year. Of course you’ve got the other big holidays, like Christmas, the MLB All-Star Game, New Year’s, the start and finish of the World Series and Thanksgiving. But one thing Opening Day has – shining over all the others – is the fresh start not only of the baseball season but also the beginning of summer. Yes, today’s predicted high of 47 degrees in Cooperstown isn’t exactly summer weather, but you can’t deny thinking of glorious summer days when talking about baseball.

Diehards of perennial basement dwellers like myself (a Royals fan) or say my boss (a Pirates supporter) always welcome the day in which every team is in first – though that’s not exactly true today because of last night’s opener and the Japan Series last week. Regardless, Opening Day is a day of hope, when dreamers see their franchises lifting the World Series trophy.

A fresh start. That’s what today is about. And that’s something that can be applicable to anyone, not just us seamheads who celebrate today more fervently than Columbus Day – a day which many people do get to take off.

The first Opening Day I really remember was 1994. I was too young and too new of a baseball fan – having just moved to Kansas City the prior summer – to have negative many memories of the strike. So for me, that season is marked more by my first real summer of being a baseball fan. And on Opening Day in 1994, in Mrs. Wood’s third grade classroom, the Royals game played. I bragged to my friends that my dad was in the crowd that day and vowed to go the next season. It was the coolest day of school ever, watching baseball while pretending to do math homework at my desk.

Of course it wasn’t until 2007, my first season working for the Royals, that I got to go to my first Opening Day. I skipped two classes to go and my college professors weren’t mad, instead they were jealous that I was going and they had to stay and teach.

This will be my first year not attending the Royals home opener since 2007 and I’m a little sad. Even the last three years while living here in Cooperstown, I’ve flown back home to make my pilgrimage. This year though, I’m holding out my annual Kansas City baseball trek for the All-Star Game, which will be a memorable experience in itself, but I’m sad my streak will end this season and more sad that I probably won’t make it to a major league game in April.

But I know that this Opening Day will be just as memorable as the last 18 I’ve spent as a baseball fan, watching the tickers, coming the Internet for updates while trying to get work done. It’ll be like those years in high school and college when I tried to glean every possible stat I could.

I know I won’t be as productive today as I am normally. How could I? It’s Opening Day. It’s the start to the National Pastime, the beginning of summer and a clean slate. Those sound like good enough reasons to me for a new national holiday.

Hope springs eternal today. I know in my heart the Royals will make the playoffs and win the World Series – and I wish each and every one of you a happy Opening Day!

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

Announcements from Pettitte, Chipper have fans thinking Cooperstown

By Craig Muder

The breaking news has been flying fast and furious out of Spring Training this week.

Chipper Jones is retiring. Andy Pettitte is returning. And the conjecture is resuming: Will either or both of these two fantastic players make it to Cooperstown?

Predicting the future of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame vote is best left to those who have a vote. But the eligibility rules for Hall of Fame candidates remain perfectly clear.

Start with Chipper, who announced Thursday that the 2012 season will be his last as a Braves player. If he plays in at least one game this year and hangs ‘em up as planned, Jones would be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2018. Eligible candidates must not have appeared in a big league game in five straight seasons, meaning Jones would need to stay retired in 2013, ’14, ’15, ’16 and ’17 before he appears on the BBWAA ballot.

The 1999 National League Most Valuable Player has 454 home runs and 1,561 in both the runs and RBI categories – talk about symmetry – entering the 2012 season. Among Hall of Fame third basemen – Chipper has made 82 percent of his big league appearances in the field at the hot corner – only Mike Schmidt and Eddie Mathews have more home runs and only Schmidt and George Brett have more RBI (Jones trails Brett, the Hall of Fame leader among third basemen, by just 35 RBI).

Pettitte, meanwhile, is returning to the big leagues after retiring following the 2010 season. Technically, Pettitte’s Hall of Fame clock has not yet been reset – since that happens only when a player appears in a regular-season game.

As of today, Pettitte remains eligible for the Hall of Fame Class of 2016 – assuming he adds 2012, ’13, ’14 and ’15 to his non-active 2011 season. The 240-game winner, who also holds the MLB record for most postseason wins with 19, has pitched in 16 big league seasons and been a part of eight World Series teams and five World Series champions.

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

Happy Holidays

By Samantha Carr

In the spirit of the Holidays, here is my baseball wish list:

10. Health and happiness to all baseball fans, players, and youth. That means fewer injuries for key players on my favorite team – and I guess yours too.

9. Lots of new artifacts from baseball history to be donated to our collection in Cooperstown. It is like Christmas morning all year long when we unwrap them.

8. For my all-time favorite player to get the 75% of the BBWAA vote and earn election to the Hall of Fame. I could get this good news soon – as he is on this year’s ballot!

7. New records, new feats and new faces for the upcoming baseball season. Who doesn’t love waking up each morning to follow a hitting streak or home run watch on the television baseball highlights? It just makes mornings easier.

6. Sunny weather – but not too hot – on July 22 in Cooperstown. Enough to make it warm and beautiful – but not turn me into a lobster.

5. A World Series Championship for my favorite team. Pretty, pretty please!

4. A fun weekend with my family while we watch as some of the game’s greatest play in the Hall of Fame Classic over Father’s Day Weekend. My family loved meeting Phil Niekro last year!

3. For the 2012 season to bring as much excitement in the second-half and postseason as 2011. I thought there couldn’t be a more exciting day than the last day of the regular season – then Game 6 of the World Series came along.

2. For a fun new year through programming and education at the Baseball Hall of Fame where we will welcome the newest additions to our family – Ron Santo and any other electees that come out of the BBWAA election on Jan. 9. My favorite time of year is when all the Hall of Famers are back home in Cooperstown.

1. I love the holidays, but once they are over, I hope for February to come quick so pitchers and catchers can report. Bring on Spring Training!

I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season – and get ready to PLAY BALL!

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

A Gilded Coal-Hole

By John Odell

World Series winners have long received championship rings to commemorate their historic victories. Today’s players usually receive their rings in a formal ceremony at the start of the new season, often during the first home stand. Prior to the 1920s, however, players received decorated pins or medallions as their personal championship awards, which arrived toward the end of December. At the end of 1908, the Chicago Cubs received their second consecutive World Championship medal—and they were not happy about it.

The Cubs’ 1907 medallion had been made of gold, bore the profile of a bear cub’s head with a diamond in its teeth, and was over 1 1/2 inches in diameter, making it about the size of a silver dollar. Although the 1908 version was also gold, it was less than 3/4” across—smaller than a dime. The players were so disgusted by the award that the Sporting Life, a leading national newspaper, reported on it:

The Emblems
The World’s Championship emblems have duly arrived, and were hailed with much derision by the Cubs, who aver that they look more like a monkey’s dream than the insignia of base ball’s proudest event. They are, to say the least, scrubby and measly, and the boys ridicule them savagely. Just why a Cincinnati firm, which evidently hasn’t taste enough to design a sewer-cover, should be given such a job, is a darksome mystery. Last season’s emblems were so inferiorly constructed that they fell apart, and the boys had to have them reset. This season’s are in the shape of a button, and look like a cross between a sick mince pie and a gilded coal-hole. Joe Tinker says he would not wear his emblem to a dog fight, and the rest of the Cubs are equally outspoken.
–Sporting Life, January 9, 1909

Why do researchers so enjoy plowing through old newspapers, looking for a “find”? Because not only can you uncover wonderful and surprising information, you can get a great read. Modern journalism, while far more professional, is not half as much fun. A coalhole, by the way, is the entrance to an old-fashioned coal chute, often found in a sidewalk, and leading down to the coal bin by the furnace. Think of it as a small manhole cover.

Finally, Cubs fans and foes alike have to wonder what the players’ reactions might have been if they had known that, a century later, they would still be waiting on their next championship.

John Odell is the curator of history and research at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Giving Thanks for Baseball and Family

By Trevor Hayes

I have post-it notes on my bathroom mirror, my front door and my computer monitor. They say things like “Understand where you are,” “Don’t forget to enjoy it,” and “Be thankful.”

When you work at the Hall of Fame – a place people mark on calendars, plan vacations to and pencil in on bucket lists – I’ve found that I sometimes overlook what makes Cooperstown so special. I think to all of us here, it sometimes becomes just going to the office. My desk is in the basement, away from the visitors and artifacts – away from the magic. So I feel like I can’t always be blamed for forgetting.

If I let myself, I could go weeks without setting foot in the actual Museum. But I don’t. In fact over the last few weeks, I’ve given tours of the Hall to friends. About a month ago it was a Royals security guard and his son. The next week, my friend Keith and his die-hard Tiger fan grandparents. Then two weeks ago it was a high school buddy visiting from New York City. It all served as a reminder of how lucky I am – better than my post-its.

The common thread was family. While my fellow Oak Park High alum was alone, he kept he wants to come back with his father. I’m thankful for my father and the time we’ve spent together here. He had surgery last Friday to remove a kidney that most likely had a cancerous cyst.

Hopefully the surgery will be the extent of his battle. But I know from my prior experiences, that one of the best medicines are memories to which you can hold close. My dad helped me move here from Kansas City in 2008. We watched playoff baseball during our first night in town and saw Robin Roberts during a Voices of the Game event, then toured the Hall the next day. My family came for Father’s Day Weekend in 2010. I played catch with my dad at Doubleday and he got to see me working on the field the same field that was hosting legends like Bob Feller, Harmon Killebrew and Ozzie Smith.

Sports – and specifically baseball – have always been a bond between us. He introduced me to athletics and Boy Scouts. I think he did a pretty good job. I’m an Eagle Scout and worked on the same summer camp staff he did. Now I work at the Hall of Fame after two years with the Royals.

Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a few of the other things I’m thankful for are: The fact that I’m in Los Angeles right now with my fiancée and we could go to the beach while it might be snowing in Cooperstown; the Royals – if I get to attend my first All-Star Game in KC next summer that will make my 2012 list; and as a uniform geek the Mets and Blue Jays for ditching black. I’m thankful for a seven-game World Series – despite the Cardinals winning it. I give thanks for the game’s greats, especially my favorite Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig and my favorite Gehrig stat which I try to shoe-horn into every Memories and Dreams, social media post or even casual conversation about him. I’m thankful for stars like Justin Verlander, who can hit triple digits in the seventh and eighth; for movies like Bull Durham, Major League and one of my new favorites Moneyball (so sue me, I’m a stat geek, I loved the book, and I hope Brad Pitt wins the Oscar).

But mostly this year, I’m thankful for my family and for my dad.

Oh, I couldn’t leave it like that. That Lou Gehrig stat: Despite playing in 2,130 consecutive games without taking a day off, when they x-rayed his hands in the late 1930s, they found 17 healed fractures. I’m blown away by that.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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

Top 11 of ’11

By Craig Muder

It’s been eight days since Game 6 of the World Series, and I still haven’t caught my breath.

Watching that ninth inning – and then the 10th – I kept saying: “This can’t happen; this is not going to happen.” Then, it did.

I had no rooting interest, other than wanting to see great baseball. But that game – and really, this season – surpassed anything I could have hoped for.

The Hall of Fame will celebrate the 2011 campaign with the Top 11 Moments of 2011, which will debut Monday on the Museum’s social media channels. Through photographs and video of artifacts representing the best of 2011, we’ll re-live a season that will be remembered long after the final out of the World Series fell into Allen Craig’s glove.

The Museum accessioned over 30 artifacts from MLB this year, thanks to the unending generosity of players and teams. Through those artifacts, we’ll tell the tales of the most memorable moments, records, and accomplishments during seven months of relentlessly exciting baseball.

It all starts Monday on the Museum’s Facebook page and on Twitter with @BaseballHall.

The season is over, but the memories remain in Cooperstown.

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

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Green Bay student wins dream trip to Cooperstown

By Craig Muder

Kelsey Willems’ favorite baseball team, the Milwaukee Brewers, fell just short of their World Series dreams this fall.

But Kelsey and her father Bob got to live the dream of every baseball fan with an October visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Kelsey, an eighth grader at Bay View Middle School in Green Bay, Wis., was selected as the grand prize winner of the annual Step Up to the Plate @ Your Library program. The Hall of Fame and the American Library Association partner for the program, which promotes libraries and librarians as essential information resources.

As a seventh grader, Kelsey entered the contest by answering a series of baseball trivia questions developed by the Hall of Fame’s Library staff.

“Our school librarian, Mrs. Wells, handed us the contest forms when we were doing research on Jackie Robinson,” Kelsey said. “And Miss Cook, our language arts teacher, encouraged us to enter.

“I have to admit: My dad helped me with the answers.”

Kelsey and her father’s reward was a trip to Cooperstown for Saturday’s World Series Gala at the Hall of Fame. Both father and daughter are Brewers fans and sported Brewers T-shirts during their Hall of Fame visit on Saturday, then watched Game 3 of the World Series in the Museum’s Grandstand Theater.

“I had tickets to Game 2 of the World Series if the Brewers had gotten there, so I would have gone to Game 2 on Thursday night and then come here on Saturday,” said Bob Willems. “That didn’t happen, but this is still a very special trip.”

Dad and daughter sought out all the Brewers’ artifacts in the Museum, including Robin Yount’s Hall of Fame plaque and the Brewers’ locker in the Today’s Game exhibit. Kelsey’s favorite Brewers are Nyjer Morgan and Prince Fielder.

“The Museum was a lot bigger than I expected,” Kelsey said.

For more information on the Step Up to the Plate @ Your Library program, please visit http://www.ala.org/@yourlibrary.

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

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