Results tagged ‘ National Baseball Hall of Fame ’
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will salute the ballplayers who served during World War II and honor the contributions of a modern baseball pioneer’s legacy with two special recognitions during the annual Awards Presentation at Hall of Fame Weekend Saturday, July 25, in Cooperstown, N.Y.
The Hall will recognize all the players who served in World War II, with United States Navy Secretary Ray Mabus speaking on behalf of all military branches as America marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. More than 500 major leaguers joined the military during World War II, including Hall of Famers such as Bob Feller, who enlisted in the Navy just days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941; and Hank Greenberg, who re-enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 after being drafted and serving in the Army in 1941 before being honorably discharged Dec. 5, 1941.
Thirty-six Hall of Famers – more than 11 percent of all Hall of Fame members – served during World War II, including eight players with the Yankees: Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Joe Gordon, Johnny Mize, Phil Rizzuto, Red Ruffing and Enos Slaughter. Other Hall of Famers with Yankees connections who served during WWII were executives Larry MacPhail and Lee MacPhail and manager Bob Lemon.
The rest of the Hall of Fame roster of World War II veterans were Feller, Greenberg, Luke Appling, Al Barlick, Willard Brown, Nestor Chylak, Mickey Cochrane, Leon Day, Larry Doby, Bobby Doerr, Charlie Gehringer, Billy Herman, Monte Irvin, Ralph Kiner, Ted Lyons, Stan Musial, Pee Wee Reese, Robin Roberts, Jackie Robinson, Red Schoendienst, Duke Snider, Warren Spahn, Bill Veeck, Ted Williams and Early Wynn.
The Museum will also pay tribute to the legacy and contributions of former Reds, Cardinals and Senators outfielder Curt Flood, whose test of the reserve clause via the United States Supreme Court in 1970 laid the groundwork for the advent of free agency several years later. Major League Players Association executive director Tony Clark will speak on behalf of Flood’s challenge of the system and contributions to the Supreme Court case that led to free agency.
A three-time All-Star and seven-time Gold Glove Award winner in center field, Flood petitioned the Court to allow him to choose his employer instead of being subject to a trade. Flood sat out the 1970 season. That year the Court ruled against Flood in a 5-to-3 decision. His efforts inspired pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally to pick up the fight five years later when they challenged the reserve clause through the players’ right to binding arbitration in 1975. Flood passed away in 1997.
These two special recognitions will join the Museum’s annual presentation of the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcast excellence and the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing. Dick Enberg, the television voice of the Padres, will receive the Frick Award. Tom Gage, who covered the Tigers for the Detroit News for 36 seasons, has been selected the Spink Award winner by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Now in its fifth year, the Awards Presentation takes place at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, July 25, at historic Doubleday Field, the day before the 2015 Induction Ceremony.
Admission for the Awards Presentation is free. The one-hour ceremony precedes the Hall of Fame Parade of Legends, featuring Hall of Fame members in a Main Street parade through Cooperstown.
The Class of 2015 at the Hall of Fame features Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martínez and John Smoltz, who were all elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA in January. More than 50 Hall of Famers are scheduled to be in Cooperstown to honor the Class of 2015 at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, July 26, at the Clark Sports Center, which is one mile south of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
For more information on Hall of Fame Weekend, please visit http://www.baseballhall.org/visit/hall-of-fame-weekend.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame received a donation from Alex Rodriguez of the bat he used Saturday to record his 2,000th career run batted in. The bat will soon arrive in Cooperstown, N.Y., and be added to the museum’s collection. Within a few weeks, the bat will be on display in the museum’s Today’s Game exhibit.
“The Baseball Hall of Fame is the definitive repository for the game’s history,” Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said. “As records, achievements and compelling stories unfold on the field, we recount them in Cooperstown through the generosity of players, teams and fans who generously donate artifacts associated with those milestones to the museum. We extend our gratitude to Alex for donating the bat he used to record his 2,000th RBI to the museum.”
Rodriguez’s 2,000th and 2,001st career RBI came on the same swing when he homered off the Orioles’ Bud Norris in the sixth inning Saturday at Camden Yards, driving in teammate Chase Headley ahead of him. Rodriguez became just the second player to reach the 2,000-RBI plateau along with all-time record holder. The RBI did not become an official statistic until 1920. Historians studying old boxscores have credited Babe Ruth with 2,214 and Cap Anson with 2,075, but those figures are considered unofficial.
The Hall of Fame’s collection contains several artifacts from Rodriguez’s 21-year big league career, including:
A bat from his 2002 season with the Texas Rangers.
His helmet from his 500th career home run in 2007.
Spikes he wore in Game 6 of the 2009 World Series.
A road jersey worn during the 2009 season.
His spikes from his 600th career home run in 2010.
A home jersey on loan from Rodriguez from his 500th career double.
Former Yankees manager Joe Torre, who had his uniform No. 6 retired by the club last year following his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch Monday prior to the team’s 2015 season opener against the Blue Jays at 1:05 p.m. at Yankee Stadium. Torre will also be honored with the Pride of the Yankees Award at the 36th annual Homecoming Dinner following the game.
Gates will open to guests with valid tickets beginning at 10:30 a.m. with ceremonies slated to begin at approximately 12:30 p.m. with the introduction of both teams on the baselines. Fans are reminded to arrive early as new security measures will be in place.
Torre spent 12 seasons as Yankees manager from 1996 through 2007 and guided the team to six World Series appearances (1996, ’98-2001, ’03) and four World Championships (1996, ’98-2000). He compiled a 1,173-767-2 (.605) regular season record and a 76-47 (.618) postseason mark during his Yankees tenure and led the club to the playoffs each year. While with the organization, Torre’s postseason record was 21-11 in the World Series, 27-14 in the American League Championship Series and 28-22 in the AL Division Series. His regular-season victory total is second in club history only to Joe McCarthy, who went 1,460-867 (.627) over 16 seasons (1931-46).
The United States Military Academy at West Point Band will perform the national anthem and a giant American flag will be unfurled by 75 West Point Cadets. The West Point Color Guard will present the colors. During the seventh-inning stretch, Paul Nolan, currently starring in the Broadway musical Doctor Zhivago and formerly of the Tony Award-winning musical Once, will perform “God Bless America.”
Following Opening Day, the Yankees will continue their six-game homestand with two additional games against Toronto (Wednesday-Thursday, April 8-9) and a three-game set against the Red Sox (Friday-Sunday, April 10-12). Ticket specials will run Wednesday, April 8 (Military Personnel/Senior Citizen/Student Game) and Thursday, April 9 (MasterCard $5/Military Personnel Game).
For a complete list of ticket specials, including game dates, seating locations, and terms and conditions, fans should visit http://www.yankees.com/ticketspecials. Please note that all ticket specials are subject to availability.
The homestand will also feature the following promotional items and dates:
Friday, April 10 – Yankees vs. Red Sox, 7:05 p.m.
Yankees Magnetic Schedule Night, presented by AT&T, to all in attendance.
Saturday, April 11 – Yankees vs. Red Sox, 1:05 p.m.
Yankees Calendar Day, presented to all in attendance.
Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.yankees.com, http://www.yankeesbeisbol.com, at the Yankee Stadium Ticket Office, via Ticketmaster phone at 877-469-9849, Ticketmaster TTY at 800-943-4327 and at all Ticket Offices located within Yankees Clubhouse Shops. Tickets may also be purchased on Yankees Ticket Exchange at http://www.yankees.com/yte, the only official online resale marketplace for Yankees fans to purchase and resell tickets to Yankees games. Fans with questions may call 211-YANKEES [926-5337] or email email@example.com.
The Babe returned to Yankee Stadium Tuesday night. Well, Babe Ruth’s Hall of Fame plaque did anyway.
For the first time since the plaque was positioned in the National Baseball Hall of Fame for its opening in 1939, it was taken out of Cooperstown. The plaque was placed on a podium behind the batting cage before the game where players got to see it and was on view in the Yankees Museum presented by Bank of America after the first pitch and through the eighth inning.
The plaque will also be on display Wednesday in the Vanderbilt Room of Grand Central Terminal in support of Metro-North’s “Getaway Day Staycation Showcase Featuring I Love NY’s Path Through History.”
Next month, the Hall of Fame will celebrate Ruth’s unparalleled legacy with a new exhibit dedicated to a true American icon.
Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend will debut with a dedication ceremony at 10 a.m. Friday, June 13, at the Cooperstown shrine as the baseball world marks the 100th anniversary season of his big league debut. The Museum has long allocated precious exhibit space to Ruth – a member of the inaugural Class of 1936 at the Hall of Fame – but the new 180-square foot presentation will feature a completely fresh look at a player who set standards that have yet to be eclipsed.
“The name ‘Babe Ruth’ is recognized around the world even today, more than three-quarters of a century after his election to the Hall of Fame,” Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said. “The Museum’s Babe Ruth Gallery has long been one of our most popular exhibits, and the re-curated presentation will bring to life the story of a player who truly transcended the game.”
Made possible by gifts from Jay and Patty Baker, the Ford Motor Company an anonymous benefactor, Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend presents the story of the Sultan of Swat in scrapbook form, taking the visitor from Ruth’s earliest days to his peak as a player and through his post-career life as one of America’s most beloved figures. The new exhibit will be located on the Museum’s second floor.
Born Feb. 6, 1895 in Baltimore, Ruth emerged from an orphanage to debut in the big leagues July 11, 1914. After spending his first years in the majors as a dominant left-handed pitcher, Ruth moved from the Red Sox’s rotation to the Yankees’ outfield – and became the game’s biggest drawing card on the strength of his prodigious power. His record of 714 career home runs stood for almost four decades.
Ruth became the first star of a world where virtually every citizen could share in common media experiences. The Museum’s new exhibit will allow visitors to encounter Ruth’s grandeur in the words of the people who witnessed his legendary exploits.
Featuring rare documents like the agreement that transferred Ruth from the Baltimore Orioles of the International League to the Red Sox in 1914 and memorable artifacts such as the jersey Ruth wore June 13, 1948 at his retired number ceremony, Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend is poised to stand the test of time – just like Ruth himself.
For more information, please visit http://www.baseballhall.org/hof/ruth-babe.
Babe Ruth’s Hall of Fame plaque will be leaving Cooperstown, N.Y., for the first time and will travel to New York City next week. It will be on display Tuesday at Yankee Stadium and Wednesday at Grand Central Terminal in support of Metro-North’s “Getaway Day Staycation Showcase Featuring I Love NY’s Path Through History.”
Elected in the original class to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in 1936, Ruth made his major league debut 100 years ago this season July 11, 1914. In honor of his 100th anniversary in the majors, the Hall is opening a new gallery in his honor, Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend, Friday, June 13, one day after the museum celebrates its 75th anniversary.
Tuesday, the Ruth plaque will be a part of an on-field pre-game ceremony hosted by the Yankees in recognition of the Ruth exhibit opening in Cooperstown. The Ruth plaque will then be on display for fans to see in the Yankees Museum presented by Bank of America at the Stadium, from approximately 7:30 p.m. through the end of the eighth inning of the Yankees’ game against the Mets.
The plaque will be featured in Metro-North’s “Getaway Day Staycation Showcase Featuring Path Through History” from 11:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal. The plaque will be a part of the museum’s presence to promote New York State’s “Path Through History” Weekend to Cooperstown and the central Leatherstocking Region June 12-14. The Path Through History, launched by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, highlights historically and culturally significant sites and events throughout New York State, and the special Path Through History weekends are designed to make it easy to experience the Empire State’s rich heritage and diverse attractions.
The Ruth plaque will remain on display at the Hall of Fame through Sunday, May 11 and will be back on display in the Hall’s Gallery Thursday, May 15. For more information, please visit http://www.baseballhall.org/hof/ruth-babe.
This time he means it.
Andy Pettitte knows what retirement is all about. He experienced it in 2011 but decided to come back and pitch again in 2012. Friday he announced his retirement again for good.
“I was 100-percent convinced coming into the season that this would be it,” Pettitte said. “I came back last year and broke my leg, which put a wrinkle in that. I just felt now was the time. There was nothing that would happen during the season that would change my mind.”
Petttite had lunch with Mariano Rivera while the team was in Toronto earlier this week. Mo told Andy he needed to make an announcement to the fans. Pettitte said he was reluctant to take away from Rivera’s special day Sunday when the Yankees plan a ceremony in the closer’s honor. The Yankees’ starting pitcher that day will be Pettitte.
Rivera insisted this was the best time. And it seems to work out perfectly all around for Pettitte because his final start of the regular season will be next weekend in Houston not far from his Deer Park, Texas, home against the Astros for whom he pitched for three seasons, including that franchise’s only World Series appearance in 2005.
“I’m announcing my retirement prior to the conclusion of our season because I want all of our fans to know now—while I’m still wearing this uniform—how grateful I am for their support throughout my career,” Pettitte said. “I want to have the opportunity to tip my cap to them during these remaining days and thank them for making my time here with the Yankees so special.
“I’ve reached the point where I know that I’ve left everything I have out there on that field. The time is right. I’ve exhausted myself, mentally and physically, and that’s exactly how I want to leave this game. One of the things I struggled with in making this announcement now was doing anything to take away from Mariano’s day Sunday. It is his day. He means so much to me, and has meant so much to my career that I would just hate to somehow take the attention away from him.”
Pettitte, 41, has a 255-152 (.627) career record with a 3.86 ERA in 3,300 innings over 529 games (519 starts) inn 18 seasons with the Yankees (1995-2003, ’07-10, ’12-13) and Astros (2004-06). At 103 games over .500 in his career, Pettitte is the only active pitcher—and one of 26 pitchers in baseball history—to post a record of 100-or-more games over .500. Of the 25 other pitchers to accomplish the feat, 18 have been enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
“I don’t think about the Hall of Fame unless I’m asked about it,” Pettitte said. “I feel blessed that people will bring my name into that conversation. Have I been a pitcher who dominated? Every game has been a grind for me. I’d continue to pitch if [the Hall of Fame] was a desire of mine. I wouldn’t have retired in the first place.”
Originally selected by the Yankees in the 22nd round of the 1990 First-Year Player Draft, Pettitte has played 15 seasons with the club, going 218-126 with a 3.95 ERA and 2,009 strikeouts in 445 games (436 starts) and 2,780 innings. He is the franchise leader in strikeouts and is on pace to finish his career tied with Whitey Ford (438) for the most starts in Yankees history.
Pettitte trails only Ford (236 victories, 3,171 innings) and Red Ruffing (231 victories, 3,168 innings) in winning decisions and innings pitched with the Yankees and ranks fifth in franchise history in appearances. He appeared in eight career World Series (seven with the Yankees) and won championships in 1996, ‘98, ’99, 2000 and ’09.
Andy is the all-time winningest pitcher in postseason history with a 19-11 record and 3.81 ERA (276.2IP, 117ER) in 44 career starts totaling 276 2/3 innings. He also ranks first all time in postseason starts and innings pitched and is second with 183 strikeouts. His personal career postseason victory total is more than that of eight other franchises (Royals 18, Diamondbacks 17, Mariners 15, Brewers 14, Padres 12, Rays 11, Rockies 9, Expos/Nationals 7).
With the Yankees in postseason play, Pettitte is 18-10 with a 3.76 ERA (251.1IP, 105ER) in 40 career starts and 251 1/3 innings. While winning his final World Series with the Yankees in 2009, he became the first pitcher in baseball history to start and win the clinching game of all three series in a single postseason (ALDS vs. the Twins, ALCS vs. the Angels and World Series against the Phillies).
This season, Pettitte has gone 10-10 with 3.93 ERA (169.1IP, 74ER) in 28 starts and 169 1/3 innings. He struck out the Red Sox’ David Ross Sept. 6 to become the first Yankees pitcher in franchise history to reach 2,000 strikeouts with the club. With his 10 wins in 2013, he has earned at least 10 victories in 14 different seasons for the Yankees, surpassing Ford (13) to set a club record.
Pettitte will finish his career as one of 12 players to spend at least 15 seasons with the Yankees. He joins teammates Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera with 19 apiece, Todd Helton (17 with the Rockies) and Paul Konerko (15 with the White Sox) as the only active players to have spent at least 15 seasons with their current team. Pettitte has earned the victory in games in which Rivera also earned a save 72 times, the highest victory-save combination for any pair of pitchers since saves became an official statistic in 1969.
The Louisiana-born, Texas-raised lefthander was a three-time All-Star (1996, 2001, ’10) and the 2001 ALCS Most Valuable Player. He is the only pitcher in major league history to pitch at least 17 seasons (1995-2010, ’12) without having a losing record. Pettitte also posted a winning record in each of the first 13 seasons of his career (1995-2007), the third-longest such streak to begin a career, trailing only Hall of Famers Grover Cleveland Alexander (17) and Cy Young (15).
“The only regret I have in my career is my time with HGH,” Pettitte said in reference to his admission of using the performance-enhancing drug to overcome an injury. “I never tried to cheat the game. I hate it that if any young person would think that I cheated the game. I would like to be remembered as a great teammate who took the ball every day and gave it all I got.”
The Yankees will pay homage to Mariano Rivera, Major League Baseball’s career saves leader and the acknowledged greatest closing relief pitcher of all time, during the club’s last homestand that begins Friday night against the Giants. San Francisco will make its first visit to the current Yankee Stadium in the third regular-season series between the clubs that have been World Series opponents seven times.
Six of their Series meetings occurred when the Giants were also based in New York in upper Manhattan across the Harlem River from the Stadium in the Polo Grounds where all the games were played in both 1921 and 1922 when the Yankees were tenants. The Giants won the first two series, but the Yankees came back to win the next five, starting with 1923, the year the original Stadium opened. The Bombers also triumphed in 1936, 1937, 1951 and 1962, the latter being the only one between them after the Giants moved to the Bay Area.
Prior to Friday’s 7:05 p.m. game WCBS Radio voice John Sterling will preside over a ceremony in which Ichiro Suzuki will donate a jersey from his 4,000th-hit game Aug. 21 to representatives of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, president Jeff Idelson and vice president of communications and education Brad Horn.
The first 10,000 people aged 14 and younger in attendance for Saturday’s 1:05 p.m. game will receive a Limited-Edition TY Beanie Buddy named “Closer” in honor of Rivera presented by DKNY. The limited-edition TY Beanie Buddy also includes a Mariano Rivera commemorative patch sewn on its chest.
Sunday’s 1:05 p.m. game, which is sold out, will feature a pregame ceremony honoring Mo for his landmark career. Additionally, all fans in attendance Sunday will receive a Mariano Rivera “Thank You Fans” Photo presented by Yankees-Steiner Collectibles. Fans attending the game are strongly encouraged to be in their seats by 12:30 p.m. to enjoy the ceremonies. Tickets for this game may be purchased at Yankees Ticket Exchange (www.yankees.com/yte), the safe and secure online resale marketplace for Yankees fans to purchase and resell tickets to Yankees games.
The Rays come to the Stadium for the home series finale Tuesday through Thursday, Sept. 24-26.
The first 18,000 people in attendance for Tuesday’s 7:05 p.m. game will receive a Mariano Rivera Bobblehead presented by AT&T. This game is also part of the Yankees ticket special calendar as a Military Personnel Ticket Special, Tuesday Night Ticket Special and as an E-Saver Game. Please visit http://www.yankees.com/ticketspecials and http://www.yankees.com/esaver for more information.
Wednesday’s 7:05 p.m. game will feature a Yankees Charlie Brown Bobblehead presented by MetLife given to the first 18,000 people in a attendance. This game is also part of the Yankees ticket special calendar as a Military Personnel Ticket Special, Student Game and as an E-Saver Game. Please visit http://www.yankees.com/ticketspecials and http://www.yankees.com/esaver for more information.
Thursday’s 7:05 p.m. game, which is sold out, will mark the Yankees’ final regular season game of the season at the Stadium. Tickets for this game may also be purchased at Yankees Ticket Exchange (www.yankees.com/yte).
Ticket specials available for select games during the homestand:
E-Saver Games (Sept. 24 and 25) – Fans can register at http://www.yankees.com/esaver to receive e-mail ticket offers for the E-Saver Games available only to Yankees e-mail subscribers.
Military Personnel Ticket Special (Sept. 24 and 25) – Active military members can present their military identification card at designated Yankee Stadium Ticket Windows and receive one complimentary ticket in the Grandstand Level or Bleachers, or purchase one half-price ticket in other areas in the Stadium excluding the Legends Suite, Champions Suite, Delta SKY360° Suite, Jim Beam Suite and Audi Yankees Club. Tickets may be purchased only on the day of the game, beginning two hours before the scheduled start time of the game at Stadium Ticket Windows, adjacent to Gate 4.
Student Games (Sept. 25) – Students who present their valid high school or college ID cards when purchasing tickets can receive one half-price ticket in designated seating locations. Tickets may be purchased only on the day of the game on Sept. 25 at Stadium Ticket Windows, adjacent to Gate 4.
Tuesday Night Games Ticket Special (Sept. 24) – Fans can purchase tickets in select areas of the Grandstand Level and receive up to 25 percent off the advance ticket price. Tickets may be purchased in advance or on the day of the game.
Visit http://www.yankees.com/tickets for tickets and more information.
Longtime Yankees favorite and Latin Grammy Award-nominated recording artist Bernie Williams has joined the lineup of performers for next year’s celebration concert to honor the 75th anniversary of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Williams played on four World Series championship teams for the Yankees and was the Most Valuable Player of their American League Championship Series triumph over the Orioles in 1996. The six-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner is enjoying a post-baseball career as a guitarist and songwriter and has had two No. 1 singles on Billboard’s contemporary jazz charts.
Among the selections Williams will perform will be “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” from his 2009 album, Moving Forward, with the world-renowned Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, which will serve as the house band for the 75th anniversary concert Aug. 2, 2014 at Cooperstown, N.Y.
“I am honored to be performing with the Boston Pops in celebrating the Hall of Fame’s 75th anniversary next year,” Williams said. “The event will be a great celebration of baseball and music, so I hope you’ll plan to join us in Cooperstown next August.”
The concert will be produced by LGH19 Productions and will be part of a 12-month musical celebration that includes an ongoing silent auction to benefit the Hall of Fame. VIP tickets may be purchased on the official concert website – http://www.cooperstownconcert.com. Additional information may be found on http://www.bernie51.com.
There is no question that what Ichiro Suzuki has done is an amazing accomplishment. Banging out 4,000 hits in a professional baseball career is nothing short of astounding. Yet in his case some perspective is in order. Those who are already comparing Ichiro to the major leagues’ only 4,000-hit batters, Pete Rose and Ty Cobb, are not entirely accurate.
Suzuki’s 4,000 hits are a combined total, that of 2,722 here in the major leagues and 1,278 in Japan’s Pacific League. That is why his achievement is more in line with Henry Aaron and Stan Musial than with Rose and Cobb, who surpassed 4,000 hits entirely in the majors, Rose with 4,256 and Cobb with 4,189.
Aaron and Musial also had more than 4,000 hits if you count what they did in the minor leagues. Aaron had 3,771 career hits. Add his 324 hits in the minors and you get 4,095 (and that’s not counting what he had in the Negro Leagues, a number no one is quite sure of). Musial had 3,630 career hits. Add his 371 hits in the minors and you get 4,001.
Like it or not, Ichiro falls into their category.
Why? All he has to do is look at his American League Rookie of the Year trophy for the answer. If he was considered a rookie when he broke into the majors with the Mariners in 2001, then the statistics Suzuki piled up in Japan were not considered equal to the major-league standard. That is the opinion of Major League Baseball.
You can argue left and right about whether that is fair or not, but the fact is that if Ichiro was considered a rookie in 2001 then the hits he had in Japan are akin to what minor league records are in North America.
This issue was first broached in 1995 when Dodgers pitcher Hideo Nomo began the migration of Asian players to the majors. As the secretary-treasurer of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and responsible for conducting the annual awards voting, I contacted the commissioner’s office for a clarification of Nomo’s status. Did he or did he not qualify for the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award?
Yes, I was told, which was not good news for Chipper Jones that year. He finished second to Nomo in the voting. The reasoning used was that players who entered the majors from the Negro Leagues in the late 1940s and early 1950s were considered rookies in the majors even though they had been professionals playing in organized leagues, and that Asian players entering the majors fit the same profile. That opened the door for Kazuhiro Sasaki and Ichiro to also win Rookie of the Year honors in 2000 and 2001, respectively, the same way that Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe, Sam Jethroe, Willie Mays, Joe Black and Junior Gilliam won the award five decades earlier.
Not all the writers agreed with this viewpoint. Some still don’t. I remember how upset Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner was in 2003 when Hideki Matsui finished second to Royals shortstop Angel Berroa for AL Rookie of the Year. Two writers on that committee later admitted that they did not believe Matsui should have been considered a rookie and left him off their ballots.
Steinbrenner called me personally to complain about the balloting. I told him the two writers’ prejudice was expressed after the fact. How could I know when counting the ballots what was on the minds of every voter? I told him that if those writers had told me of their opinions beforehand I would have excused them from voting and replaced them. On Rookie of the Year ballots, it clearly states that players from foreign leagues who are in their first year of play in the American or National League are considered rookies.
What I am getting at is that it is a bit murky about how we should treat the statistics that Nomo, Ichiro and Matsui put up in Japan in comparison to their major-league achievements. In no way am I undermining what Ichiro has done. I have already written stories in two prominent Japanese publications that Ichiro is on a fast track to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
What Suzuki has done in the States is phenomenal — 10 straight seasons of 200 or more hits and the all-time record for hits in a single season (262 in 2004), breaking the previous mark of Hall of Fame first baseman George Sisler of the old St. Louis Browns that stood for 83 years. Despite that, Ichiro cannot fairly be placed in the same category with Rose and Cobb, but I would take being compared with the Hammer and the Man any day of the week.
Two of the most important figures in the legendary history of the Yankees – Col. Jacob Ruppert and Lou Gehrig – will be the center of attention during the National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend.
Ruppert, the team’s owner from 1915 until his death in January 1939, will be inducted into the Hall in ceremonies Sunday with two other deceased electees by the Pre-Integration Era Veterans Committee, 19th century catcher Deacon White and early 20th century umpire Hank O’Day.
Gehrig, who was elected to the Hall of Fame by acclamation in 1939, will be among 12 former Hall of Famers who were never officially inducted in ceremonies at Cooperstown and will have their plaques read by current Hall of Famers as part of Sunday’s event at the Clark Sports Center.
On Saturday at Doubleday Field, the Hall will pay tribute to the late Blue Jays radio voice Tom Cheeks with the Ford C. Frick Award for major contributions to baseball broadcasting and longtime Philadelphia reporter and columnist Paul Hagen with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for meritorious contributions to baseball writing.
On the same program, the Hall will also honor Legendary Entertainment chief executive officer Thomas Tull, whose studio produced the Jackie Robinson biopic 42 as well as the honoring of Dr. Frank Jobe, who pioneered the surgical procedure now known as “Tommy John Surgery.” John, who pitched in 26 major-league seasons and was a two-time 20-game winner during his eight years with the Yankees, will also be featured.
Former Yankees Whitey Ford, Wade Boggs, Goose Gossage, Rickey Henderson, Phil Niekro and Gaylord Perry are among the 40 living Hall of Famers who will participate in both days’ ceremonies.
Ruppert, heir to one of New York’s most successful breweries and a four-term United States congressman, purchased the Yankees in January 1915 with partner Tillinghast L’Hommedieu Huston. Under Ruppert’s stewardship, the Yankees went from being an annual American League also-ran into an annual powerhouse. In his 24 seasons as owner, the Yankees won the first 10 of their 40 pennants and the first seven of their 27 World Series championships. It was Ruppert who put the pinstripes in the Yankees’ uniform, purchased the contract of Babe Ruth from the Red Sox and built the original Yankee Stadium.
Representing Ruppert, who never married, at the ceremony will be his great grandniece, Anne Vernon.
Click this link to view the Yankees on Demand special about Col. Jacob Ruppert.
Gehrig’s 15-season career with the Yankees occurred entirely during Ruppert’s ownership. Lou was forced into retirement because of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease that since has borne his name, in 1939.
Although Gehrig is usually listed in the Hall of Fame class of 1939, he was never formally inducted. George Sisler, Eddie Collins and Willie Keeler were inducted that summer when the museum first opened. Gehrig was still an active player and did not retire until season’s end.
At the Winter Meetings in December in Cincinnati, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America voted to suggest that Gehrig be inducted immediately and not wait until the next election, which was not until 1942. The Hall accepted the BBWAA’s suggestion, but since the induction ceremonies had already taken place Gehrig was never officially inducted through any ceremony. He died in 1941.
Induction Weekend ceremonies were not held annually during the early 1940s because of travel restrictions during World War II. The Hall will rectify that this year by reading the plaques of Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby (who was elected by the BBWAA in 1942) and 10 Veterans Committee electees in 1945 none of whom was ever officially inducted.
Cal Ripken Jr., who broke Gehrig’s record of 2,130 consecutive games in 1995 and pushed it to 2,632 before ending it in 1998 in a game at Camden Yards against the Yankees, will read the Gehrig plaque.
Hall of Fame board vice chairman Joe Morgan will read the plaque of his fellow second baseman, Hornsby.
Handling the plaque-reading duties for the other Hall of Famers will be Carlton Fisk for Roger Bresnahan, Orlando Cepeda for Dan Brouthers, Bert Blyleven for Fred Clarke, Wade Boggs for Jimmy Collins, Billy Williams for Ed Delahanty, Jim Rice for Hugh Duffy, Ozzie Smith for Hughie Jennings, Andre Dawson for Mike “King” Kelly, Tony Gwynn for Jim O’Rourke and Tommy Lasorda for Wilbert Robinson.
Prior to Saturday’s Awards Presentation on the stage at Doubleday Field, the Hall will honor the 75th anniversary of Abbott & Costello’s Who’s On First? routine and the 125th anniversary of Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s poem Casey at the Bat at a special 3:30 p.m. pre-show program. A live performance of Who’s On First? by Gil “Bud” Palmer and Lou Sciara, noted for their portrayal of the classic comedy duo, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, will be followed by Hall of Fame director of research Tim Wiles’ recitation of Casey At The Bat. Gates open at 3 p.m. and admission is free.
After the Awards Presentation, the fourth annual Hall of Fame Parade of Legends will feature the Hall of Famers riding down Main Street in trucks provided by the Ford Motor Company en route to a private reception at the Museum.
MLB Network will televise the Awards Presentation at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, July 28 prior to the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, which will be cablecast live on MLB Network beginning at 1:30 p.m. Greg Amsinger and 2004 J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner Peter Gammons will be the co-hosts.