Results tagged ‘ National Baseball Hall of Fame ’
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.
Brad Horn, the National Baseball Hall of Fame director of communications and education, was at Yankee Stadium Saturday and got a special bonus on his mission. Brad was here to pick up items from CC Sabathia’s 200th career victory July 3 at Target Field in Minneapolis.
CC agreed to give the Hall the glove and spikes he wore during that game to the Hall. While in the Yankees clubhouse, Horn ran into Andy Pettitte, who recently broke Whitey Ford’s franchise record for strikeouts by a pitcher.
“The thought hit me that maybe I could get something from the game Andy passed Whitey,” Horn said. “Normally, the Hall doesn’t get caught up too much in club record, but this being the Yankees and a record that belonged to a great Hall of Fame pitcher, I thought an artifact would be important.”
Pettitte did not hesitate to comply. He took his glove out of his locker and said to Brad, “Here, take this.”
It is always good to see players recognize the value of the Hall of Fame.
Former Yankees pitchers Goose Gossage and Phil Niekro will compete with fellow Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers and more than 20 additional former major-league players from the past three decades in the May 25 Hall of Fame Classic in Cooperstown. The fifth annual Classic is moving to Memorial Day Weekend this year as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum celebrates the time-honored connection between the National Pastime and the nation’s military.
Two of the game’s legendary managers, Bobby Cox and Cito, Gaston will reprise their 1992 World Series matchup as opposing skippers with players that will include former Yankees pitchers Brian Boehringer and Brian Fisher as well as Bob Boone, Bret Boone, Bert Campaneris, Doug Creek, Will Clark, John Doherty, Cliff Floyd, Jeffery Hammonds, Jim Hannan, Todd Haney, T.J. Mathews, Brian McRae, Desi Relaford and Dmitri Young. More players will be announced in the coming weeks.
Four soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division will also participate in the Classic, which will be preceded at 1 p.m. by the Legends Hitting Contest at Doubleday Field. The 10th Mountain Division Color Guard and Band from nearby Fort Drum, N.Y., will be featured in pregame ceremonies – including the 12 p.m. Cooperstown Game Day Parade on Main Street – as the Museum presents a salute to our Armed Forces.
Following the Classic, the Hall of Fame will host “A Night at the Museum” – a new event that provides a limited number of fans an unforgettable evening with Hall of Famers and other big league stars from 7-9 p.m. Fans can take pictures with their heroes while sharing a meet-and-greet experience throughout the Cooperstown shrine.
On Friday, May 24, the Museum will host the Legends for Youth Skills Clinic, from 4-7 p.m. at Doubleday Field. Hosted in conjunction with the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, the Clinic gives youth participants ages 5-12 a chance to learn hands-on training from several former major league stars. The event concludes with an autograph session for participants. Registrations are free but limited and can be secured by calling 607-547-0397.
Fans may experience May 24-26 Classic Weekend through two packages available for the first time in 2013:
Baseball’s Past and Present will feature a baseline ticket on either the first- or third-base side to the Hall of Fame Classic and a one-day Museum admission pass for just $25, a savings of $7 off the regular rate.
Let’s Play Two features a baseline ticket on either the first- or third-base side to the Classic and entry to “Night at the Museum,” a two-hour exclusive opportunity to meet and greet Hall of Famers and other former big leaguers from 7-9 p.m. at the Hall of Fame. Let’s Play Two is available for $50 per person.
Classic Weekend will also feature a Hall of Fame golf tournament fundraiser for the Museum, a member photo opportunity with Hall of Fame members, curator-led talks on the history of Doubleday Field, a family photo opportunity at Doubleday Field and the Family Catch at Doubleday Field.
Ticket packages for the 2013 Hall of Fame Classic are online at http://www.baseballhall.org or by phone at 1-877-726-9028. Tickets for the Hall of Fame Classic are $12.50 for first and third base seats and $11 for general admission outfield seats. Tickets are only available via phone or online and will not be sold at the Museum in Cooperstown.
The Museum has teamed up with Sports Travel and Tours to offer baseball fans a one-stop opportunity to purchase Hall of Fame Classic Weekend travel packages. For more information or to plan a trip to Cooperstown, please call 1-888-310-HALL (4255).
Considering what the American League East standings look like, the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry could use a little boost. It got it Friday night with Ichiro Suzuki’s first game at Yankee Stadium wearing the pinstripes. The sellout crowd of 49,571 responded to every move the hit maker made during the game, another sound drubbing of Boston, 10-3. The Yankees are 6-1 this year against the Red Sox, who are last in the division and trail the Bombers by 11 1/2 games.
“Usually when I came here [with the Mariners], the fans were all over me the whole game,” Ichiro said. “But the fans tonight were awesome. They cheered for me all night. I hope that continues.”
Right from the start, Suzuki enjoyed the fans’ reaction. The Bleacher Creatures’ roll call did present a problem in his mind, but he was able to doff his cap in response.
“I wanted to take my hat off and acknowledge them,” he said. “But I was worried that if I tipped my cap while a ball was hit to me and I couldn’t catch it that those cheers would turn to boos.”
Suzuki’s contributions were modest, but they were there. He had one hit in four at-bats, a single in the fourth inning before Russell Martin homered. Ichiro was also on base in the eighth after hitting into a fielder’s choice and scored another run on Curtis Granderson’s grand slam. Raul Ibanez also homered in the first inning with a runner on first base.
That was the difference in the game. Both sides hit three home runs, but the trio socked by the Sox off Phil Hughes were all with the bases empty – Dustin Pedroia in the first, Carl Crawford in the third and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the fourth.
“You can usually live with those,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of the solo home runs.
The long ball has haunted Hughes all season. He gave up home runs in each of his first 12 starts of the season, but that pace slowed. The three home runs Hughes allowed Friday night equaled the total the righthander had allowed over his previous five starts. For the season, Hughes has given up 25 home runs in 121 1/3 innings.
All those home runs might have given Suzuki the idea that perhaps he, too, might take advantage of the Stadium’s cozy dimensions in right field. Anyone who has witnessed Ichiro taking batting practice is aware he can go deep, but just like Wade Boggs he has been fearful that he might ruin his stroke by trying to hit home runs.
Suzuki has a great respect for the game. He has been to the National Baseball Hall of Fame four times. When I contacted him in my role with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in 2001 to notify him that he was voted the AL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award winner, he answered the call from an office in the Cooperstown, N.Y., museum while on a visit there.
So it was hardly a surprise to hear him talk about one of baseball’s greatest rivalries.
“For a long time, the Yankees organization expects to win, and the players are accustomed to winning,” Suzuki said. “That is the mentality here. To have played my first game here with them against the Red Sox was special. There is an expression in Japan that on nights like this you grab your cheek to see if it is real and that you are not dreaming.”
In the United States, we pinch ourselves in the same situation. The cultures came together for Ichiro Suzuki Friday night.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Former Yankees managers Lou Piniella and Joe Torre were among the baseball people who came to the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Induction Weekend. I kidded them that they must be rehearsing for when their time comes for induction. In another two years, both will likely be on the Veterans Committee’s ballot from the Expansion Era for their careers as managers.
Lou was here for both of Sunday’s inductees, Barry Larkin and the late Ron Santo. Larkin was the shortstop on Piniella’s Reds team that won the 1990 World Series in a sweep of the Athletics. During his time as manager of the Cubs, Piniella also became a friend of Santo, the former third baseman who later was a fixture at Wrigley Field as a broadcaster.
Santo died last year, and his widow, Vicki, gave a moving acceptance speech. How she got through it without breaking down was amazing to me. She painted a brilliant picture of the man who was as identified with the Cubs as former teammates Ernie Banks and Billy Williams, who were on hand for the ceremony. They were among the 45 Hall of Famers who attended the ceremony, including Yankees favorites Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Dave Winfield, Phil Niekro and Rickey Henderson.
Larkin told a story about how Piniella addressed the Reds in 1990 before the start of spring training and explained to them that he did not like losing and that he did not intend for this team to lose. Cincinnati won its first nine games that season and went wire to wire to win the National League West, the division the Reds were in before the NL Central was created with realignment in 1994. They defeated the Pirates in the NL Championship Series before sweeping the A’s in the World Series, so Lou kept his promise about not losing.
Larkin was that baseball rarity that played his entire career for his hometown team. I could think of only three other Hall of Famers who did that, and all were Yankees – Lou Gehrig, Phil Rizzuto and Whitey Ford. Gehrig grew up on the West Side of Manhattan, the Scooter in Brooklyn and Ford in the Queens neighborhood of Astoria, and each spent his entire playing career in the Bronx.
I remember when Paul O’Neill was traded to the Yankees from the Reds in 1993, and a lot of people said that he would have trouble playing in New York. O’Neill, who was also on that ’90 Reds team and like Larkin had grown up in Cincinnati, told me once that he never had any doubts that he would do well in New York. He was not unfamiliar with the city because his sister, Molly, then the food critic for the New York Times, lived there for many years.
“There was a lot more pressure on me playing for the Reds because it was my hometown,” Paulie said. “I never felt that kind of pressure in New York. The fans in New York welcomed me and got behind me early on. I enjoyed the New York experience a lot more than Cincinnati.”
Torre came up for Saturday’s program at Doubleday Field for former teammate Tim McCarver, who was honored with the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting alongside Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun as the J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner for baseball writing. Joe and Timmy were teammates with the Cardinals and have remained good friends over the years.
Among the people McCarver credited for his playing career, which covered four decades from 1959 through 1980, was Hall of Fame catcher Bill Dickey, a career Yankee. McCarver said that in those pre-draft years of the 1950s that he almost signed with the Yankees because he was so impressed by Dickey but wound up signing with the Cardinals.
“Bill Dickey gave me the greatest piece of advice I ever received for a catcher,” McCarver said. “He told me, ‘Be a pitcher’s friend.’ And I am happy to say that a couple of Hall of Famers who are up on this stage with me have been lifelong friends, Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton.”
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Yogi Berra is here after all.
Yogi was not on the original list of returning Hall of Famers for this year’s Induction Weekend at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He was not expected to attend due to some recent health concerns.
But there he was in the lobby of the Otesaga Hotel Thursday night with his wife, Carmen, and son, Larry.
“He called me the other day and asked what I was doing this weekend,” Larry told me. “I said I had nothing planned. ‘Good,’ he said. ‘You can drive me to the Hall of Fame.’ He and Mom just love this weekend. They couldn’t stay away.”
Yogi and Carmen are treated like royalty, as well they should be. One by one, Hall of Famers from Bert Blyleven to Billy Williams to Al Kaline to Eddie Murray to Ozzie Smith to Robin Yount to George Brett to Tony Perez came over to talk to the Berras. Yogi was getting around pretty well on his cane.
“Hey, this weekend is about fun,” Yogi said, “and I could use some fun.”
Whitey Ford and his wife, Joan, were also walking around the lobby. Whitey seemed surprised when I told him Yogi was here.
“Oh,” Whitey said, “I was hoping he wouldn’t come until Monday.”
Only a joke, of course. The Yankees’ most popular batterymates remain the closest of friends.
The Sunday induction ceremony is for former Reds shortstop Barry Larkin, who was elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, and the late Cubs third baseman Ron Santo, who was elected by the Golden Era Committee. Also to be honored Saturday will be Tim McCarver with the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting and Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for baseball writing. Legendary Cardinals managers Red Schoendienst, Whitey Herzog and Tony La Russa will also be part of the Saturday program.
Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson and I greeted Larkin and his family as they pulled up in front of the hotel.
“This is just the beginning,” Jeff told Barry.
“I know,” Larkin said, “I can’t wait.”
Among the people Larkin sent invitations to for Induction Weekend was Derek Jeter, but the Yankees’ captain is with the team for a weekend series in Oakland, Calif.
“I knew he couldn’t come, but I wanted him to know I was thinking of him,” Larkin said. “He is one of the guys you think of when it comes to shortstops. He’ll be here someday, too.”