Results tagged ‘ Rogers Hornsby ’

The Colonel and Lou to get their due

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.

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Col. Jacob Ruppert (2nd from left, standing) with Joe McCarthy, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri and (seated) Joe DiMaggio (AP Photo)

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.

April 30: Lou’s career beginning to end

The date April 30 was a memorable one for the Yankees and Lou Gehrig at both the start and finish of his Hall of Fame career.

It was on this date in 1923 that Gehrig, 19, a native New Yorker and a pitcher-first baseman at Columbia University, signed a professional contract with the Yankees. At that time, Gehrig was the second greatest player in Columbia’s baseball history. Already a star in the major leagues at that time was White Sox second baseman Eddie Collins, then in his 18th season.

On this same date in 1939, Gehrig played in the last of his 2,130 consecutive games. He went hitless in four at-bats in a 3-2 loss to the Washington Senators at the original Yankee Stadium. The next day was an open date for the Yankees, who traveled to Detroit. Before the May 2 game against the Tigers, Gehrig asked manager Joe McCarthy to remove him from the lineup.

It was later learned that Gehrig was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The man known as “The Iron Horse” never played another game in the major leagues. The difficult to pronounce disease would soon bear his name as it does today and remains incurable.

At the 1939 Winter Meetings in Cincinnati, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America held a vote to elect Gehrig into the Hall of Fame. The proposal was passed unanimously, but Gehrig was never officially inducted.

Although he is usually listed in the class of 1939, the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies were during that summer when Gehrig was still on the Yankees’ roster. One of those 1939 inductees was Eddie Collins, along with Willie Keeler and George Sisler.

There were no Hall of Fame elections until 1942 when Rogers Hornsby was voted in by the BBWAA. By the time of that induction, however, Gehrig had already died of ALS June 2, 1941 at the age of 37.

The Major League Baseball schedule is made up annually without regard to such coincidences, but this May 2, which is Monday, the Yankees will once again find themselves in Detroit where one of the greatest careers in their franchise’s storied history came to an end.

American League Beast? Or Least?

So what happened to the American League Beast?

The division that has been touted as the toughest in the major leagues is the only one with a winless team, two of them in fact. The Red Sox and Rays both lost Thursday and are 0-6. It ought to be pretty interesting listening to the reaction of the fans in Fenway Park Friday when the team is announced individually before the home opener against the Yankees, who take to the road after a 4-2 homestand against the Tigers and Twins.

The Blue Jays also lost Thursday and are even with the Yankees at 4-2. The Orioles took a 4-1 record into a night game against Detroit. AL East teams are a combined 12-17 after the season’s first week.

Boston’s start is by far the most astonishing, considering that so many pre-season prognosticators had the Red Sox winning the World Series or at the least getting to it. They simply have not hit. Thursday was the first time the Red Sox were shut out (1-0), but they have scored 17 runs, less than three per game (2.83). They are batting .181 as a team and slugging .275! Man, do the Red Sox need to get back to Fenway in a hurry.

The Yankees didn’t even need home runs Thursday to beat Minnesota, 4-3. Another sound effort from A.J. Burnett (2-0 this year and 7-0 in April since joining the Yankees) set the pace. Rafael Soriano atoned for his blowup earlier in the week, and Mariano Rivera topped it off with a 1-2-3, 7-pitch ninth for his fourth save.

Instead of the long ball, the Yanks used some small ball for this victory, which was nice to see. Brett Gardner manufactured a run by himself without a hit in the third. After a leadoff walk, he stole second, crossed to third on an infield out by Derek Jeter and scored on a fly ball by Nick Swisher. (Jeter, by the way, had a double, a single and a walk in four plate appearances and passed Hall of Famer Rogers Horsnby on the career hit list with 2,931).

After the Twins went ahead, 2-1, in the fourth on doubles by Justin Morneau, Jim Thome and Jaason Kubel, the Yanks came right back in the bottom half with some more little ball. Andruw Jones doubled in a run and sent Robinson Cano to third. Russell Martin fought off a tough slider from Francisco Liriano and was able to hit a grounder to first that scored Cano on a contact play. A two-out single by Gardner made the score 4-2.

Burnett, who mixed in a changeup with an effective curve, was replaced in the seventh by Joba Chamberlain, who was pretty wild with numerous balls in the dirt. He hit Alexi Casilla with a pitch, then pretty much allowed him to get to third base. Castilla stole second largely because Martin could not throw to second until after he made a nice, short-hop stop of another pitch in the dirt by Chamberlain. In hurrying the throw, Martin threw wide of second and was charged with an unfortunate error as Casilla reached third. He scored on a grounder to the right side by Denard Span.

Thanks to Soriano and Rivera, the Yankees kept the Twins at bay. There was some ugliness in the bottom of the seventh, however, when Swisher upended Twins second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka attempting to break up a double play and succeeding. He also broke Nishioka’s leg. The rookie from Japan suffered a fractured fibula as the result of the play, which the Twins did not identify as dirty. Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire termed the play hard but fair and that he likes the way Swisher plays.

Swisher was so upset that after the game he sought out Nishioka and talked to him.

“I told him I was just trying to break up and double play and that I didn’t mean to hurt him,” Swisher said. “I mean, that’s the last thing you want to do, especially to a guy who has come all the way over here to try to make his mark. He told, ‘It wasn’t your fault; I didn’t get out of the way.’ That made me feel better. I was glad I was able to talk to him and hope he gets back soon.”

Swish was unaware of the diagnosis when he spoke. One thing I heard from scouts years ago when Kaz Matsui was playing second base for the Mets is that Japanese middle infielders are not as quick around the bag on double plays, that they tend to drag their way across the base and may be vulnerable to hard slides.

Someone then mentioned Boston’s record to Swisher. “I don’t care if they’re 0-and-6 or 6-and-0,” he said. “It’s still Yankees-Red Sox. We expect a tough series.”

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