Results tagged ‘ Cooperstown ’

The Hall calls to the deserving and snubbed

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Last spring the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown welcomed me with open arms for a glorious day.

On Tuesday the Hall opened its doors to Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar to forever be immortalized in its hallowed shrine.
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One of the most colorful characters in Major League history sits atop his rightful place among pitching legends. Blyleven’s career spanned six teams and two World Series appearances, including one with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
This was his 14th year on the ballot with just a year remaining for his eligibility it was nearly a make or break campaign. He earned the needed percentage of votes by a fair margin and becomes the 60th player enshrined. 
Notoriously seen as a “Happy Gilmore” type player, Blyleven has made a name for himself in the pop culture realm. His famed “I Heart to Fart” shirt and off the cuff tangents in the broadcast booth never really hurt his image, but presented him as a hard nosed party boy. His mound presence was seen with the same intimidating sense. 
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Seeing Roberto Alomar get the Cooperstown call makes me feel old. He made his way onto the big league diamonds right around the time i was born. I do remember his Padres and Orioles days and although he will be adorning a Blue Jays cap on his plaque I think he will most be remembered by his time in Cleveland. With him at second and Omar Vizquel at shortstop they formed a double play combo that will forever be looked at as a benchmark for infielders. He brought fire and energy to the Indians during their glory days of the late ’90s and fans of the franchise still bask in those special years. 
Alomar is one of the first players that introduced me to baseball. Of course, there are a host of others, most notably irrelevant Pirates, but he was a centerpiece in developing my love for the game. It is exciting to see him be rewarded for an astounding career.
This years ballot consisted of many other players, much like Alomar. Jeff Bagwell, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez and Fred McGriff. It is hard to believe that these stars of my childhood are being recognized with the ultimate baseball blessing. I knew at the time they were all the best of the era, but far from Hall of Fame performers. Maybe its just that my mindset of the Hall consisted of the legends. The Roberto Clementes, Hank Aarons and Sandy Koufaxes of the world, not players such as Bagwell, Larkin and McGriff.
While this is a feast day for the baseball world it is also a time of despair for some. Dave Parker missed his chance to be forever seen as baseball’s elite.
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The Cobra was snubbed for the 15th and final time and will see his name removed from the ballot and will never again be considered for Cooperstown. 
This is a shame. 
Now I never saw Parker play a game in my life, aside from the 2006 All Star Game Legends and Celebrity Softball Challenge held at PNC Park, but from what I hear he was superstar. Not only does being part of the famed “We-Are-Family” troop bring instant notoriety, but being an integral part of it gets you rewards. Parker was a two-time batting champion, all-star and league MVP, yet future generations will never know it. JIm Rice, inducted last year, but up less stellar numbers than Parker and got in. Parker had no such luck. In fact, he received a slap in the face as he was presented with just one measly vote. The same number as former Baltimore Orioles outfielder B.J. Surhoff.
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B.J. Surhoff? Honestly. 
It had to be depressing for Parker and it surely is for me. I want to be able to go to Cooperstown in the first weekend of August and see a player I fell in love with as a fan get inducted. While today it is an eye sore to even see a Pirate eek his way onto an All-Star roster, I don’t believe I will ever be granted a special moment to see one of my guys get enshrined. 
I still offer my congratulations to Blyleven and Alomar and will forever be grateful that we are fortunate enough to witness a great sport like baseball and see its stars properly honored. I cherish it, I really do. 
But I don’t think I will ever experience it with the proper boyhood joy.
photo credits: minnpost.com, apacktobenamedlater.com, corbisimage.com, baltimoresun.com

Like Andre Dawson, I’m Cooperstown Bound

I mentioned in my previous entry about a special spring break trip. For about two month now my buddy Andrew and me have been planning a trip to baseball’s most hallowed grounds. The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

hof.jpgThis will be my second trip to the Hall. My first came in 1997. My dad, aunt, both my grandfathers and myself made the trek up during the last week of August of that year for the annual induction ceremonies.

Phile Niekro, the famous knuckleballer is a very distant relative of my extended family. It was a neat experience although I never formally met Phil. My house is filled with autogrphed memorobilla Mr. Niekro was nice enough to sign for us.

 

 

niekro.jpgNow mind you I was just eight years old in ’97. I do not remember a thing about the weekend, the Hall or Cooperstown. Let me just say that I am pumped beyond belief for this special baseball moment.  There is not one person I’d rather share it with than my buddy Andrew either. He and I appreciate baseball more than anyone I know. The history, the passion and the overall fun of the game is what we both live by.

I anticpate having the time of my life through the hallowed halls. I have been researching the exhibits and cannot wait to get started. I will be like a kid in a candy store.

I have also heard the city of Cooperstown is a baseball lovers paradise. The quaint little town offers themed restaraunts and shops. I’m stocking up on cash to bring along because I am a free spender when it comes to baseball related items.

mlb hof.jpgFINAL FOUR UPDATE: In my last entry you got a peek of my elation after West Virginia played their way into the Final Four. If only you would have seen me a few hours later. I recieved an e-mail regarding student tickets available at a first come-first serve basis. I am the lucky owner of one of the available 600 tickets given to WVU students. At a miniscule price of just $25 dollars we are able to catch WVU’s game as well as the other game on Saturday. Also, the championship game Monday. It has potential to be a fantastic weekend, which I already have a gut feeling that it will be. My and five of my Mountaineer friends are eagerly searching for hotel rooms and other travel plans for Saturday. It is hectic, but so much fun at the same time. 

photo credits: wktv.com, ajc.com, espn.com

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