Tuesday July 29, 2003
The Hall of Fame
On Sunday, Gary Carter, Eddie Murray, Bob Uecker and Hal McCoy all entered the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
Hal McCoy has a baseball writer for the Cincinnati Reds for a Dayton, Ohio newspaper.
Bob Uecker was not a great player. Just ask him, he wasnít even a good player. We all know what kind of baseball ambassador he is though. He has been the voice of the Milwaukee Brewers for a long time, as well as many national broadcasts. Heís probably best known for his Miller Lite commercials and his role of Harry Doyle on Major League. I always loved Mr. Belvedere. But, for a great article on Bob Uecker, please check out yesterdayís Gameday article. Tom Swift wrote a great article on Uecker, including a large list of Ueckerís quotes.
Eddie Murray was a no-doubt, first-ballot Hall of Famer. With Willie Mays and Hank Aaron, Eddie Murray is one of just 3 players ever to accumulate both 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. The 1977 American League Rookie of the Year went to 8 All-Star games and was in the Top 10 in MVP voting 8 times. He was harsh and reserved at times with the media, so thatís a reason that he probably didnít win any MVP awards. Murray also won 3 Gold Gloves.
Gary Carter, to me, was a big question mark in terms of being a Hall of Famer. In my mind, the Hall of Fame is for the greatest baseball players ever. Carter was a very good player for 19 seasons. He played in 11 All-Star games, won 3 Gold Gloves and finished in the Top 10 in MVP voting four times. But, he had numbers of .262/.335/.439. Granted, heís as good as some of the catchers that are in the Hall of Fame. Heís probably a top 5 all-time catcher, and maybe thatís why heís a Hall of Famer. I think the thing that bothers me about Carter getting into the Hall of Fame was that he spent so much time lobbying for himself to be enshrined. Thatís not something to be lobbied for. Itís something that your career should speak for by itself.
One question I would love to hear peopleís opinion on is this: What did Gary Carter do in the last year that made him a Hall of Fame player, that he apparently hadnít done in the previous 6 or 7 years that he was eligible for the Hall of Fame? Send me an e-mail if you can explain that to me, please.
I do need to say a few things about the Hall of Fame. In 2001, I went with my dad and my brother, and a good friend and his father to Cooperstown for the weekend of Kirby Puckettís induction. Any and every baseball fan should, if at all possible, make that trip! Especially on Induction Weekend. It is busy, and there is too much memorabilia being sold there, but itís a place where baseball is all that matters.
All of the events around the weekend are incredible. The induction ceremony is a very amazing experience! Yes, you get to hear the new inducteeís speeches, but the best part is probably when all of the previously inducted Hall of Famers are announced. To watch Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax and Warren Spahn and other all-time greats walk onto the stage is like going back in time. These greats of the game are literally 200 feet away, or less!
Just walking through the streets of the small village of Cooperstown on Induction Weekend is great. The weekend we were there, we were able to walk down the streets and see Tony Oliva. In a shop/cafe, we saw Frank Robinson and Buck OíNeill talking. When we turned around, we moved out of the way for Bob Gibson. Other Hall of Famers are signing autographs at different locations.
We went to the Hall of Fame game. That year it was between the Brewers and the Marlins. Basically, the starters all played the first inning, or for one at bat, and then Class A players came in. But, for me, that was fine. For the Marlins, Will Smith and Adrian Gonzalez played. Both were recently traded to the Rangers for Ugueth Urbina.
The Hall of Fame museum is a place that you could spend all day in, and still go back the next day, and see things you missed the first day. There is so much history. I wonít even start to describe everything because the words I write could not do justice to the feeling of just being there. The 500 home run room is amazing. In it, there is the bats and balls from most of the 500th homers. Hank Aaronís locker is in there. I feel like I know a lot about baseball from the past 20 years, but to go back and see things that are 150 years old is incredible! (Iíll just say, Iíve got a whole photo album of these pictures. Maybe Iíll scan them about include them in my photo album on this site.) The Hall of Records is great too. For many statistical categories, there is an updated list of the Top 10 players, all-time and active. There is a wall with the names of all pitchers with over 200 career wins, in order. Those with over 300 wins get their picture on the wall as well. Same thing with home run hitters. Players with over 300 career home runs names are listed in order. Those with over 500 career homers have their pictures on the wall as well. When we went there, Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds had recently passed 500 homers and their pictures were moving swiftly past the pictures of some great names! But, to me, the best part of the museum is the room with all of the plaques of the hall of famers. To walk through that room, and see the images of the players and the words to describe their careers is incredible!
But interestingly, all of us agreed on what was our favorite part of the weekend. Monday morning, the Hall of Fame conducts a Legends series. And, what that is is an interview session (which later appears on ESPN or ESPN 2) with the newly inducted Hall of Famers. The crowd is much smaller. You feel much closer to those players. That year, the interaction between ESPNís Brian Kenney, Bill Mazeroski, Kirby Puckett and Dave Winfield was amazing. They appeared so much more relaxed and enjoyed the interaction with each other and with the crowd. There was a lot of laughing! If you go to a Hall of Fame weekend, I would definitely recommend going to this event!
I would love to go back to Cooperstown. Iíd love to go for another induction weekend. But, I would also love to go sometime when the museum wonít be as packed with people. Sometime when I will be able to stand around at each display and read everything without feeling pushed.
To summarize - If you can, definitely make a pilgrimage to Cooperstown. It was the greatest trip I have ever, and probably ever will, make!!
Have you been to Cooperstown? What did you think? What were your favorite things? Iíd love to hear otherís experiences. E-mail me.
TWINS THOUGHTS -
First, I need to again encourage everyone to check out the Gameday online site. Youíll recognize Gameday as the publication that you are able to purchase outside the Metrodome before Twins games. Itís full of great articles on the Twins and other baseball topics. I mentioned above yesterdayís article on Bob Uecker, and Iíve read many other of their entries and theyíre all great. I got an e-mail from Tom Swift, a writer and editor for the site and the publication, and he acknowledges my site, so that was my excitement of the day!
Well, the Twins finally sent down Justin Morneau. Gardy and other Twins people talked about how they sent him down so they could bring up another pitcher. Yesterday, they announced that Rochester, Minnesota native, OF Michael Restovich has been recalled.
I like Restovich. I think he could potentially be really solid. If he could learn to put the bat on the ball more often, he could be an amazing power hitter. Even with the strikeout rate, given 500 at bats, he could hit 30-35 home runs in the big leagues. He could also strike out 180 times!
But the question is: What can Restovich do for the Twins this season? He provides a right handed power hitter, which is something that they need. But, where will he play? Right field? Well, Shannon Stewart was brought in to play there. Left field? He should not play in front of Jacque Jones. Some may want to see a platoon with Jones, but I donít think that has any merit. DH? Well, that would make the most sense, but it will also take at bats away from Matthew LeCroy. But, if LeCroy is the backup catcher, itís good to have another option. Todd Sears can be the left-handed DH.
My first thought when I read that Restovich was being called up was ďOh no! Does this sudden change from needing to call up a pitcher, to calling up and outfielder, have anything to do with Jacque Jonesí re-aggravation of his groin on Sunday? Could he be hurt for any extended amount of time?Ē The Twins definitely donít need that!
Another thought was ďAre they just bringing him up to showcase him at the major league level for a few days before the trade deadline?Ē
The Twins still need a left-handed relief pitcher. The Royals made another moved yesterday adding lefty Graeme Lloyd. Lloyd may not be great, but itís a move that does shore up the Royals bullpen. Will the Twins continue to stand pat? Probably!
I was probably a little bit hard on the Twins yesterday, saying that their chances to win this year are over. What do you think? Are the Twins done? Should they trade away money and basically go in a new direction? Send me your thoughts.
One more baseball note, I was wondering why a 27 year old named Vladmir Guerrero can have so many back problems. Well, have you ever seen the man swing the bat? Itís amazing how much torque must be involved. I donít know how long heíll be able to play in the major leagues with a swing like that, but when he connects, there arenít many people who can hit the ball as hard. People talk about how intimidating it was in the infield when Dave Winfield came to bat, and Guerrero has to be in that same category. Did you see his home run last night? The one that traveled 502 feet? Amazing! I learned on Baseball Tonight last night, that Guerreroís 220 career home runs tie him with Gary Carter for 2nd on the Expos all-time home run list. Andre Dawson tops that list, with 225!
Baseball Reference has developed a method to show statistically who players are most similar to based on statistics, statistics versus era and home ball park. The players most similar to Vlad Guerrero through age 26 are, in order, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Hal Trosky, and Joe Dimaggio, Thatís not bad company to be in!
BASKETBALL NOTES -
Yesterday, Kevin McHale was busy again signing a couple of role players to add depth to the roster.
First, they signed PF Mark Madsen, who had spent the previous three seasons with the Lakers. We all know that Madsen isnít the most talented player in the NBA. But, there arenít a lot of players who give as much effort when they get time on the court. In those three years, he averaged just 2.6 points and 2.6 rebounds in just 11.3 minutes. But last year, he played an important role in the Lakers season. He did a decent job guarding KG throughout the season. He makes the opposition work hard for points. Iím not saying heís going to be a huge contributor to the Wolves success, but he will probably play 10-15 minutes a game, and contribute in ways that wonít be seen in a box score. (To counter, the Lakers signed veteran PF Horace Grant.)
In the Wolves second signing of the day, they signed G Fred Hoiberg. I know heís been playing quite a bit for the Bulls the last few years, but I didnít realize that next season, will be his 9th in the NBA. He played four seasons with the Pacers, and the past four seasons with the Bulls. In 386 games in the NBA, Hoiberg has averaged 5.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 17.9 minutes. Again, Hoiberg wonít play a big role on the team because he will be behind Cassell, Hudson, Sprewell and Szcerbiak on any depth chart. But, he is a very good shooter, including from behind the 3-point line. He probably wonít play more than 10 minutes a game, but in those 10 minutes, heís competent at either guard position.
The Wolves are giving themselves a chance to compete, even with the best teams in the league. I must admit, Iím really getting excited about the upcoming Timberwolves season. With the Twins struggling and being more and more difficult to watch (but I still do, and always will), the Wolves moves are very encouraging! These arenít big names, but they are better options off the bench as the 10th and 11th men than the Wolves have ever had!
Do you have any thoughts on the Timberwolves? Do you think all these moves are good ones for the Wolves? Does it mean that they do have a chance against the likes of the Lakers, Spurs, Kings and Mavs? Send me an e-mail with your thoughts. If you know any die-hard Wolves fans, be sure to send them a link to this site!
Final Thoughts -
Bob Hope died late Sunday night at the age of 100. What a great comedian! I remember watching his specials, and just laughing so much. The time that he spent with the troops across seas was amazing. I heard somebody say that he gave up his time with his family during holidays to spend time entertaining the troops and making their holidays away from their families more bearable.
I think the best tribute to Bob Hope is just to say ďThanks for the Memories!Ē
OK, one more note - Happy 31st Anniversary to my parents! 31 years, thatís a long time!!! Iím not even that old! Oh, wait, that does make sense!
Back to Archives Home