Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees-2009

The odds of being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame are not great. Less than one player out of one hundred who plays the game at the highest level will become a member of the Hall. Those who are inducted sometimes have to wait a number of years after retiring before their name is called.

One of this year’s inductees, Jim Rice, got the nod on the final ballot. He needed 75% of the voters to tick his name in this, his fifteenth year of eligibility. For many reasons, he is a worthy inductee.

Rice played Major League baseball for one team: the Boston Red Sox. He prowled the outfield for the Sox, following the tradition of two other Sox Hall of Famers: Carl Yastrzemski and Ted Williams. They learned how to position themselves at Fenway, how to play the caroms, how to manage the Green Monster. Each had more than his share of outfield assists during his career.

Rice played with determination and attitude. He was a slugger, and he could tattoo a baseball. He hit almost 400 home runs during his career. Once the designated hitter rule was established in the American League, he often assumed that role for the Red Sox. He had 530 plate appearances as a DH. Not one with a lot to say, he was an imposing figure to many young hurlers as he scowled out at them from the batter’s box.

On the 7th of August, 1982, Rice peered out of the dugout when a foul ball screamed into the stands. He noticed that it had struck a young boy on the head. Rice tore out of the dugout, rushed into the stands, and picked up the boy. He carried him onto the field, and into the Red Sox dressing room. Team doctor Arthur Pappas later stated that Rice’s actions may have saved the child’s life.

Rickey Henderson was chosen on the first ballot, and for good reason. He had a long and illustrious career, establishing many records with the nine teams for which he played. Many of Rickey’s records involve speed, and deception. Others came as a result of his power.

Rickey relished being a lead off hitter. He often would stretch the count, and earn a base on balls. For Henderson, it was almost an automatic free pass to second base, or to third. From there, he could be brought home in many different ways: wild pitches, sacrifice flies, hits, perhaps another steal. Henderson scored more runs than any other Major League player.

He stole 1 406 bases during his career. He also leads the Majors in that category. He still holds the single season record of 130 steals. He was always a distraction to the opposing pitcher while on base. Consider the state of mind of a rookie pitcher, looking over his shoulder to a smiling Henderson, pawing the dirt off first base.

Rickey is second on the all time list for walks, but first in walks to lead off an inning. Nothing drives managers more to distraction than a pitcher who walks the lead off man at the beginning of any inning. Henderson accomplished that feat 796 times!

With regard to his power, he began 81 games in his career with a home run as the lead off batter. No other player will ever approach that mark. If they do, give me a call. I will buy you a beer.

The veterans’ committee inducted Joe Gordon, an All Star nine times with the Yankees and the Cleveland Indians.

The Baseball Hall of Fame fits nicely into many different American East Coast itineraries.

Take I-90 east from Syracuse. When you are 70 miles west of Albany, take Exit 30 south at Herkimer. Cooperstown is about half an hour south of the Interstate. It is open seven days a week, from 9:00am to 9:00pm in the summer. There are all kinds of wonderful exhibits, and great memorabilia shops in town. It is the ultimate baseball experience, made a little better with the induction of three great players.

James Hurst

Hi there James, very nice blog... I was wondering if we here at T.O. Sports Magazine www.TOsports.ca could re-post some of them on our blog. We would give you credit as well as a link to your blog.

thank you,

The Captain
PS please check out my sports comic book The Adventures of Captain Fanatic www.CaptainFANatic.com
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