Results tagged ‘ Barry Larkin ’

MLB Hall of Famers I’ve Seen In Person

With the 2013 Hall of Fame class set to be announced tomorrow at Noon, on MLB Network, I thought it would be fun to post a blog entry on all of the Hall of Fame players I’ve ever seen in person. If my memory serves me correctly, I’ve only encountered a total of nine members of the baseball Hall of Fame. Furthermore–an interesting point to make–every HOF encounter I can recall ever having has taken place within the past seven months.

I might be forgetting a player I saw in one of the earlier years of my life, but I’m fairly sure that the following are the only HOF players I’ve been lucky enough to see in person:

JOHNNY BENCH-JOE MORGAN

Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan were the first two members of the Hall of Fame that I can recall seeing. Admittedly, I was around 100 feet away from them, but it still counts, as we were all in the same live scenario at the same time. This particular interaction came on June 23, 2012, in Cincinnati, Ohio. (If you’d like to read all about the entire day–where I actually got to shake hands, and take pictures, with several Reds’ HOF’ers–feel free to check it out HERE.)

Basically, as far as Bench’s and Morgan’s purpose goes for being in ‘Cincy’, Sean Casey and Dan Driessen were at Great American Ballpark with the sole purpose being that they were getting officially inducted into the Cincinnati Reds’ Hall of Fame. The Reds decided to bring back a couple dozen members of their HOF, and Morgan and Bench happened to be two of the players they brought out to the ballpark:

DSCN4717I realize it’s not the most flattering picture, but it’s the only one I took of the two of them together. In case you can’t tell, Johnny Bench is the one in the white shirt, putting on his jacket, and Joe Morgan is the one just to the left of him; also putting on his jacket.

The next six Hall of Fame encounters I’ve had came while on a trip out to Kansas City, Missouri, to the 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby:

CAL RIPKEN JR.-TONY GWYNN

I ran into Cal Ripken Jr. at around 6:30 in the morning, on July 9, 2012, shortly after chatting with Ryan Howard. Ripken was surrounded by several media members at the time and was having a conversation with Manny Machado:

DSCN4809Cal Ripken Jr. is on the right. (Manny Machado is on the left.)

I could’ve (and should’ve) waited until Ripken was finished doing was he was doing and approached him to ask for an autograph, but, in addition to it being early in the morning–with me still being half asleep–I regretfully neglected to take a ball card of Ripken out to Kansas City. I still kick myself about it, but you can’t go back in time. Perhaps I’ll run into Ripken again sometime down the road, but if not, at least I’ll always have the memory of our encounter.

My Tony Gwynn sighting came just a few hours later, only a couple hundred feet away from where my Cal Ripken Jr. encounter had occurred. Gwynn was set to sign autographs for an endless line of fans–many of which had been in line for a couple of hours–and I, in anticipation of his arrival, positioned myself off to the side of the crowd, as I waited for Gwynn. I ended up standing there for what seemed like forever, as Gwynn didn’t show up until 45 minutes after his scheduled appearance time. I was tempted to leave about 30 minutes into the wait, but I’m glad I didn’t. The extra 15 minutes of patience allowed me to be able to add another HOF’er to the list, as well as get a picture:

DSCN4870A bit obvious which one is Tony Gwynn.

BARRY LARKIN-REGGIE JACKSON-HANK AARON-GEORGE BRETT

Barry Larkin would be the next Hall of Famer I would come across while out in Kansas City. Just to the right of where I took in most of the All-Star workout day’s batting practice, Larkin was hard at work, as an episode of ‘Baseball Tonight’ was being filmed. There’s not much more I can say about my Larkin sighting, so I’ll go ahead and leave you with a photo:

DSCN4899Barry Larkin is the one just to the left of Terry Francona.

Reggie Jackson has the most interesting story (in my mind) of any other HOF player I’ve ever seen in person. My first (notice I said *first*) sighting of Jackson came shortly before the start of the home run derby, when he made his way out onto the field to throw out the first pitch:

DSCN5026Reggie Jackson, folks.

It was great to see such a great player–one of only four to ever hit three home runs in a World Series game–in person, but little did I know, at the time, that this story would only get better from there. The next morning, I was sitting in the Kansas City airport terminal, when who walks by? Reggie Jackson. That’s right, Mr. October himself just so happened to be on the same flight (he was in first class) as I was. How cool is that?! It’ll be hard to ever top the encounter I had with Jackson out in KC, but you never know….

Jumping back to the day before I saw Jackson in the airport terminal–with it still being July 9th–the next Hall of Famer I spotted was Hank Aaron. It wasn’t the best sighting ever, as it took me at least 30 seconds to locate him, after he was shown on the center field jumbotron, and I ended up with only a 5 second, or so, sighting; leading to a blurry photo:

DSCN5038Hank Aaron is the one in the white shirt, above the MLB.com sign, with his hand in the air.

Aaron is arguably the best player I saw out in Kansas City; perhaps the best of all the HOF’ers I’ve ever seen in person.

The last HOF encounter I had, on my trip to Kansas City, was George Brett. I first spotted Brett down by the field when he made his was to the broadcasting table to do an interview/play-by-play type thing, during a portion of the derby. Brett wasn’t out for long, thus I don’t have anything all that interesting to talk about, but he was, however, out in the open long enough for me to take a photo:

DSCN5061George Brett is the guy in the white shirt.

RYNE SANDBERG

The most recent story I have of a face-to-face encounter with me and a Hall of Fame member occurred on July 18, 2012, in Durham, North Carolina. The Lehigh Valley Ironpigs were in town taking on the Durham Bulls and Sandberg just so happened to be managing the visiting Ironpigs. Unlike the eight HOF’ers I had seen before, I was actually successful in getting an autograph from Sandberg–two if you want to be technical:

DSCN5493

The autographs I was able to get from Ryne Sandberg. (The Sharpie was running out.)

It was easier than I thought it would be, as I found it unusually simple to work my way down by the dugout, and to my surprise, Sandberg signed for nearly ten minutes; so that certainly helped out as well. I forgot to bring along my camera to this particular game, so you’ll have to take my word for it that I met Sandberg. (I suppose the above autographs are proof enough.)

So there you have it. Those are the nine Hall of Famers that I can remember seeing in person. If Mark McGwire, Bernie Williams and/or Sandy Alomar end up having their names called tomorrow, when the 2013 Hall of Fame voting results are announced, I can add anywhere from one to three more names to the list, as I’ve seen all three players before.

I have a feeling, however, that I’ll be stuck at nine players until at least the 2014 vote.

How many MLB Hall of Famers have you seen in person? I’d love to hear your answer, with the story behind it (if there is one), in the comments section below.

Barry Larkin Elected To Baseball Hall of Fame

In my last blog entry I made the prediction that Bernie Williams, Barry Larkin and Edgar Martinez would recieve enough votes (75% worth) to make the Hall of Fame this year–given Bernie Williams was a long shot being a newcomer. Yesterday, at 3 0′ clock Eastern, the announcement was made that Barry Larkin–long time Cincinnati Red’s short stop–was the only player from the 2012 ballot to exceed the 75 percent of the votes needed to make the Hall. (Larkin recieved 495 votes, or 86.4%.)

Before I get into my thoughts on Barry Larkin being the only player elected this year, I want to take a second to say that I’m shocked at the voting results for the newcomers to the ballot. Of the 13 newcomers, Bernie Williams is the ONLY one of them that recieved enough votes to return to the ballot again in 2013. (6 of the 13 newcomers didn’t recieve a single vote whatsoever.) Although I didn’t see any of the other newcomers (besides Williams) getting into the Hall of Fame this year, I didn’t think that they’d all be completely blanked in the votes category. To me it’s unreal.

Getting back to the only newcomer to recieve more than 5 percent of the vote, Bernie Williams (who recieved 9.6%), I think he will eventually get into the Hall of Fame. Maybe not next year, due to the many great names that are due to make the 2013 ballot. Maybe not in this decade. But my gut tells me that Williams will get into the Hall before his 15 years of eligibility are up. He had average career stats for a center fielder, but when you look at his post season stats, they’re off the charts. Combine those post season stats with four Gold Gloves and four World Series rings, and you get what I feel is a Hall of Fame worthy player.

Now that I’ve gotten all of that off my chest, I’ll get back to Barry Larkin. Larkin made the largest percentage jump to gain election since Herb Pennock, back in 1948–jumping from 62.1% last year, to his 86.4% this year. Larkin’s election makes him the 297th member of the baseball Hall of Fame. He also becomes the 24th short stop and  48th player to play with the same team his entire career, to be elected. Truly remarkable.

Barry Larkin had this to say about his feelings on being elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame:

…an unbelievable experience….almost an out of body experience….I’ve got young kids out there doing their thing, but 20, 30, 40, 100 years from now when they’re old–and gone–and their grandkids, or their kids, are there doing whatever, they’re always going to be able to say “that guy right there”, my grandfather, great grandfather, great great grandfather, whatever it is, he was one of the best in the game. I am so phenomenally proud to be a new member of the Hall of Fame.

Barry Larkin will be officially inducted into the Hall, on July 22nd, in Cooperstown, NY.

2012 Hall of Fame Ballot – My Predictions

The Baseball Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown, New York, first opened its doors back on June 12, 1939. The first five players to be inducted being: Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson–who were named in 1936. Since then 296 individuals have been viewed as Hall of Fame worthy. (206 former Major Leaguers, 35 Negro Leaguers, 19 managers, 9 umpires, and 27 pioneers, executives, and organizers.)

With the 2012 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees to be announced on Monday, I wanted to give my predictions and opinions as to which players will make the cut, and which won’t. There are a total of 27 players on this years HOF Ballot. Of those 27, 13 are first timers–including standouts, Bernie Williams and Bill Mueller. To be inducted into the Hall, a player must recieve a minimum of 75 percent of the votes. The number of inductees varies from one year to the next.

Although there are 27 players eligible for induction this year, I’m not going to take time to talk about them all. I’m just going to make cases for the ones which I feel will be selected for the Hall–starting with the newcomers.

FIRST TIME ON HALL OF FAME BALLOT

  • Jeromy Burnitz
  • Vinny Castilla
  • Brian Jordan
  • Javy Lopez
  • Bill Mueller
  • Terry Mulholland
  • Phil Nevin
  • Brad Radke
  • Tim Salmon
  • Ruben Sierra
  • Bernie Williams
  • Tony Womack
  • Eric Young

BERNIE WILLIAMS- I know this is going out on a limb, but I honestly think Bernie Williams is the only newcomer that has a shot at getting into the Hall of Fame the first go around. (Given it is a slight chance.) I know everyone is saying that he was fun to watch play, but isn’t worthy of the Hall, but I have to disagree. Looking at his career stats of 2,336 hits, 1,257 RBI’s, and a .297 batting average, I think he’s worthy of the Hall eventually–if not a first year induction. But that’s just my opinion.

TWO OR MORE YEARS ON HALL OF FAME BALLOT
  • Jeff Bagwell
  • Juan Gonzalez
  • Barry Larkin
  • Edgar Martinez
  • Don Mattingly
  • Fred McGriff
  • Mark McGwire
  • Jack Morris
  • Dale Murphy
  • Rafael Palmeiro
  • Tim Raines
  • Lee Smith
  • Alan Trammell
  • Larry Walker

JEFF BAGWELL- When you look at Jeff Bagwell’s career stats of 449 home runs, off of 2,314 hits, and 1,529 RBI’s you begin to wonder why Bagwell wasn’t a first year Hall of Famer. His stats are certainly good enough to warrant it, however the speculation that he did steroids is what is holding him back from already having a plaque in the Hall. I do however see the possibilty that the voters look beyond that this year, given his impressive stats. Not a very great chance, but a chance none the less. (Juan Gonzalez, Mark McGwire, and Rafael Palmeiro all fall into this category with Bagwell of great stats, but steroid usage.)

BARRY LARKIN- This is a sure bet for me. Barry Larkin is the best player–in terms of stats without steroid usage–on the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot. 2,340 hits, 198 home runs, and a .295 batting average in his 19 season career. (While 198 home runs might seem low for a Hall of Fame worthy player, short stops aren’t generally known for their power hitting.)

EDGAR MARTINEZ- While I feel that Barry Larkin is the best player on the Hall of Fame ballot, Martinez isn’t far behind. Having a career batting average of .312, with 2,247 hits, and 309 home runs is good enough to earn him an induction to the Hall. While he wasn’t the best player on the Mariners back in the early 1990′s, he still found a way to stand out amongst teamates Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez, by coming up big in big spots.

RECAP OF MY 2012 HALL OF FAME PREDICTIONS

To recap everything that I said above, I feel that Bernie Williams is the best overall player of all the newcomers to the Hall of Fame ballot. Of the players that have been on the ballot at least once before, I feel that Barry Larkin and Edgar Martinez are the ones that stand the best chance of making the cut. (Jeff Bagwell and Mark McGwire, only if the voters put the steroid issues aside. Which I don’t think they will.) Be sure to watch MLB Network at 2 o’ clock, Eastern, on Monday, to see the live Hall of Fame election.

So that’s my view on the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot. What’s yours?

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