COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Three pitchers who became dominant after trades and a rock-solid catcher-turned-second baseman have a new moniker - Hall of Famer.
Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday and basked in the spotlight one more time with at least 40,000 fans cheering from the sun-drenched field beyond.
For Martinez, the last to speak, the moment was magical as scores in the crowd waved Dominican flags for one of their own. Martinez, who also delivered part of his speech in Spanish, and former Giants great Juan Marichal, elected in 1983, are the only Hall of Famers from the Caribbean nation.
At the end of the ceremony, Martinez beckoned Marichal to the stage and they held their flag high, one last emotional gesture as the crowd roared.
"We waited 32 years for another Dominican," said Martinez, who wore a patch honoring his nation's flag on one shoulder and another honoring the United States on the other. "I hope all Dominicans remember this. I don't think the Dominican Republic will have a better image than me and Marichal on Father's Day (in the Dominican Republic) to be up there."
Last night’s Home Run Derby had a lot of people wondering: How is this going to go? There was a new format — timed rounds, not ones based on outs — plus a seeded bracket that pit some of baseball’s heaviest hitters in a March Madness-like elimination contest.
Turned out, it went great. And that was thanks in no small part to the winner, Cincinnati Reds slugger Todd Frazier, who dazzled the hometown crowd.
Baseball’s best players will descend on Cincinnati next week for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game. And last night, the league revealed who will be starting the Midsummer Classic.
Thanks to a record-breaking 620 million fan votes (cast entirely online), these are the players who will first to hit the field on Tuesday, July 14:
Calvin Coolidge was the only American president (so far) born on the Fourth of July. So what better time to bring some attention to Silent Cal?
Earlier this week, the Washington Nationals announced that the nation's 30th president has been added to the lineup as the sixth Racing President. His first race will be Friday night. He joins a roster that already includes George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft, who took the field for the first time in 2013.
Baseball is America's national pastime. So naturally the country's presidents have had a close relationship to the game.
Abraham Lincoln had a baseball field, called the White Lot, built on the White House grounds. Chester A. Arthur was the first Chief Executive to welcome a professional team to the White House when the Cleveland Forest Cities from the National Association stopped by on April 13, 1883. And on June 6, 1892, Benjamin Harrison became the first sitting president to attend a Major League game.
But the closest relationship between America's presidents and its national game is the first pitch. William Howard Taft threw out the first presidential first pitch on April 14, 1910, in the first MLB game of the season, between the Washington Senators and Philadelphia Athletics. (Washington won, 3-0.) Taft was a huge baseball fan, attending 14 games during his four years in the White House. Legend has it he created the seventh-inning stretch when he stood up in the middle of the seventh inning during one of those games.
SABR’s 45th annual convention ended Saturday with a range of fabulous opportunities for people who sleep, eat, and breathe baseball.
The day began with an instant highlight: a White Sox player panel, moderated by Dan Migala and featuring former White Sox players Ron Kittle, Carlos May, and Mike Huff. The players shared fun anecdotes about their years together in Chicago. Kittle recalled how satisfying it was to crush a home run off the roof of a stadium. Huff shared memories his first career game appearance, as a defensive replacement, and his first at-bat in the bigs, which was a single. Huff also talked about being asked to mentor Michael Jordan when Jordan briefly played in the White Sox organization. Kittle’s great sense of humor added the kinds of jokes and insights only a player could share. For me, it was great seeing Migala moderate another panel. I loved seeing him talk analytics at the SABR Analytics conference last March.
The 2015 SABR Annual Convention continued Saturday with yet another day filled with hilarious panels and research presentations that were equal parts info-packed and entertaining.
One highlight was a panel featuring two Negro Leagues players, Al Spearman and Ernie Westfield, moderated by SABR Negro Leagues Committee chair member Larry Lester. The three presenters went back and forth sharing stories of what it meant to play in the Negro Leagues and how they battled through adversity along the way. They told the crowd of baseball fans how they feel that if players like speedster Cool Papa Bell and slugger Josh Gibson were given the chance to play in the major leagues with white players, they would have been truly be able to showcase their talents.