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Tag:Hall of Fame
Posted on: March 7, 2012 9:02 pm
 

A glove story for Angels' Trumbo

TEMPE, Ariz. -- He's just a glove machine.

Which isn't exactly what you would expect for a guy whose bat did all the talking last summer.

But once the Angels signed Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo went from AL Rookie of the Year runner-up to Man Without a Position.

The plan is to employ Trumbo at third base, but that's contingent on him learning the position this spring. There's always left field if that doesn't work out.

Strange transition, moving from the 29 homers and 87 RBIs of 2011 to collecting leather in 2012.

How many gloves has Trumbo stockpiled?

He pauses. He glances at the two by his feet. He wheels around to take inventory in his locker. He crinkles his eyebrows. Finally, he thinks he has it.

"Over 10, easily," Trumbo says. "I have a first-base glove, third base, outfield. Some are shaped differently."

Such as: For now, he's playing third base with an outfielder's glove, instead of a smaller infielder's mitt. He likes the size.

"I'm a proponent of the bigger glove," Trumbo says. "A lot of plays at third base are reactionary. You knock the ball down. You're not turning a double play. Things happen super quick."

As such, Trumbo is more comfortable with the bigger glove.

But the outfielder's glove he uses at third is different from the glove he'll use when (if) he plays left. The one he's using in the infield is broken in so it's more round and wide. The tips of the fingers are pushed down toward the glove's heel.

The outfield glove, it's broken in so it's more slender and narrow (almost like folded in half). It looks larger.

Since the Angels signed Pujols in December, Trumbo estimates he's added five gloves to his collection for test-driving and experimenting with. Options are good.

"It's an art form," he says. "What's comfortable for you, nobody else can tell you."

Biggest danger now as he moves across the infield, it appears, is Trumbo pulling the wrong glove out of his locker.

"It's getting a little cluttered," he says, chuckling.

Sunblock day? Another windstorm took the temperatures down to 60 degrees Wednesday.

Likes: The baby back ribs at Don & Charlie's in Scottsdale. Hadn't been there in several years, but it's a classic old baseball hangout during spring training. Was there the other night and saw George Brett, Robin Yount, Bob Uecker, Baseball Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson, former agent Dennis Gilbert, Joe Randa. ... Maxine Nightingale's old hit Right Back Where We Started From. Heard it on the radio today, and can't help thinking of the great flick Slap Shot every time I do. ... Very enjoyable watching Yu Darvish in Peoria on Wednesday. Particularly enjoyable the way he attacks hitters and doesn't dink around.

Dislikes: A stiff wind really made for a chilly day in Arizona on Wednesday. I'll take Florida's early spring weather over Arizona's.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Well, I don't know, but I've been told
"You never slow down, you never grow old
"I'm tired of screwin' up, tired of going down
"Tired of myself, tired of this town
"Oh, my, my. Oh, hell, yes
"Honey, put on that party dress.
"Buy me a drink, sing me a song.
"Take me as I come 'cause I can't stay long"

-- Tom Petty, Mary Jane's Last Dance





Posted on: February 16, 2012 5:42 pm
 

Farewell to 'The Kid' at 57

We've known this was coming now for nearly a year. But when the end finally arrived for Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter on a day when the baseball world was readying for the start of another spring training, it still seemed unreal.

The Kid? Gone?

He was only 57, with the smile and heart of a much younger man. His death Thursday came just two weeks after his last public appearance, a poignant visit with a Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball team he helped coach before their season opener near his home in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

In grave shape with a body ravaged by a malignant brain tumor, it was touching -- and certainly not a surprise -- that Carter would haul himself out to the baseball field one final time. Nobody loved the game and the people who play it more than Carter.

It must have been a lump-in-the-throat scene in person, because just looking at the photos made the eyes well up with tears. The man provided so many memories in both New York, where he starred for the Mets' last World Series champion team in 1986, and in Montreal, where he helped author some of that city's finest baseball moments before the Expos sadly left town.

Gary Carter was an 11-time All-Star, earned three Gold Gloves and, most famously, keyed the Mets' three-run rally in the bottom of the 10th inning as they came back to beat Boston in Game 6 of the '86 World Series.

And while he created so many great memories, what's maybe most satisfying as we remember him today is how much he always enjoyed the ride while he was on it.
Posted on: July 23, 2011 3:22 pm
 

The time Blyleven talked spitter with Gaylord

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Many teammates approached Bert Blyleven over the years inquiring how to throw such a nasty curveball. One of the best stories emerged in Cleveland, with a man who preceded Blyleven into the Hall of Fame: Gaylord Perry.

Oh, what might have been.

"I was curious to see how he threw his spitter, and he was curious to see how I held my curveball," Blyleven recalls. "So between starts, one time during his side piece, we talked about the curveball grip. He picked it up pretty quick, and he took it into the game.

"Of course, in my next side piece, he showed me the spitter. And the ball was tumbling. I'm loading up, right? On the side. And Gaylord did all that stuff [with his hand movements and motions] on the mound. I wasn't that way. I worked very quickly. I always pictured Bob Gibson, and the way he worked.

"So I was having fun with it, doing all these things. And the next day, my elbow was barking after my bullpen session. I thought I can't do that.

"I asked Gaylord, told him, 'You've got to be strong to throw that pitch. My elbow's barking.' He said 'Come work with me during the winter on my peanut farm, I'll show you what work's all about.' Gaylord was just an animal, a strong individual."

Posted on: July 23, 2011 3:13 pm
 

Gillick unequivocally denies Cubs rumors

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Pat Gillick as the next president of the struggling Chicago Cubs?

If that's the new Hall of Famer's next move, he said Saturday here at the Hall, it's news to him.

Rumors of him possibly taking charge of the Cubs after this season started a few days ago with a Chicago radio station, far as Gillick knows, and the special assistant to Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro said "it's entirely not true."

"I don't know Mr. Ricketts," Gillick said of Cubs owner Tom Ricketts. "I've never even met him."

Gillick said that he thinks current Cubs general manager Jim Hendry "has done a good job. They've had a lot of injuries. I've always found Jim to be very forthright."

As for his own future, Gillick, 73, said that he will not take another general manager's job.

However, he said he would consider a potential job as a club president.

"I'll take a look at it," Gillick said. "But as far as a lateral move, I absolutely would not do it. I love my situation with the Phillies."

A former GM in Toronto, Baltimore, Seattle and Philadelphia, Gillick said that if executives were depicted on their plaques in a cap, he would choose that of the Blue Jays, where he took charge of his first big league club and cemented his reputation as one of the best in the game.

Posted on: July 23, 2011 3:07 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 3:23 pm
 

Alomar should have been first-ballot HOFer


COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- There is no reasonable explanation why Roberto Alomar was not a first-ballot Hall of Famer. None.

There are theories as to why he had to wait until his second year of eligibility. Mine is this: An enormous bloc of the New York voters left him off of their ballots, penalizing him for the way his skills vanished almost overnight at the end of his career during his brief stay with the Mets. I think they confused the fact that he couldn't play anymore with their suspicion that he simply quit trying.

Consequently, I think that many of them withheld their votes from Alomar until this year. That's their prerogative and their right, even if I disagree.

The other, more prevailing theory is that Alomar was penalized in the voting for the one despicable incident in his career, when he spat upon the face of umpire John Hirschbeck. He long ago apologized, and the two men have maintained a good relationship over the years since.

As for that possibility, this is what Alomar says:

"Me and John, we have a great relationship. We have become great friends, and I want people to know that the year that I didn't make it, one of the first phone calls that I got was from him apologizing, [saying] that he feels sorry for me not making it ... saying that was one of the reasons why I didn’t' make it in the first round.

"And I told him, 'No, it's not your fault. It was my fault. And, you know, we just have to move on. Me and John have become great friends. We have done a lot of great things for the foundation. I became real friends with him and his family. John embraced me the same way I embraced him.

"And when I got in this year, he was one of the happiest men alive. He left a message on my phone. I still have the message. And it was a great message and, you know ... we both move on and hopefully people can move on and let this episode go."

Likes: The village of Cooperstown is like something from the set of a 1940s movie. What a great place. You can never go wrong by coming here. ... Reggie Jackson striding through Sam Smith's Boathouse and Blue Mingo Grill for dinner in Cooperstown. The Macadamia nut encrusted halibut is outstanding at the Boathouse, by the way. And the coconut cake with vanilla ice cream is sensational. ... Robin Yount and Paul Molitor coming in from the golf course Saturday morning. ... Talking about the late Sparky Anderson with Al Kaline in the lobby of the Otesaga Hotel here Saturday morning. ... Bert Blyleven's sense of humor. ... Billy Williams' smile.

Dislikes: Cell phone service is awful in the area. My phone is getting reception probably an average of 10 minutes every hour.

Posted on: July 23, 2011 2:59 pm
 

Blyleven on K list: "Clemens did it illegally"

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- One of the big reasons I've cast an annual Hall of Fame vote for Bert Blyleven for the past decade is because, until a few years ago, the Dutchman ranked third all-time on baseball's strikeouts list and ninth all-time on shutouts.

Chew on that one for awhile. It is beyond impressive.

Anyway, while Blyleven is still ninth in shutouts, he's now fifth in strikeouts after both Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson went around him.

"I look at Johnson, Johnson did it for real," Blyleven told me when we talked recently. "Clemens did it illegally, I think. It is what it is, kind of like Hank Aaron. It's a completely different thing but, you talk about Barry Bonds, to me, Hank Aaron is still the Home Run King. And I think good baseball fans, good baseball people, know that.

"They don't need an asterisk in Cooperstown. People know."

With the piles of circumstantial evidence surrounding Clemens regarding performance-enhancing drugs, and given the trial that was aborted earlier this month and is set to resume this fall, does it anger Blyleven to see Clemens' name now ahead of his on the all-time strikeout list?

"No," Blyleven says. "He had a great career, but it was at the point where Boston was letting him go. To be honest with you, if somebody told me in '92 when I went through my shoulder surgery, if someone told me they could inject something in there to make me continue my career, I may have tried it. Who knows?

"Who knows what an individual goes through? I personally never knew of anybody, even though it was around. You could see it in Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco in the late '80s. They hit all the home runs, the Bash Brothers ... you could see they were getting bigger and stronger, but I never imagined that it could ever help me. I didn't know anything about it.

"But that's also when weights were coming in. Oakland was the first club to put a weight room in their park. We never had weights. We had little five-pound dumbbells."

Likes: The last 10 days leading up to the July 31 trade deadline are always fun, but they're also so out of control. The ratio of bad rumors to stuff that really will happen is somewhere around 50 to 1. And I may be badly underestimating that. ... Hot summer days, but the 100-degree temperatures blanketing the country are out of control. Drink plenty of water, and stay safe.

Dislikes: Border's Books closing for good. I remember spending hours on Saturday afternoons at the original Border's location in Ann Arbor with my family. One of my mom and dad's favorite things to do back in the 1970s, and what a magical place it was. Books everywhere, from floor to ceiling.

 

Posted on: January 6, 2010 2:28 pm
 

Dawson yes, but no Alomar?


Absolutely stunning.

That's all I can say about Roberto Alomar falling short in the Hall of Fame voting, which was announced Wednesday afternoon. Andre Dawson was the only player elected by the Baseball Writers' Assn. of America, and for me, there's no question he's a Hall of Famer. Dawson was a five-tool player, he could beat you with his bat, his arm, his legs (before they went bad) and his glove.

But no Alomar, who was every bit the wizard at second base that Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith was during his years at shortstop?

During several radio interviews this week talking about the Hall election, my prediction was that Alomar definitely would get in, there was a pretty good chance of Alomar and Dawson being elected and a very, very outside chance that Alomar, Dawson and Bert Blyleven would get in.

I never imagined a scenario in which Alomar, the best second baseman I've ever seen, would fall short.

He'll eventually get in, and probably next year. He checked in with 73.7 percent of the vote this year, just short of the required 75 percent.

Probably, a year from now, we'll be talking about Alomar's election.

For now, this year, we're talking Dawson.

It's as surprising a Hall of Fame election as I can recall.

 
 
 
 
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