Results tagged ‘ Hall of Fame ’

Induction Day at Cooperstown

Induction Day at CooperstownBy Paul Hagen /

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year and, needless to say, a lot has changed in the picturesque little village in upstate New York since the building was formally dedicated in 1939.

“Induction Day at Cooperstown” by Dennis Corcoran, as its title suggests, takes a year-by-year look at the most celebrated day of the baseball calendar. It’s a thorough examination of each Induction Day from the beginning through 2010. The who, what, when, where and why is here, and it’s an engrossing road map to the growth of the institution.

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Johnny Evers: A Baseball Life

By Paul Hagen /

Johnny Evers: A Baseball LifeExcept for a few rhyming lines dashed off by a long-ago sportswriter, second baseman Johnny Evers might be like most other Hall of Fame players from the early 20th century: Great then, largely unknown now.

The ode to the Cubs’ double-play combination of the day, Tinker to Evers to Chance, immortalized the trio. Shortstop Joe Tinker and first baseman Frank Chance are also enshrined in Cooperstown. But this has been a double-edged sword. It’s nice to be remembered. Evers thanked the author, Franklin P. Adams, when they met for the first time in 1937, for writing something that kept his baseball career alive. “I owe you a debt of lasting gratitude for keeping my name before the public all these years,” the former player said. “I’d have been forgotten long ago if it were not for [the poem].”

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Pete Rose: An American Dilemma

By Paul Hagen /

kennedy-peteroseIn Pete Rose: An American Dilemma, Kostya Kennedy authors a damning profile of baseball’s exiled Hit King. He crafts an exquisitely detailed portrait of a crude, self-absorbed, money-obsessed, low life who shamed the game and whose mandated exclusion from the Hall of Fame is more than justified.

At the same time, with the precision of a top-notch defense attorney, he builds an artful case for why Rose should join baseball’s immortals in Cooperstown. In this rendering, he is a winner whose presence lifted his teammates. A what-you-see-is-what-you-get product of his environment whose sin — betting on his own team to win — is no worse than steroid cheats and whose punishment — being placed on the permanently ineligible list — far exceeds that given to those who have violated gambling rules in other sports.

Make no mistake, this is an exhaustively-researched book-length examination of whether or not the player with more base hits than any player in history should be enshrined among the best who ever lived. It’s an argument that, even a quarter of a century after then-commissioner Bart Giamatti banished him for life, still raises hackles on both sides of the issue.

Both depictions are utterly convincing, and that’s where the dilemma that the title refers to comes in. Should Rose be in the Hall of Fame or not? Spoiler alert: Kennedy ultimately offers no opinion. He lays out the facts and lets the reader decide. (more…)

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