Monday, June 18, 2012

2012 Hall of Fame Classic

For the second year in a row, I took my dad to Cooperstown for the "Hall of Fame Classic" on Father's Day weekend. (It's now Saturday instead of Sunday.) (For last year's gallery, click here.) There were six Hall of Famers in the game this year. From the pre-game parade, we've got, above, Ozzie Smith and Phil Niekro...

...Carlton Fisk and Tony Perez...

...and Eddie Murray and Bert Blyleven.

We had better seats this year. In the grandstand, front row, with only the PA guy and organist (and this fence) between us and the field. Dante Bichette wore that "turn ahead the clock" jersey from 1999.

Dmitri Young once again won the pre-game hitting competition. I can't believe this is him, though! I never would have thought the man pictured above is the same guy as the one who used to play in the majors. Even compared to my shot of him last year he looks totally different. He's disappearing! His hair, fat, and most of his facial hair have quickly gone away. He was always a fun-lovin' dude--now he's svelte, too! What a transformation. (He was wearing the jersey of his high school, Rio Mesa.) For comparison, below is a shot of him (I apologize for not knowing who to credit this to) five-ish years ago:
The whole time I was thinking, "I can't think of name of the guy who I thought was Dmitri Young." But this guy is that guy. (He's also the only guy who's played in all three games I've seen at Doubleday Field. This year, last year, and the 2005 HoF game between the Red Sox and Tigers. I'd link to that but all the pics are gone since they existed on a now-dead server--but they were still frames from video footage which I still have. One day I'll repost those '05 lost pics....) Moving on....

The teams. As it turned out, Carlton Fisk and Eddie Murray didn't play in the game. They were more like honorary captains. The real captains were Phil Niekro and Ozzie Smith. No Bill Lee this year, sadly. That clown prince-type from the Tigers, Jon Warden, was back. Other notables from "my" era included Jesse Barfield, HoJo, Desi Relaford, Dennis Rasmussen, and Rick Lancelotti, who didn't wear his own 1990 Sox jersey as he did last year. He had a post-2008 version on.

Here's Warden clowning around with a squirt gun:

Original baseball blogger C.J. Nitkowski came up to the row above us. Apparently he wasn't on the roster, he just happened to be in the area for his kid's baseball tournament and suited up. (In a 2001 Mets jersey that happened to be in his car?)

The organist had his sheet music on an iPad. (Inside its cover in this shot.)

Fisk, with the PA guy announcing in the foreground.

Phil Niekro as you've never seen him before, briefly in the crowd during the game.

The Fisk team, captained by Niekro, won it in the bottom of the last inning on a 2-run single by Relaford:

This year we were able to go to the actual Hall of Fame after the game. I wanted to see the new "Fen-tennial" exhibit. Here's a taste--a Babe Ruth ball from 1916 with the newspaper box score pasted onto it!

The tickets to the Hall, featuring Santo and Larkin, and our tix to the game. It was a great day, with perfect weather. Next year, you should totally go.

I've heard that if you bring a ticket stub from Fenway this year to the Hall, they give you a Fenway 100th anniversary trinket of some sort. Confirm?
I heard that same thing a while ago. Of course, I didn't think of it again until you just wrote that. So...I missed my chance. I only have about 500 Fenway tickets lying around too! Damn.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States