There’s hitting, there’s defense, and there’s baserunning. And as long as you keep those three separated, you’re going to be a good player. I mean, you can’t take your defense on the bases, you can’t take your hitting to the field, and you can’t take your baserunning at the plate. But defense, is number one.
~Ken Griffey, Jr.
You lose, you smile, and you come back the next day. You win, you smile, you come back the next day.
~Ken Griffey, Jr.
The 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony doesn’t take place until the end of the month, but if you’re Homer Jay Simpson, you’ve already been honored this year. On May 27, 2017, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum celebrated the 25th anniversary of that iconic Simpsons episode, “Homer At the Bat.” This Simpsons episode featured the voices of Ken Griffey Jr., Darryl Strawberry, Jose Canseco, as well as other baseball personalities, and first aired February 20, 1992.
As part of the event, Homer Simpson himself was “inducted” into the Baseball Hall of Fame with a little ceremony:
Some of Homer’s co-stars in the episode even made a special trip to Cooperstown for the event:
And, as you can see above, Homer even received his own plaque:
A week ago, I posted Ken Griffey, Jr.’s HOF induction speech. So it seems only fitting for me to also post Mike Piazza’s speech. Unfortunately, this is the best video I was able to find. If you are the type of person who gets motion sick, you might consider passing on watching and just give it a listen.
Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mike Piazza were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame a couple weeks ago. Griffey was elected into the Hall earning a record-setting 99.32% of the votes. His speech is long and emotional, but certainly worth a watch.
Here’s an infographic by Craig Robinson plotting out the day-by-day progress of the three main contenders in the 1998 home run chase. I had completely forgotten that Ken Griffey, Jr. was a part of this race in the beginning. He ended the season in pretty great shape, even if he didn’t pass Maris’s mark.
Click on the image for a larger view.
I just finished watching Ken Burns’ documentary Baseball: The Tenth Inning. Unfortunately, I have to admit that I have yet to watch the original Baseball documentary, but when I found The Tenth Inning at the public library, I had to jump on the opportunity to at least watch that much.
The Tenth Inning is a two-DVD set that covers the story of Major League Baseball through the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century. From the strike of 1994, to the influx of Latino players, to the home run race of 1998, and delving into a long look at the steroid scandal of recent years, this documentary does a good job of not only looking at the game itself, but also at the relationship between baseball and its fans. We see how baseball struggles against its own demons — greed, drug use — and consistently manages to rebound and draw its supporters back in.
My biggest criticism of the documentary lies in its extensive coverage of the steroid scandal. While hats were tipped to the likes of Ken Griffey, Jr., Cal Ripken, Jr., and Ichiro Suzuki, there were many moments throughout both DVDs that I felt like I was watching the Barry Bonds Show. We get an almost biographical look at Bonds’ background, his early years in baseball, his career as a whole, and his attitudes about the game through all of it. The focus of the second DVD primarily revolved around steroids, with Bonds right in the middle of it, of course. Meanwhile, all the teams that won World Series championships in the early 2000s received about twelve seconds of coverage each.
It’s unfortunate that such a negative chapter in baseball history has drawn so much attention. But as the documentary still reminds us, at the end of the day, it is baseball itself that keeps fans coming back. In spite of greed and scandal and steroids, baseball in itself is still a pretty great game.