Mike Schmidt’s Hall of Fame induction speech

Mike Schmidt played 18 seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies, and in that time, Schmidt was a 12-time All-Star and a three-time National League MVP. Over the course of his career, Schmidt hit 548 home runs, including 40 or more home runs in three separate seasons and 30 or more home runs in ten other seasons. He also won ten Gold Glove Awards and was named The Sporting News Player of the Decade for the 1980s.

Mike Schmidt was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995. In his induction speech below, I particularly like Schmidt’s discussions on positive encouragement for kids and on the need for baseball to reconnect with its fans.


Phil Rizzuto’s Hall of Fame induction speech

Philip Francis Rizzuto was born September 25, 1917, and he spent his entire 13-year major league career (1941-1956) with the New York Yankees. During that time, the Yankees won an astonishing 10 American League pennants and seven World Championships.

From 1943 to 1945, Rizzuto spent some time away from MLB for a stint in the military, serving in the United States Navy during World War II. During those two years, he played on a Navy baseball team, alongside Dodgers shortstop Pee Wee Reese.

In 1950, Rizzuto was named the American League’s Most Valuable Player. He was known as a terrific defensive player, with 1,217 career double plays and a .968 career fielding average.

After his playing career, Rizzuto enjoyed a 40-year career as a radio and television sports announcer for the Yankees. He was particularly known for his trademark expression, “Holy cow!”

Phil Rizzuto was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994. He died in his sleep on August 13, 2007.

Rizzuto’s induction speech is a hoot. Enjoy!


This day in baseball: Joe Mauer named AL MVP

Joe Mauer was named Most Valuable Player for the American League on November 23, 2009. In spite of missing the first month of the season with a back injury, Mauer received 27 of 28 first place votes from the BBWAA to become the fifth Twin in history to earn MVP honors.

Joe Mauer in 2008 - Wikipedia

Joe Mauer in 2008 (Wikipedia)


“Vida Blue,” Albert Jones

Vida Blue was a left-handed pitcher who is primarily known as a vital member of the Oakland Athletics dynasty that won three consecutive World Series championships from 1972 to 1974. Blue won the American League Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player Award in 1971, and he was the first pitcher ever to  start the All-Star Game for both the American League (1971) and the National League (1978).

This tribute by Albert Jones was released in 1971.


RIP Hank Aaron

This one truly breaks my heart. I have been a Hank Aaron fan for almost as long as I have been a baseball fan. I Had A Hammer is one of the first baseball biographies I ever picked up. When I attempted to play high school basketball one year (I was terrible at it), I was assigned jersey #44. And even though it was a different sport altogether, I still felt honored to wear the same number as the great Henry Aaron.

Henry Louis Aaron was born February 5, 1934 in Mobile, Alabama. He played a total of 23 seasons in Major League Baseball, from 1954 through 1976. Twenty-one of those seasons he played with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves and two seasons were with the Milwaukee Brewers. His 755 career home runs broke the long-standing MLB record set by Babe Ruth and stood for 33 years. Aaron also hit 24 or more home runs every year from 1955 through 1973 and is one of only two players to hit 30 or more home runs in a season at least fifteen times.

Aaron’s chase after Babe Ruth’s career home run record stands as a notable period during his career, and not just because he ultimately did break the record. Aaron received thousands of letters every week during the summer of 1973; and during the 1973-1974 offseason, he received death threats and a large assortment of hate mail from people who did not want to see him break Ruth’s home run mark. Fortunately, Aaron also received mounds of of public support in response to the bigotry. As his autobiography demonstrates, Aaron handled himself with a tremendous amount of dignity throughout this period of undeserved hardship.

Hank Aaron holds the record for the most All-Star selections, with twenty-five, while sharing the record for most All-Star Games played (24) with Willie Mays and Stan Musial. He was a three-time Gold Glove winner, and in 1957, he won the NL MVP Award when the Milwaukee Braves won the World Series. Aaron also holds MLB records for the most career RBIs (2,297), extra base hits (1,477), and total bases (6,856).

After his retirement, Aaron held front office roles with the Atlanta Braves, including senior vice president. Hank Aaron was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, his first year of eligibility, with an astonishing 97.8% of the vote. He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.

Henry Aaron died in his sleep on January 22, 2021. Rest in peace.

hank aaron

Washington Post


RIP Dick Allen

I am well behind on this one. Dick Allen passed away this past Monday, December 7, 2020 at the age of 78.

Richard Anthony Allen was born March 8, 1942 in Wampum, Pennsylvania. During his fifteen-season Major League Baseball career, he appeared primarily as a first baseman, third baseman, and outfielder, most notably for the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox. Allen was named to the All-Star team seven times. He won the 1964 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 1972 AL Most Valuable Player Award. He also led the AL in home runs for two seasons, led the NL in slugging percentage one season and the AL in two seasons, and led each major league in on-base percentage, one season each. He finished his career with a .292 batting average and a .534 slugging percentage.

The Philadelphia Phillies retired Dick Allen’s number 15 on September 3, 2020. He was also inducted into the Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals in 2004.

Rest in peace.

Dick_Allen - Wikipedia

Dick Allen, c. 1965 (Wikipedia)


RIP Joe Morgan

Legendary second baseman Joe Morgan played Major League Baseball for the Houston Astros, Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, and Oakland Athletics from 1963 to 1984. Over the course of his career, Morgan won two World Series championships with the Reds in 1975 and 1976 and was also named the National League MVP in each of those years. Morgan was also a ten-time All-Star, a five-time Gold Glove winner, and won the Silver Slugger award in 1982. Morgan was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990, and he has also been inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame and the Astros Hall of Fame.

Joe Morgan died on October 11, 2020 in Danville, California at the age of 77.

Rest in peace.

Morgan Joe CR73-587_HS_NBLMcWilliams

Joe Morgan, 1973 (Baseball Hall of Fame)


RIP Bob Gibson

I just heard about the passing of Bob Gibson, pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals for seventeen seasons. Over the course of that career, Gibson collected 251 wins, 3,117 strikeouts, and a 2.91 ERA. He was also a nine-time All-Star, won two World Series championships, and he won two Cy Young Awards and the 1968 NL MVP.

Bob Gibson was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981. The Cardinals retired his uniform number 45 in September 1975 and inducted him into the team Hall of Fame in 2014.

Gibson died in Omaha, Nebraska on October 2, 2020 from pancreatic cancer.

Rest in peace.

45.bob-gibson

Sports Illustrated


This day in baseball: Stargell elected to HoF

On January 12, 1988, Pirates slugger Willie Stargell was the only player elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA.  Stargell helped bring two world championships to Pittsburgh and was the National League’s co-MVP in 1979, as well as the World Series MVP that same year.  Stargell was the 17th player to be elected to the Hall in his first year of eligibility.

Willie_Stargell_1979

Wikimedia Commons


This day in baseball: Maury Wills named MVP

Dodger shortstop Maury Wills was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player on November 23, 1962.  Wills stole a record 104 bases during the season, leading Los Angeles to 102 victories.  Unfortunately, the Dodgers fell short of the pennant in a three-game tie-breaker series against San Francisco, losing two games to one.

Maury Wills

Maury Wills (California Historical Society)