I want to take a little break from the trade talks and free agent signings.
This year I was fortunate enough to take a trip to the Hall of Fame. No, I wasn’t one of the 70,000 that went to see Cal and Tony, I actually went up in October. It was a pretty incredible place, although if you aren’t a HUGE baseball fan, it’s quite a long trip to see a whole lot of jerseys and plaques. I know they are all about tradition in baseball, but it would be cool if you could try to hit a fastball from a digital Bob Gibson or throw a fastball at a CGI Mickey Mantle. You know, for the kids. Anyway, I found a couple of fun Washington-related things in the joint. A couple is pretty accurate, there just isn’t much presence there. But we’re new, and the Expos were Canadian so nobody noticed them anyway.
Even though we went to the gallery last, first up are the 2 most DC-related plaques that I saw. Obviously the best all-time DC player is in the Hall, the Big Train Walter Johnson.
What I can’t understand is why they didn’t edit Frank’s plaque to include “Manager of the Washington Nationals” but I’m not in charge.
In the museum itself, there was a ceremonial bat given to George Wright. If you’ve never heard of him, you probably weren’t alive in 1867. It’s that wooden table-leg-looking piece behind those 2 ancient baseballs. The baseballs, by the way, predate the Civil War. The one on the left is from a game between 2 Philly clubs in 1860. The one on the right is from the Knickerbocker’s vs. the Gothams in NYC in 1854, the oldest existing ball from a scheduled game.
And here is the associated plaque, if you’re so inclined to read up more on the bat/piece of furniture.
Some things that aren’t DC related, but I found really cool
This is something that Ted Williams designed, and it is actually mentioned in the book Moneyball in reference to Giambi. Basically, it’s supposed to represent the hitting zone, and the numbers are what Williams thinks he would hit if every single pitch was put in that spot of the zone. So obviously, being a lefty, he felt he’d hit poorly if everything was low and inside. Apparently he was a good hitter.
This is a nice display, too. It is a baseball for each no hitter pitched, since World War II (if memory serves), signed by the pitcher, and presumably the ball is from that game. There’s been over 140 since WW2, and a total of 255 all time through 2007 (including shared no-nos). Baseballs for each of them, and Nolan Ryan has his own separate display to show his 7 no hitters. Also mentioned are his other 5 (I think) no hitters that were blown in the 9th.
And finally… they have a display for each inductee that year. This was for a local guy who did pretty well playing baseball for a nearby club: