COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — There was so much that happened during the Hall of Fame induction weekend that it was impossible for a guy to write about all of it. What also makes it difficult for one guy is that my train of thought is to encapsulate each event instead of simply reporting what happens. For instance, when Bert Blyleven talked about his curve ball, well, that was a 1,000-word story and not something to summarize.
Hey, some people think about weird things like that.
Nevertheless, with the benefit of this little site and a lazy day at home, here's the best of what I saw at the Hall of Fame induction weekend...
The point of the trip was to cover Pat Gillick's induction into the Hall. Gillick, of course, was the Phillies' general manager from 2006 to 2008 where he put together the start of the greatest era of the franchise's existence. The Phillies were founded in 1883 and since then have lost more games than any professional sports franchise on earth. That's not hyperbole, that's the truth.
The Phillies' history is crowded with bad moves, bad thinking, bad players and bad losses. The Phillies were the last franchise in the National League to integrate its roster and needed 97 years to win its first championship. Don't think for a second that those two elements do not go together. Almost 10 years to the day after Jackie Robinson broke destroyed segregation in Major League Baseball, the Phillies got a guy named John Irvin Kennedy, who played in five big league games in 1957 and then that was it. Kennedy got to the plate twice, struck out once and scored a run as a pinch runner.
Kennedy stuck around with the Phillies until May 3 before toiling away for the next five years in the team's farm system, mostly in the south, which must have been a lonely existence for him. For the Phillies, though, it wasn't until a trade with Brooklyn brought aboard a shortstop named Chico Fernandez that they fielded a black ballplayer in the regular lineup. Fernandez, however, was from Cuba and it wasn't until Dick Allen came along in 1964 until the Phillies had a significant African-American player.