It was Hall of Fame day yesterday and two new members joined the club: Barry Larkin and Ron Santo.
Larkin’s daughter sang the National Anthem and it brought tears to his eyes. Ron Santo’s widow, Vicki Santo, gave the acceptance speech in her late husband’s honor and it nearly did the same for everyone else. At the end of the day, two worthy additions to the Hall took their proper place.
Larkin — who, from the podium yesterday said that his induction was “unbelievable – un-stinking believable!” — hit .295 for his career and over .300 nine times. He had surprising power for a shortstop who came up when he did and stole nearly 400 bases while playing rock solid defense. He led his team to a World Series championship one year and won an MVP in another and was a 12-time All-Star.
For his part, Santo was one of the best and one of the most underrated third basemen of his era. He hit .277/.362/.464 over 15 seasons in what was mostly an extreme pitcher’s era while hitting 342 home runs and 1331 RBI.
Also honored yesterday: Tim McCarver received the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting, and Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun was given the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for sports writing.
Oh, and Larkin inspired a loud cheer and a round of applause when he mentioned Pete Rose. Which was fun.
They played the Futures Game yesterday, pitting the top prospects from the United States against the top prospects from the rest of the world. You most likely missed it because, for reasons that have still yet to be adequately explained to me, the game takes place on Sunday afternoon, when literally all 30 major league teams are in action. Oh well.
If you did happen to see it, however, you saw a lot of bombast, as the two teams combined for eight home runs, with Team USA prevailing, 10-6. It was the United States’ eighth win in the past nine Futures Games.
Yusniel Diaz of the Dodgers system hit two homers — he was the first one to do that in a Futures Game since Alfonso Soriano did it back in 1999 — but Taylor Trammell of the Reds system was the game MVP following his 2-for-2 (HR, 3B) performance. Other highlights involved Reds pitching prospect Hunter Greene, who threw 19 fastballs among his 27 pitches, each and every one of them hitting triple digits, with one registering at 103.1 m.p.h. Not that velocity is everything: a 102.3 m.p.h. pitch he threw ended up being deposited over the fence for a two-run homer by Luis Alexander Basabe of the White Sox system.
Also of note was a homer from Ke’Bryan Hayes of the Pirates system. Notable for it breaking a tie and putting the U.S. up by two, but also notable because Ke’Bryan is the son of former big leaguer Charlie Hayes. Feel old yet?
There was a lot of back and forth, and certainly a lot of bombast, but the U.S. took its final lead on a wild pitch. Here are some highlights:
Here’s hoping, in the future, the Futures Game is moved to Sunday evening or even Monday where people will have a better chance of seeing it.