Actually, it was only a couple of days ago. As Squawker Lisa wrote, we attended the first Baseball Hall of Fame Classic on Sunday. The 90-year-old Feller started the game and, as Lisa noted, even threw inside to Bobby Grich.
When Feller was removed from the game before the end of the first inning, I suspected he had been called up by the Mets. We know how much Omar Minaya loves those veteran pitchers!
While Feller as of yet has not arrived in Flushing, three of the other Hall of Famers in the game had a direct connection to the 1969 Mets:
- Ferguson Jenkins was the ace of the staff for the 1969 Cubs, who were beaten out by the Mets for the division title.
- Phil Niekro was the ace of the staff for the 1969 Braves, who lost to the Mets in the NLCS.
- Brooks Robinson was the star third baseman for the 1969 Orioles, who lost to the Mets in the World Series.
Oddly enough, the Mets had as many name players in the Hall of Fame Classic as the Yankees did. And the Met names spent more time on the Mets than the Yankee names did. While Jeff Kent and George Foster are best known for their exploits on other teams, they did spend several years in Queens.
The Yankees can claim Niekro, though he did not pitch in the Bronx until he was 45. Jim Kaat played part of two seasons in the Bronx but is probably better known there as an announcer. The other former Yankees in the game were Mike Pagliarulo and Kevin Maas.
It was great to see the Hall of Famers and other great players such as Lee Smith, but some of the participants were, shall we say, not quite as accomplished, such as Jon Warden and Fred Cambria, who each pitched only one season in the majors.
The last time I was in Cooperstown was in July 1994, only a month before the strike that canceled the World Series. And this latest visit came only a day before Don Fehr announced he was stepping down as head of the Players' Union. Maybe my next visit can coincide with the resignation of Bud Selig.
Lisa and I have now attended several "firsts" this year. Along with the first Hall of Fame Classic, we went to the first Met loss at Citi Field (if you count exhibition games), the first night game at the new Yankee Stadium, A-Rod's first game back after his surgery and steroid admission and (alas) the first Subway Series game at the new Yankee Stadium.
This Friday, we will be at the first Subway Series game at Citi Field. Maybe Omar will have Feller in the fold by then.