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Pedro Martinez: ‘Boston, I don’t have enough words to say how much I love you’ 07.26.15 at 5:40 pm ET
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Pedro Martinez is presented with his plaque by Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson during the Induction Ceremony Sunday in Cooperstown.  (Elsa/Getty Images)

Pedro Martinez is presented with his plaque by Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson during the induction ceremony Sunday in Cooperstown. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Pedro Martinez showed as much class in his Hall of Fame acceptance speech as he did in establishing himself as one of the greatest pitchers in Red Sox history.

From 1998 to 2004, Martinez pitched for the Red Sox. In 1999 and 2000, Martinez authored two of the greatest seasons in baseball history on the mound, going 41-10 with a 1.90 ERA and a 0.830 WHIP in 58 starts. He won back-to-back Cy Young awards.

In seven seasons with the Red Sox, he was 117-37 with a 2.52 ERA and a 0.978 WHIP in 201 starts.

“Boston, I don’t have enough words to say how much I love you,” Martinez said during a 30-minute speech that began in English and ended in Spanish, as he addressed a huge Dominican audience that showed up with flags and shirts to honor one of the country’s greatest athletes.

“It’s great honor to be here. It’s great moment not only for me, for my family, it’s a great moment for the Dominican Republic and Latin America,” he said.

Martinez was as grateful to those writers who voted him in on his first year of eligibility as he was the fans who cheered him on.

“In ’99, I had a little stretch when I felt you didn’t like me, but you made it up and showed me you cared when it really matters,” Martinez quipped with his trademark charismatic smile.

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Read More: Boston Red Sox, Cooperstown, hall of fame, pedro martinez
Jonathan Papelbon thinks both Pete Rose, Alex Rodriguez ‘100 percent’ belong in HOF 07.13.15 at 5:55 pm ET
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Pete Rose (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Pete Rose (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

CINCINNATI — Jonathan Papelbon has faced Alex Rodriguez many times in his career. He’s never pitched to Pete Rose.

He thinks both should eventually have a place in Cooperstown.

The subject of Pete Rose and his 1989 lifetime ban from baseball for betting on games as a player-manager is again front and center this week here in his hometown. This past March, Rose formally reapplied for reinstatement. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said he was open to sitting down with Rose to discuss it. Some took that willingness to reopen the case as a sign that reinstatement might be around the corner.

ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” reported two weeks ago that there was new evidence that Rose bet on Reds’ games in 1986. Still, there is speculation that Manfred might be willing to listen to the argument for reinstatement and maybe, just maybe, that will lead to a discussion on whether he should be inducted in Cooperstown, which would have to come via the Veterans Committee.

The last time the All-Star Game was here in Cincinnati (1988), Rose was the manager of the Reds. Just over a year later, he was banished from the game in Aug. 1989 by then-Commissioner Bart Giamatti. Tuesday night, he will be permitted to take part in ceremonies in the park he never played or managed in.

“Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame, 100 percent, 100 percent,” Papelbon said. “If you don’t want to put him in as a manager, put him in as a player. He made mistakes as a manager but didn’t make mistakes as a player. Personally, I don’t think there’s no reason whatsoever why he shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame.”

Rodriguez was banned from baseball for the entire 2014 season for his role in the Biogenesis PED scandal. A-Rod is 5-for-17 in his career against Papelbon, including two home runs.

Papelbon, who will be in the bullpen for the National League on Tuesday night, was asked who should make the Hall first, Rose or Rodriguez?

“I would hope Pete Rose because he’s already waited long enough and Alex is still playing,” Papelbon said, before adding, “Alex is definitely a Hall of Famer for sure, 100 percent.”

Read More: A-Rod, Alex Rodriguez, Baseball Hall of Fame, Cincinnati Reds
Curt Schilling to D&C on Hall of Fame balloting: ‘I can’t spend my time being concerned about people’s opinions of me that I’ll never meet’ 01.07.15 at 10:46 am ET
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Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday, after falling short of election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the former Red Sox star said he believes some writers won’t ever vote for him because of his political leanings. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Schilling received 39.2 percent of the vote, well short of the 75 percent needed for election. Four players were elected: Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Craig Biggio and former Sox star Pedro Martinez, whose surprisingly low 91.1 percent result was more evidence to Schilling that something is wrong.

“The process isn’t flawed; stupid people do stupid things,” Schilling said. “I’ve seen so many in the past, voters making their vote into a news article, protesting this or protesting that, except just voting the player on his playing merits. And that’s normal, I guess, because we’re human, we all have bias, we all have prejudice. When Pedro gets 91 percent, that tells you something’s wrong.”

A case could me made that Schilling’s statistics are comparable to those of Smoltz, yet the Braves legend received 240 more votes. Schilling said Smoltz deserves enshrinement, but he noted that Smoltz’s political views are more consistent with many media members.

“I think he got in because of [Greg] Maddux and [Tom] Glavine. I think the fact that they won 14 straight pennants. I think his ‘Swiss army knife versatility,’ which somebody said yesterday, I think he got a lot of accolades for that, I think he got a lot of recognition for that. He’s a Hall of Famer,” Schilling said. “And I think the other big thing is that I think he’s a Democrat and so I know that, as a Republican, that there’s some people that really don’t like that.”

A proud conservative, Schilling has been outspoken in his support for Republican candidates. He also received heavy criticism when he moved his video game company from Massachusetts to Rhode Island to take advantage of government assistance and then the company went bankrupt.

Schilling said there’s no question that he would have received more votes had he been more mainstream in his beliefs and less outspoken and controversial.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Listen, when human beings do something, anything, there’s bias and prejudice. Listen, 9 percent of the voters did not vote for Pedro. There’s something wrong with the process and some of the people in the process when that happens. I don’t think that it kept me [out] or anything like that, but I do know that there are guys who probably won’t ever vote for me because of the things that I said or did. That’s the way it works.”

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Read More: Curt Schilling, hall of fame, john smoltz, mike piazza
My not-so-super secret way to start any Hall of Fame conversation 01.06.15 at 11:41 am ET
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Nomar Garciaparra has an interesting Hall of Fame candidacy. (Getty Images)

Nomar Garciaparra has an interesting Hall of Fame candidacy. (Getty Images)

This is what we’ve learned after the annual round of Hall of Fame discussion leading into Tuesday afternoon’s big announcement: it is an unbelievably flawed process.

The uncertainty and fragility that goes into deciding who will be next to enter into the MLB Hall of Fame is what makes the dead-of-winter baseball conversation so spicy. There are a lot of good solutions surfaced, yet none have offered any definition as to how these guys should be elected going forward.

Different eras and performance-enhancing-drug suspensions have clouded a world that is almost always driven by statistics. That’s why I prefer to start — that’s just start, not finish — any conversations with a simple (and probably somewhat flawed) mechanism:

– For hitters, how many times did they finish in the Top 10 in MVP voting.
– For pitchers, how many times did they receive Cy Young votes.

Here is the reason for this approach: it shows a dominance in a player’s era, no matter what the era is. The stats will go up and down (the MLB average OPS this past season dipped to .700 from .782 in 2000), but perceived elite status during that particular time span is what it was.

(Yes, I am one who is mostly in favor of voting in those formally and informally tied to PEDs.)

To me, the dominance in the era argument was a key talking point when looking at Jim Rice‘s candidacy. Six times Rice finished in the Top 5 in MVP voting. Six! Craig Biggio? Twice. Frank Thomas? Six. Barry Larkin? Once.

Let’s stop for a second and remind everybody: this is just to start the debate, not to punctuate it.

Pitchers? Randy Johnson received Cy Young votes 10 times, winning the award five times. Pedro Martinez got votes seven times, claiming the Cy on three occasions. Curt Schilling got votes four times, the same as Hall of Famer Burt Blyleven. Schilling finished second for the award three times, with Blyleven’s highest finish maxing out at third during a career that ran 22 seasons.

I do believe longevity with consistent performance puts somewhat of a dent in this philosophy, but shouldn’t wash away the theory.

Carl Yastrzemski belongs in the Hall of Fame, but he also finished in the Top 10 in MVP voting the same number of times as Dwight Evans (4), who deserves a closer look.

Of the candidates on the current ballot, perhaps one of the most interesting when looking at Nomar Garciaparra. Five times Garciaparra finished in the Top 10 in MVP voting, with one 11th-place finish. He only managed one Top 5 showing, placing second in 1998.

Garciaparra, however, just wasn’t quite dominant enough for a long enough stretch. Realistically, he played about the same amount of seasons as a regular as Rice did while totaling a higher OPS (.882-.854). But, using the aforementioned formula, Garciappara wasn’t nearly as dominant during his era.

Don Mattingly has been compared to Garciaparra when surfacing the former Red Sox shortstop, although Mattingly, while also playing for 14 seasons, had three Top 5 MVP finishes (winning once), and four Top 10’s. The former Yankees first baseman has been voted on since 2001, totaling 28.2 percent in that first year of eligibility. In ’14, he received 8.2 percent of the vote.

Some other on-the-bubble candidates: Mike Piazza finished Top 10 seven times, with four Top 5 showings; Tim Raines had three Top 10’s and one Top 5; Jeff Bagwell notched five Top 10 finishes, with two Top 5’s.

Flawed? Yes. As good a conversation springboard as anything else we’ve dug up? Absolutely.

Discuss …

Read More: hall of fame, Nomar Garciaparra, pedro martinez,
Red Sox Hall of Fame inductees Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens and Nomar Garciaparra talk Jon Lester, Cooperstown and more at Fenway Park 08.14.14 at 2:13 pm ET
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Pedro Martinez crashes Roger Clemens interview Thursday at Fenway Park. (Conor Ryan/WEEI.com)

Pedro Martinez crashes Roger Clemens interview Thursday at Fenway Park. (Conor Ryan/WEEI.com)

It was a blast from the past Thursday morning at Fenway Park, as three new members of the Red Sox Hall of Fame — Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens and Nomar Garciaparra — discussed a variety of topics with the media in the EMC Club.

While the hour-long press event mostly revolved around prior experiences and memories, Martinez took the time to discuss the present, focusing  mostly on the departure of Red Sox ace Jon Lester, who was traded to the Athletics at the July 31 trade deadline.

“€œI hope he comes back, because he’€™s a perfect guy to actually have in the clubhouse, influence kids and I think [Lester] is a guy that I’€™m against seeing him leave,”€ Martinez said. “Openly, I’€™m going to say that I’€™m not happy that Lester is not here anymore. I would like him to come back and we had that talk in the outfield and during bullpen sessions, during games. I hate to see that Lester is gone because he’€™s a workhorse, he’€™s a good example in the clubhouse, he’€™s a role model in society … He’€™s everything you need for a young group of guys that are developing.”

Clemens, as he did earlier during his interview with Middays with MFB, remained mostly mum on his opinions regarding whether or not he will eventually get enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, but added that his preference, if he does get elected, would be for his plaque to feature him donning a Red Sox cap.

“€œI don’€™t think you have any control over that, I made light of it and said I was going to wear a [University of Texas] Longhorn visor,” Clemens joked, adding: “€œI don’€™t think you have any control over that. … Obviously, [the preference] would be Boston, because I spent most of my time here.”

Martinez also commented on the debate regarding Clemens’€™ chances of one day getting the call to Cooperstown, stating that  players such as Clemens and Barry Bonds should be voted into the Hall due to the fact that they compiled enough accolades before PED accusations began to sprout up.

“I think Roger, with all due respect to everybody that votes, I’€™ll have to say Roger and Barry Bonds are two guys that I think had enough numbers before anything came out to actually earn a spot in the Hall of Fame,” Martinez said. “I’€™m not quite sure, 100 percent, how close they will be before all the things came out, but in my heart, if you ask me before any of that, I would say yes -€“ 100 percent -€“ without looking back. … I believe they have a legit chance and I think, with time, the voters will take into consideration what they did previously.”

Following are more highlights from the media session:

Clemens on whether he identifies himself as a Red Sox above all of the other teams he played for: “Sure. I spent 13 years here and I worked hard. Like I said, this is where I got my start, I got my nickname here and the kids today still call me ‘€˜Rocket’€™ more than they do ‘€˜Roger,’€™ so it’€™s pretty cool. At home, I probably have more Red Sox stuff that I do any other club that I played for.”

Garciaparra on the 2004 season: “€œObviously, it was devastating being traded, no question about that. But I was happy for them winning the World Series. For me, that my teammates made feel like a part of it, which was great. I was grateful. When they were going through the playoffs, I was getting calls from them when they were on the bus, like, ‘€˜Hey, did you see that? Did you see what we’€™re doing?’€™ … They were saying, ‘€˜We’€™re thinking about you,’€™ and I was like, ‘€˜I’€™m watching.’€™

“I never watched the World Series when I played. I didn’€™t want to watch where people were that I wanted to be. I’€™ve only really watched two World Series when I played. One was the Yankees and Mets when they were in the World Series, only because Jay Payton was my roommate in college and one of my dearest friends was playing in the World Series. … And then in ‘€™04, because I knew they were going to do it. … I realize here that the World Series is bigger than you. It’€™s about these people and these fans and the tradition here and what it meant. I’€™m glad, in ‘€™04, that it was finally accomplished, because these great fans deserved it.”

Martinez on the atmosphere at Fenway Park: “I’€™ll tell you what, the aspects of Fenway Park and the tradition, the uniqueness that we have here in Fenway, I can’€™t see it happening in any other place. … You can feel the heat from the bodies from the field. It’€™s so close. … This is the closest to a winter league game that you can probably feel. I always describe Fenway as the only place where you can feel like you’€™re pitching winter ball, because it’€™s loud, you have people right on top of you. … It’€™s a unique feeling that you get at Fenway.”

Garciaparra on Martinez’€™s tenure in Boston: “œWatching him, there were times where I found myself like the fans, in awe of what he’€™s doing. So much so that when they finally hit the ball off him, I would be like the fans and go, ‘€˜Ugh.’€™ I would do so the same thing and then I’€™d realize, ‘€˜Oh, they hit it at me and I need to got to go make the play.’€™ … There were so many moments that made you feel that way and I’€™m grateful that I’€™m his teammate and friend.”

Read More: hall of fame, Nomar, pedro martinez, Red Sox
David Ortiz on The Bradfo Show: ‘I only think about the Hall of Fame when you guys talk to me about it’ 06.12.14 at 1:26 pm ET
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Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz joined Rob Bradford on The Bradfo Show podcast to discuss his future candidacy for the Hall of Fame. To listen to the interview, go to The Bradfo Show audio on demand page.

Ortiz has compiled an impressive track record during his 17-year career, with three World Series titles, a World Series MVP award, nine All-Star nods and 445 home runs to his name. While Ortiz has heard Hall of Fame talk from the media for years, his teammates called him “Cooperstown”€ during the 2013 World Series, when Ortiz posted an otherworldly line of .688/.760/1.188 in six games en route to the team’€™s eighth championship.

While the debate over whether Ortiz will one day have his name enshrined in Cooperstown continues, Ortiz stated that he tends to not think about it.

“€œI’m going to be honest with you, it’s literally nothing. Like, I don’t think about it. I haven’t sat down and acknowledged my numbers to go to the Hall of Fame or anything like that,”€ Ortiz said. “€œI just keep on trying to have fun and try to keep on winning. I know this career is not forever, but I’m just trying to keep on having fun and keep people smiling and try to put on a good show, because at the end of the day, the time to worry about the Hall of Fame, it’s going to come.

“€œI’m going to have plenty of time to think about it and say whatever I want to say or think whatever I want to think about it, but to be honest with you, I only think about the Hall of Fame when you guys talk to me about it.”

The Hall of Fame has been historically been rough on designated hitters, as All-Star sluggers such as Edgar Martinez and Harold Baines have been consistently snubbed year after year. The Hall finally welcomed its first DH this year, as Frank Thomas — who spent 58 percent of his career games at designated hitter — was elected on Jan. 8 with 83.7 percent of the vote.

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Read More: Cooperstown, David Ortiz, hall of fame,
Pedro Martinez on Big Show: ‘Sad’ that potential Hall of Famers Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens ‘did something wrong’ 01.24.13 at 11:56 pm ET
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Three-time Cy Young winner Pedro Martinez, in an interview on WEEI’s Big Show to discuss his hiring by the Red Sox as a special assistant to the GM, was asked for his reaction to the idea that some of his most dominating contemporaries — players like Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa who have been connected to performance-enhancing drugs — were not elected to the Hall of Fame in 2012, their first year of eligibility.

“It makes me sad to see that such names in baseball did not get elected the way they should have because of different situations that they faced in their careers,” said Martinez. “Those are people that I admired, that I respected, that I competed against and it’€™s sad that they couldn’€™t quite see the end of their career finish up the way that everybody expected. At the same time, everybody has to carry the responsibility that they have the best way possible. Everybody is going to be held accountable for the things that we do.

“I respect the way the writers go about their business. My duty was to perform the best way possible. I did it. I did it clean. I’€™m not saying anybody else did it, because I didn’€™t see them, but obviously the writers that have the right to vote must have big reasons why they didn’€™t vote. It’€™s actually sad for baseball to see that probably some of the biggest players ever in the history of the game could not be elected because they did something wrong.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: barry bonds, hall of fame, pedro martinez, Roger Clemens
Three Thoughts on Hall of Fame Results 01.09.13 at 4:09 pm ET
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Three thoughts on the Hall of Fame results as a nation demands to know just one answer: Who voted for Aaron Sele?

1. The steroid guys ‘€¦ Roger Clemens (37.6%) and Barry Bonds (36.2%) had significantly stronger first years on the ballot than Mark McGwire (23.5% in 2007) and Rafael Palmeiro (11.0% in 2011), which is I suppose is not a stunner, given where they rank in baseball history and the presumption that both were Hall of Famers before the PED stuff, as difficult as that is to prove. To that end Sammy Sosa — fair or not, defined as a product of steroids — received 12.5 percent this year, his first year of eligibility. McGwire had his worst year of support, receiving 16.9 percent, and Palmeiro his worst year, just 8.8 percent (very likely he’ll get less than the five percent needed to stay on the ballot next year). This is where the logic of voters simply eludes me — McGwire admitted he took steroids before his first year on the ballot, right? So if you voted for him at that point, what exactly has changed and why has his support slipped? It’ll be interesting to track Clemens and Bonds over the next couple of years and see if voters remain loyal or if they follow McGwire and Palmeiro. My guess? They’ll continue to slowly move up. Voters (not all of them, which is why I don’t think either will ever get to 75%) are going to get more and more comfortable voting in Clemens and Bonds, it’ll just feel safer than McGwire, Sosa and Palmeiro. And there is the one-year protest element at work here (which is of course dopey and proves nothing, either vote for them or don’t), expect both to have a fairly healthy jump next year.

2. There is zero statistical proof — none — that would lead you to conclude that Jack Morris was a better pitcher than Curt Schilling. ERA, winning percentage, ERA+, WHIP, strikeouts, Black Ink, WAR, postseason numbers — all Schilling and all Schilling handily. Seasons with an ERA under 3.30: Schilling eight, Morris three. Seasons with a WHIP under 1.10: Schilling eight, Morris none (Morris never had a season with a WHIP as good as Schilling’€™s career number of 1.14.) Actually, Morris has one edge — career wins (Morris 254, Schilling 216). That’s it — 38 wins. And evidently that mattered a great deal to the voters, since Morris finished with 385 votes (67.7%) to 221 (38.8%) for Schilling. Morris is really close to the 75 percent needed but has to deal with Greg Maddux (and it’s amazing to think he won’t get 100 percent of the votes, but statements need to be made) Tom Glavine and Mike Mussina all debuting on the ballot in 2014, the 15th and final year for Morris. This was a solid first year for Schilling, better than Morris did in five of his first six seasons and Bert Blyleven in his first seven years on the ballot, two recent borderline guys. Schilling’s finish this year does nothing to dissuade my belief that he will eventually (and deservedly) be elected.

3. Worst ballot? My choice would be Jill Painter of the Los Angeles Daily News. She voted for Biggio and Edgar Martinez (both should be in, Biggio will get in next year or 2015 but Martinez will not, which is really a shame. If Jim Rice is in the Hall of Fame there has to be a spot for Martinez), Bernie Williams (not worthy, but not an embarrassment), Kenny Lofton (same as Williams) but somehow thought that Shawn Green earned a vote. Shawn Green. She did not vote for Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Alan Trammell, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza or Larry Walker but voted for Green. Oe of the reasons, she explained on Twitter, was that Green did a “ton for the Jewish community.” Also she pointed to his single-game total bases record, his one Gold Glove and the fact that he scored over 1,000 runs, which only 318 players in baseball history can claim (Green is only one run behind Gary Gaetti on the all-time list). How can you take her even semi-seriously after that? And I’m almost OK with the occasional token vote for a player someone might like personally, but can we at least make sure it’s only done if every eligible player clearly better is also on his/her ballot?

Read More: Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling Barry Bonds, hall of fame, Roger Clemens
Hall of Famer Dick Williams passes away 07.07.11 at 5:40 pm ET
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Dick Williams – the man who managed the “Impossible Dream” Red Sox of 1967 – died Thursday at his Las Vegas-area home of a brain aneurysm. He was 82.

Williams also led the Oakland A’€™s to two of their three 1970s World Series titles and led the 1984 Padres to their first-ever National League pennant.

In 21 years of managing, Williams compliled a record of 1571-1451 and earned a place in Cooperstown by making a career of turning losers into winners. He took a ninth-place Red Sox team in 1966 and led them to 92 wins, 20 more than the previous season. The Red Sox came within one win of capturing the ’67 World Series, losing 4-3 to St. Louis.

He was the legendary manager of the A’s, leading them to World Series victories over the Reds and Mets. He was also at the helm of the Angels, Expos and Mariners, where he was fired 56 games into the 1988 season.

Williams was inducted into the baseball hall of fame by the Veterans Committee in Dec. 2007 and elected to wear a A’s cap, despite his numerous run-ins with former Oakland owner Charlie Finley, who hired him before the 1971 season, the first of five straight AL West titles. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Red Sox, California Angels, Dick Williams, hall of fame
Boggs, Ripken named to International League Hall of Fame 01.25.11 at 2:01 pm ET
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Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken added to their Hall of Fame resumes. The two players, whose careers landed them spots in Cooperstown, were elected to the International League Hall of Fame for their excellence while in Triple-A.

Boggs spent both 1980 and 1981 in Pawtucket, where he hit .322 with a .418 OBP, .416 slugging mark and .834 OPS. He hit just six homers in Triple-A, but in 1981, he developed extra-base power as a 23-year-old, hitting 41 doubles for the PawSox. In 1980, he hit .306, losing the batting title by .0007 points. He then led the International League in average (.335) and doubles in 1981.

Ripken joined Boggs in the International League in 1981, hitting .288 (fourth in the league) with a .383 OBP, .535 slugging mark and .919 OPS with 23 homers and 75 RBI, finishing in the top five in most offensive categories despite being — at age 20 — the youngest position player in the International League.

Boggs and Ripken both participated in the epic 33-inning game between the PawSox and the Rochester Red Wings, the longest game in the history of organized professional baseball. The first 32 innings took place on April 18 before the contest was finished on June 23, when Pawtucket plated a run to claim a 3-2 walkoff win.

The next year, in 1982, Ripken won the American League Rookie of the Year award with the Orioles while Boggs finished third in the balloting (behind runner-up Kent Hrbek) as a member of the Red Sox.

Boggs and Ripken were joined in this year’s International League Hall of Fame class by former Yankees prospect Steve Balboni, remembered for prodigious home runs and an equally prodigious mustache. Balboni led the Interational League in 1981 with 33 homers and 98 RBI while hitting .247/.337/.532/.870 for Columbus. Balboni played parts of the next two years in Triple-A as well, hitting a league-leading 32 homers (in just 83 games) in 1982 and 27 in 1983.

Boggs will be inducted formally into the Hall of Fame at Pawtucket’s McCoy Stadium sometime in the coming season.

Read More: cal ripken, hall of fame, international league, steve balboni
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