Memories and Dreams (The official magazine of the Baseball Hall of Fame)

Lou Gehrig Photo as Streak Ends
For all his triumphs over all his years, the most memorable Lou Gehrig photography came with the end of his historic playing streak in 1939.  That photography gives us a seat to the monumental event of the day, an event which captured the nation’s attention. more

Tom Cheney Strikes Out 21 in One Game
Tom Cheney was a journeyman righthander who both started and relieved over an eight-year Major League career between 1957-1964.  He might be all but forgotten today except for a game for the ages on Wednesday evening, September 12, 1962 at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. more

In baseball – the ultimate team sport – individual rivalries often take a back seat to team goals.  But sometimes, a player vs. player duel will turn into an epic battle within the game. more

The Designated Hitter
On April 6, 1973, the Fenway Park public address announcer Sherm Feller cleared his throat and said, “….batting sixth, the designated hitter, number 12, Ron Blomberg, number 12.” more

Celebrating Professional Baseball’s Centennial
Fifty years ago, Major League Baseball decided to throw a centennial birthday party for the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, the game’s first true professional team. The celebration proved to be far more – it marked the birth of modern baseball marketing. more

Card Backs
Not every player in the ‘50s and ‘60s spent their off-season hunting and fishing. Of course if one read the backs of baseball cards, it may have seemed that way. more

This Great Game/ Vintage Books
Forty years ago, infielder Billy Herman was part of the “Class of 1975.” He was a popular choice in that he was truly a “baseball lifer,” and everyone in the game seemed to know him and like him. more

Just how many Cy Young Awards would Cy Young have won? He didn’t win any of course, because the award only began in 1956, eight months after he had died.  Commissioner Ford Frick, sensitive to the repeated failure of Philadelphia’s Robin Roberts to win an MVP Award, proposed the award to distinguish pitchers from everyday players, without removing pitchers from MVP competition. more

Sons of Major Leaguers
Back in 1903, when southpaw Jack Doscher took the mound for the Chicago Cubs, a bit of baseball history was made. His father, Herm, was a third baseman and outfielder for five National League clubs between 1872-1882.  Herm was better than Jack.  But Jack was the first son of a Major Leaguer to himself reach the big leagues. more

Holidays & baseball
For baseball fans, Opening Day, the All-Star Game, and the start of the World Series are “national holidays.” But for the national holidays that all Americans celebrate, they have long been special days on the baseball calendar too. more

Suzyn Waldman
For New York Yankees broadcaster Suzyn Waldman, it has all been an “impossible dream.” She could never have imagined being part of the legacy of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. But the two of them were going to make history together. more

Plaque Check: Pud Galvin
Since baseball may have seen it’s last 300-game winner in Randy Johnson, (at least for a long time to come), we would do well to recall the first member of the club, a pitcher named James Francis “Pud” Galvin of St. Louis, Missouri. more

Billy Herman
Forty years ago, infielder Billy Herman was part of the “Class of 1975.” He was a popular choice in that he was truly a “baseball lifer,” and everyone in the game seemed to know him and like him. more

Rube Waddell
Pete Sheehy, who worked in the New York Yankees clubhouse from 1927 to 1985, saw a lot of left-handers come and go during those 58 seasons. And with the wisdom that one acquires observing human behavior, he had the science of “handedness” down to a gesture. more

Paul Waner
When Paul Waner got his 3,000th hit in 1942, he was the only player between Eddie Collins (1925) and Stan Musial (1958) to achieve that feat. It was a span of 33 years, and no one but Waner broke the barrier in all that time. more

Harry Heilmann
One of the first ballplayers to transition from the field to the broadcast booth was Detroit’s Harry Heilmann, the four-time batting champion whose success at the plate came during an era when legendary hitters were dominant. more

Plaque Check / Joe Medwick
He was an occasional member of the makeshift Gas House Gang band, and presumably just as bad as the rest of them, but on a team of popular players with colorful nicknames, he managed to stand out. more

Plaque Check / Clark Griffith
In Babe Ruth’s rookie season of 1914, he was up and down between Providence, Baltimore and Boston, but he did finish the year with the Red Sox, and he did pitch in the season finale, a meaningless 11-4 victory over Washington in Fenway Park, as the Red Sox finished second and Washington third. It was one of five appearances Ruth made for Boston that season. more

Plaque check/ Babe Ruth issue/ Lazzeri
In 1927, the year Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs and Lou Gehrig hit 47 – the baseball world did not implode from power hitting. They were exceptions to the rule, almost as though they were the only ones being thrown lively balls by pitchers. more

Dan Brouthers
For baseball fans in the mid-20th century, the name Dan Brouthers was as well known as Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle is to today’s fans. The time span is the same, and Brouthers was in the conversation of who was the greatest 19th century player. more

Larry Doby/Plaque Check
It would be ironic to say that Larry Doby was the second baseball player honored with a U.S. postage stamp – but he wasn’t. (That was Babe Ruth). Still, when Doby’s time came in 2011, the Buzz Aldrin of baseball received his due. more

Burleigh Grimes/Plaque Check
As the career of Burleigh Grimes fades further into past, baseball fans have a shorthand recall of him: last pitcher to throw a legal spitball, and nickname of Ol’ Stubblebeard. more

Joe Tinker/Plaque Check
“These are the saddest of possible words: ‘Tinker to Evers to Chance’ – Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble ‘Tinker to Evers to Chance’” You didn’t have to follow baseball to know this poem.  more

Jacob Ruppert/Plaque Check
If Jacob Ruppert was able to attend his induction ceremony in Cooperstown this year, it’s possible that his thoughts might drift back to a ceremony filled with pomp and ceremony in 1892, on the 400th anniversary of Columbus discovering America 1892. more

Sol White
Sol White wasn’t the first sportswriter in the Hall of Fame. That would have been British-born Henry Chadwick, who made it into the big room on his own merits. This was long before the Spink Award was established (1962) to annually honor journalists. more

Sliding Billy Hamilton
Remember the Boston Red Sox second baseman in the 1986 World Series? Marty Barrett. Played nine seasons for Boston. Well, a century before, there was another Marty Barrett, this one a catcher, and he also played in Boston – for the predecessors of the Boston Braves – the Boston Beaneaters. Baseball fans love stuff like this. more

Rabbit Maranville/Plaque Check
Walter James Vincent Maranville, who played Major League baseball from 1912-1935, reminds of us of the reason that fans always seemed to fall for little, light-hitting middle infielders who found so many ways to beat you. And when you had a nickname like “Rabbit,” it didn’t hurt either. more

Happy Chandler
Succeeding Kenesaw Mountain Landis as Commissioner of Baseball was not unlike succeeding J. Edgar Hoover as head of the FBI or Franklin D. Roosevelt as President of the United States. After such a long time in office – 25 years in Landis’s case – the job was so associated with one figure, succession would be a great challenge. more

Wilbert Robinson
The folksy, neighborly image we now have of the Brooklyn Dodgers was largely shaped by Wilbert Robinson, their manager from 1914-1931, during which time sportswriters began referring to the team as the “Robins” in his honor.  more

Harry Hooper
Harry Hooper was the first Red Sox batter in the very first game at Fenway Park, and although he went 0-for-5 that afternoon, he was there for the start of a world championship season, one of four the Sox would win over the next seven years.  more

Joe Sewell/Plaque Check
Talk about stepping into a pressure situation. Joe Sewell was 21 years old, and in his second year of pro baseball. He had gone to spring training in 1921, but had failed to make much of an impression on Cleveland manager Tris Speaker. more

Roger Bresnahan/The Duke of Tralee
During his playing career of 1897-1915, most baseball people and fans thought Roger Bresnahan was a native of Ireland, and his nickname – The Duke of Tralee – spoke to that. more

George Weiss/Plaque Check
Before Pat Gillick, the last pure executive inducted into the Hall of Fame was George Weiss, best known as Casey Stengel’s general manager on the Yankees and the Mets. Weiss was selected in 1971, five years after his retirement from the game and a year before his death. more

Sam Crawford/Plaque Check
In 1913, Yahoo Sam Crawford of Detroit hit his 245th career triple, breaking the lifetime mark held by Jake Beckley. Ever since that day, he has held the career record. That was 98 years ago, and there is no sign that that record – which wound up being 309 – is going to fall anytime soon. (Later research brought the total down from 312, as it says on his plaque). more

George Kell
In an era before free agency, it was unusual to find a player of Hall of Fame quality play for five teams during a career of just 14 full seasons. And George Kell was no ordinary player, as demonstrated by his ten All-Star selections, his .306 lifetime average, a batting championship, and as many as 218 hits in a season.  more

Plaque Check – Morgan Bulkeley
The community of baseball is justifiably proud of those who served their nation during time of war, and the Hall of Fame has long called special attention to those veterans of military service who went on to induction in the Hall itself.  more

King Kelly On Stage
Before there was YouTube, before there was MySpace, before there was television, before there was radio, and before there were movies, entertainers had the vaudeville stage and local saloons to present their acts, and vaudeville was where you wanted to be if you really thought you had some talent. Talent, or at least celebrity. Mike “King” Kelly of Boston was the biggest sports celebrity in the land in the 1880s. more

Johnny Mize
Young St. Louis Cardinals fans in the 1930s loved their Gashouse Gang, but oh, did they wish they had their very own version of Babe Ruth. And then, in 1936, they got him. more

Pee Wee Reese/ Sportsmanship

It’s been more than half a century since Pee Wee Reese played his last game for the Dodgers, but his legacy endures. The dedication of a statue in Brooklyn several years ago showing Pee Wee with a symbolic hand on Jackie Robinson’s shoulder spoke well of how a small gesture can help change social history. more

Earle Combs

Forty summers ago, it became official. The hallowed ground of center field in Yankee Stadium, to which everyone thinks “DiMaggio,” “Mantle” (and for younger fans, Bernie Williams), was in fact hallowed ground going back to 1925. That’s because 40 years ago, Earle Combs, the gentlemanly, pre-maturely grey center fielder on the Murderer’s Row team, was elected to the Hall of Fame. more

Plaque Check – Johnny Evers

While today’s publishing industry seems to love books from big stars, it took a long time for books by players to find their way into the marketplace. Mike “King” Kelly produced a book in 1888, John Montgomery Ward that same year, and then Cap Anson had one in 1900.  more


While the pyramids of Egypt would hardly qualify as “barns,” they did prove the setting of what might be called the very origins of baseball’s barnstorming days.  more

Plaque Check/ Buck Ewing

In the early years of Veteran’s Committee selections, electors were charged with identifying 19th century players worthy of full Hall of Fame induction. In 1939, the committee (then called the Centennial Commission) was comprised of just three men – Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, National League President Ford Frick, and American League President Will Harridge. more

Sy Berger

This is a bubble gum card story that begins at the kitchen table. Like many tales of “off the field” baseball, it’s a sweet story. Sy Berger, a Bucknell University graduate and a World War II veteran, was a young hire at the Topps Gum Company.  more

Nap Lajoie

When the American League began play in 1901, two major stars jumped ship from the National League, seeking to overcome the $2400 maximum salary level. One was Cy Young, who would become the winningest pitcher of all time and whose name would live on as the name affixed to the ‘best pitcher’ award each season. Every baseball fan knows Cy Young. more

Larry MacPhail – WW I

Larry MacPhail was the bombastic top executive of the Dodgers, Reds, and Yankees, who brought air travel to teams and night games to Major League Baseball. His creative mind was always ticking. He didn’t procrastinate, he acted. more

Red Ruffing

This August 5 will mark 70 years since Charlie “Red” Ruffing passed Bob Shawkey as the winningest pitcher in Yankee history. While southpaw Whitey Ford would pass Ruffing in 1965, Red remains the winningest righty, and figures to continue to be so for at least another generation.  more

Slide, Kelly, Slide

The birth of the recording industry came a few decades after the birth of the professional base ball industry, but they came to meet nicely one morning at a recording studio in New Jersey with the production of a little song called “Slide, Kelly, Slide.” more

Martin Dihigo

To baseball fans, the first two electees to the Hall of Fame by the special committee chosen to honor the Negro Leagues’ legacy were familiar names – Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson. You had to be a fan who knew Negro League history to know those who immediately followed – Buck Leonard, Cool Papa Bell, Judy Johnson, Oscar Charleston and Pop Lloyd.  more

Sliding Billy Hamilton

For fans of modern baseball, it was Luis Aparicio who heralded in a new era of base stealing in the 1950s, an era that was soon punctuated by the feats of Maury Wills, who broke Ty Cobb’s single season record in 1962. more

Amos Rusie

Imagine being a pitcher and having a year so dominating, that they move the mound back ten feet the following season. Not just for you, but for everyone, and you’re the reason. You’re just too good for the game, and it can’t continue under existing standards without too many people striking out. Moving the mound changes the course of baseball forever, and it’s all your doing. more

Baseball Figures & Politics

Who is the only New York Yankees player to ever serve in Congress? If you answered Pi Schwert, who caught 12 games for the 1914 and 1915 teams, you are one fine trivia fan. more

The 500 Home Run Club

One of the more revealing tales in Leigh Montville’s acclaimed 2004 biography of Ted Williams was a small anecdote that had to do with Williams’ considering retirement following the 1954 season. He was going through a divorce, was concerned about alimony payments coming out of his salary, and some had suggested that he might be better off not playing. He even told the Boston writers that he was going to quit after ’54. more

A free round of golf for Mickey and Whitey

The first of the two All-Star Games of 1961 was to be played in Candlestick Park, San Francisco. With the game being played on Tuesday, and the Yankees playing Sunday afternoon in Chicago, teammates Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford flew to San Francisco immediately after the game and had a full day off on Monday. more

Baseball Best Sellers

Baseball’s place in American literature is not necessarily measured by book sales and a landing on best-seller lists. Indeed, many fine books about the game develop cult followings, strong word-of-mouth, and a treasured place in baseball libraries without being necessarily reflected in sales. more

Ladies Days

Ladies Days ended in, naturally, the 1960s, an era when much that was accepted without question in America came under challenge. more

Kelly and the Autograph

By the latter part of the 19th century, people knew that it was a nice thing to own the signature of a Washington, a Lincoln or a General Grant, but the practice of approaching someone and saying, “Can I please have your autograph?” did not exist until young baseball fans followed Mike “King” Kelly to the South End Grounds on Walpole Street in Boston in the late 1880s. more

The Birth of Instant Replay

Using videotape instant replays has changed the way we watch sports over the last four decades. The idea that people saw Bobby Thomson’s historic home run in 1951, and never saw it again until movie theater newsreels a week later is almost unthinkable today. more