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It was finally here, Joe Morgan Weekend.
As a life long Reds fan and a huge fan of Reds history, this was a huge weekend for me. I had it circled on my calendar since the day they announced it.
Joe Morgan was to become the sixth player in Cincinnati Reds history to have a statue put out in front of Great American Ball Park.
The festivities were on Friday and Saturday, but Morgan would remain for the third game on Sunday, which happened to be the Sunday Night Baseball game.
I was lucky enough to be there both Friday and Saturday for both sets of festivities and here is my perspective on each day.
Joe Morgan Speech, Unveiling of Sculpture:
The Patrick Languzzi Interview: The Man Behind The Petition About The Dwight Evans For The ‘BBHOF’ Candicacy Campaign
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By John Tuberty – Special Guest Writer and Cooperstown Correspondent (Owner of The Wesbite Tubbs Baseball Blog, please view here . )
Under current Hall of Fame voting rules, the Expansion Era Committee meets once every three years to vote on retired players who are no longer eligible for election by the BBWAA, have been retired 21 or more seasons, and made their biggest contributions to the sport after 1972. In addition to the retired players, the Expansion Era ballot also includes retired managers, umpires, and executives from the post-1972 era. One player who is eligible to be included on December’s Expansion Era ballot is former Red Sox Right Fielder, Dwight Evans.
Despite owning impressive career totals such as 385 Home Runs, 2,446 Hits, and 8 Gold Glove Awards, Evans struggled to draw support in BBWAA Hall of Fame voting and fell off the ballot after failing to draw the necessary five percent needed to stay on the ballot on a very crowded 1999 election. However in recent years, Evans has become a popular Hall of Fame debate in the sabermetric community and several articles have been written in support of his overlooked Hall of Fame candidacy. One particular writer, Patrick Languzzi is spearheading a campaign to put Dwight Evans on December’s Expansion Era ballot. Languzzi, who writes for MLB Reports as the Hall of Fame Correspondent, created his own website, Call to the Hall, which is devoted to bringing awareness to Dwight Evans’ overlooked Hall of Fame candidacy. Languzzi even started a petition which calls for Evans to be selected as one of the twelve finalists on December’s Expansion Era ballot. Languzzi was nice enough to take the time for me to interview him about his Call to the Hall website and petition.
JT: Patrick, you, along with Nick Carfardo of the Boston Globe were recently interviewed by Tom Caron on the New England Sports Network (NESN) to discuss Evans’ overlooked Hall of Fame candidacy (see link below). What was that experience like?
PL: The experience was validating for me, meaning, when I started this project, I never imagined it would have gone as far as it has, and gotten the attention it’s drawn. It’s great to see that I’m not the only one that feels that Evans’ case deserves to be revisited.
JT: You mention in the NESN clip that you got a chance to meet Dwight, what can you tell us about meeting him?
PL: Through all of my research, I’ve gotten to know Evans, and what I’ve found is that he is extremely humble and unwilling to discuss himself as a possible Hall of Fame candidate. He was humble as a player too. A good example of this is the clip from the 1987 All-Star game (see link to clip below) when Dwight fields a fly ball and fires a strike to home plate, Tim Raines the player at third holds from tagging up.
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Pending a failed physical or other unforeseen mishap, Kevin Youkilis will be manning third base and wearing pinstripes when the Red Sox open the 2013 season at Yankee Stadium on April 1. Amazingly, it won’t be until July 19 that the teams will square off in Boston, giving Fenway Park fans their first chance to see their former favorite son in a New York uniform.
Red Sox Nation had an opportunity to adjust to life with Youk in the visitor’s dugout when the White Sox visited Fenway shortly after his trade to Chicago last summer, but this is a much different situation. Boston fans may develop a kinder, gentler hatred for the Yankees since 2004, but there is something about seeing a former Red Sox in enemy colors that still tugs at the heartstrings.
Here’s a look back at some of the biggest Boston heroes to wind up in the Bronx — and how they fared on their Fenway returns. Read the rest of this entry