The Rocket Gets To Cooperstown

This town isn’t often surprised by celebrities. It has, after all, hosted every Hall of Famer not posthumously elected, and until a few years ago it used to be visited by two major league teams a year in an annual exhibition game.

That was until Roger Clemens showed up in front of the CVS.
Just as the post-induction crowds were thinning out, Clemens suddenly showed up here, walking down Main Street unescorted at dusk, signing autographs for most of a clot of 100 or so people that came out of the shops and restaurants as the buzz spread that it really was him. He didn’t stop to chat, and he wasn’t sightseeing. The explanation was simple, and provided by other Dads in from out of town, with their twelve-year olds in tow. Clemens was merely escorting, and watching as, his youngest son Kody competed in a Cooperstown Dreams game – the little league-ish competition that has re-loaded the kid supply around here.
So, if like me, you thought you’d never see Clemens in Cooperstown, you’d be wrong – I just saw him. Thus, after three days of Pete Rose and now The Jettisoned Rocket: Cooperstown, Village of The Damned?

The caretakers of history here were already promised Dewayne Wise’s glove and several other artifacts from Mark Buehrle’s perfect game. Lord knows what they’ll want now that Buehrle has taken a prospective second consecutive perfecto longer than anybody else, and retired a record 45 in a row. Did he wear anything in both games with which he could part? Would you give up your glove, your cap, your spikes?
I watched Yu Darvish’s spikes from The World Baseball Classic get unpacked in the processing room here today, and got to play in the secret vaults some more between another day of research.
You ever heard of The Temple Cup?

OK, here is the real star of the show, a little more clearly:
If the teams had taken it more seriously, today, this surprisingly light trophy might be “Baseball’s Holy Grail.” It was competed for by the teams finishing first and second in the National League after the 1894, 1895, 1896, and 1897 seasons, in a bid to re-create some of the post-season excitement created by the early World Series before the wars of 1890 and 1891 and the subsequent absorption of the American Association by the N.L. In three of the four years, the runners-up won, but the regular season champs claimed the title anyway. There were two sweeps of the best-of-sevens, and the other two ended 4-to-1, and after the ’97 Temple Cup, they called Pirates’ owner William Temple and gave him his Cup back.
For now it rests in cold storage at the Hall, though will soon be back on display in the 19th Century section. I’m sorry it didn’t get taken seriously; it is a cross between the Stanley Cup and the fictional cup presented to Charles Foster Kane by his newspaper staff in “Citizen Kane,” later found after Kane’s death in an endless storage area. “Welcome home Mr. Kane, From 467 Employees of the New York Inquirer.”

Bud Selig has now made his point clear: he’s not budging on Pete Rose.
That wasn’t the point of my reporting on it, nor Bill Madden’s, nor anybody else’s.
The point is, there is now pressure, from at least three key Hall of Famers whom Selig respects, on Bud to reverse course. Repeating from last night: Joe Morgan, Hank Aaron, and Frank Robinson could be the only three Hall of Famers who would actual vote to admit Rose. The issue is whether or not Rose is made eligible for election by the Veterans’ Committee. And the reporting of this new pressure is not advocacy, it is informational.
And it’s true.




    Hey Keith! Love your show and your commentary in general. I was born and raised in Coop, and was visiting this weekend and did not even know it was Induction! Perhaps I am still jaded from my youth. As an aside, I used to work at that CVS on Main Street. Not to ramble on, but I was wondering how you managed to post to your blog? Cooperstown may be the home of the Hall, but it certainly lacks wifi! Pete Rose deserves to be in the Hall.

  2. vtyankee68

    Damn. I was in Cooperstown Tuesday, at the HOF and I missed both you and Clemens…I have a couple of questions. Why, if Pete Rose is not eligible to be voted into the HOF are many of his artifacts there, as well as his numbers… his MLB record number of hits noted? And how the hell are Ryne Sandberg and Gary Carter in and Don Mattingly doesn’t get a sniff? A friend told me Ryno and “Kid” were the 2nd best at their position in their era… Donny Baseball was THE best at his position in his era, hands down.
    Lobby for this guy, Keith!

  3. historymike

    Keith, we all may have overestimated Bud Selig’s willingness to listen to intelligent people. Letting Rose into the Hall of Fame can be done without lifting his ban on working or associating with major league baseball. And while we’re at it, I think Shoeless Joe Jackson’s time has come.

  4. beegee

    the ultimate trade, Keith – Rose for the Rocket. gambling seems like such a petty vice compared with drug abuse….in gambling, the gambler is the ‘sinner’; with drug abuse, its the abuser and an impact on the team, by potentially juicing the results. unless the gambler fixed the game, like they did in the black sox scandal – what’s the big deal? so Rose bet on baseball. he’s being punished for the sins of the black sox, really when you think about it.
    with Rocket and Bonds – in addition to the drug abuse – they lied too. and i hope there’s no lying in baseball. at least Rose owned up. the man needs to be in the Hall. since i truly believe that henry aaron is the most honorable man in sports – maybe he can prevail on his friend selig. step forward bud and do the right thing. lift the ban. he’s served his penance.


    Keith, I’ve missed you on Coutndown…hope you’re enjoying yourself in Cooperstown, I live really close to there.


    OK, so my 19 year old daughter–who can keep a score book and explain the infield fly rule to you–says that if Rose comes into the Hall not only does Shoeless Joe but–the entire Black Sox Team should come in as a group.

    If it’s about fame (as well as statistics) then let’s reward fame. Black Sox? Not famous? Not deserving to be remembered for-baseball–ever?

    And while you’re at it, Harvey Haddix. No one else ever pitched that many perfect innings, win or lose. Not famous? Not deserving to be remembered for-baseball–ever?

    Let’s get on it, here.


    Maybe one of my fellow baseball junkies on here can answer this question.

    I was thinking about this after Buehrle threw his perfect game last week – has there ever been a pitcher who has thrown a no-hitter and lost?

  8. 1948braves

    lreed, Since no one responded to your post, I looked up your question as I didn’t know the answer. Here’s what I found – you are not going to believe who scored the winning run!

    “Unlike a perfect game, in which no batters reach base, in regular no-hitters batters can reach base in other ways, such as a walk, an error, or a hit batsman. Thus it is possible to lose a no-hitter. On April 23, 1964, Ken Johnson of the Houston Colt .45s became the only pitcher to lose a complete game no-hitter in nine innings when he was beaten 1-0 by Cincinnati. The winning run was scored by Pete Rose in the top of the ninth inning via an error, groundout, and another error.[10] In 1967, Steve Barber and Stu Miller of the Baltimore Orioles pitched a combined no-hitter, but lost 2-1 to the Detroit Tigers.[11]”

    The Houston Colt .45s? I never ever heard of them. lol!! I had to go and research the name to be sure it was correct. They are the current Houston Astros.

    “(Shoeless Joe) Jackson’s fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning.” – Connie Mack


    I still can’t get the image out of my head of Dan Burton(R-Indiana) giving a hand job at the hearings to Clemens. What a pair of tools.

    P.S. Get Back to work! Howard Dean ain’t no Larry O’Donnell.

  10. p-funks

    Hey Keith. I’m looking forward to your take on today’s news about Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz appearing on the 2003 list for players testing positive for PEDs. I’m no longer surprised by any of these folks and I suspect few would be. Still, I want to hear your thoughts on it.


    Keith, I will be interested in your response to Canseco’s claim that there is now a HOF’er who used. Who ???

  12. strike29

    We can dissect which games Rose bet on, what it means, what rules it broke, why else it was bad, etc etc ad nauseum. All of it is irrelevant as regards the HoF.

    The Hall is for the standout players of the game. On that basis if Pete Rose doesn’t belong there, then nobody does.

    Pick a game –any game– off today’s schedule and watch a runner going into a close play at second. Now watch the same play from 50 years ago and notice the difference in the slide. That’s one way Rose singlehandedly changed the game. When he came up in 1963 and started that head-first sliding, everybody thought he was insane; then it became his signature; then it became the norm.

    THAT is impact. And that is what the HoF is made of. To deny Pete Rose’s accomplishments- which is what this silly ban does- is to deny history. By doing so the Game ignores rather than sanitizes its own accomplishments and in effect lives a lie.

    All this pretentiousness about ethics and gambling and lying and egomania has less to do with ethics, more to do with PR posturing and nothing to do with the playing of the Game. It’s all well and good if your purpose is to slam the barn door after the horse is gone, but this horse left long ago- and it started running, took the extra base and slid in mane-first.

    If we’re going to make Mr. Congeniality part of the standards, we have a lot of weeding to do, starting with Ty Cobb. I’d rather have a HoF that means what it says it means.


    Really enjoying your comments from Cooperstown. After 50 years of being a baseball fan I finally got a chance for my first trip to Cooperstown three weeks ago.

    It still brings tears to my eyes to think about it, but the one thing on that trip that really hit home to me was that Pete Rose belongs in the HOF. I spent years as a Dodger and Padres fan watching him play and hating everytime he came flying around those bases with his hat flying off to beat my teams. And I was secretly pleased when the gambling was discovered and he was banned.

    Then three weeks ago, standing there and reading his name on on the record walls time after time it hit me. He belongs! It brought back memories of what an incredible competitor he was.


    If Pete Rose, whose statistics are at a Hall of Fame level, gets an MLB pardon and permission to be admitted, then there is no longer a legitimate argument to keep Shoeless Joe Jackson out of the Hall. Rose admitted to gambling against his own team as a manager. Jackson has never been convicted of any crime at all. Granted, he received $5 thousand from Lefty Williams, which he claimed not to want and tried to give to owner Charles Comiskey after the season, but was prohibited from seeing him by Comiskey secretary Harry Grabiner who told Jackson to keep the money.
    Judge Landis said Jackson tried to throw the 1919 World Series. Let’s see how he tried to do that. He had 32 AB, 12 H, 3 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR (the only series HR on either team), 5 R, 6 RBI and a .375 BA (Best avg. on both teams of players with more than 7 AB)
    What else can be said about Jackson’s HOF qualifications?
    Although he never won a batting title, he has the third highest average of all time. His .356 average is exceeded only by Ty Cobb .366 and Rodgers Hornsby .358. In his first full year in the AL with the Cleveland Naps he hit .408.
    Finally, two former players who might be considered baseball experts by most neutral observers, Ted Williams, and Bob Feller tried to get Jackson reinstated. It didn’t work, but if Rose is allowed in the HOF and Joe Jackson isn’t there is something really rotten in Cooperstown.

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