Base­ball wel­comes new Hall mem­bers

Bag­well, Raines and Ro­driguez are among five in­ducted in an emo­tional cer­e­mony.

Los Angeles Times - - BASEBALL - as­so­ci­ated press

COOP­ER­STOWN, N.Y. — Ivan Ro­driguez stared at his fa­ther, wip­ing away tears as he spoke.

“I love you with all of my heart,” Ro­driguez said. “If I’m a Hall of Famer, you’re a Hall of Famer — dou­ble.”

Those words punc­tu­ated Ro­driguez’s speech as he was in­ducted Sun­day into the Base­ball Hall of Fame. Jeff Bag­well and Tim Raines, along with for­mer com­mis­sioner Bud Selig and ex­ec­u­tive John Schuer­holz, also were en­shrined in front of more than 27,000 peo­ple.

“It’s al­ways emo­tional when you see the fans cheer­ing for you, and my whole fam­ily in front of me,” Bag­well said. “I’m an emo­tional per­son. It’s a dream just to be part of this beau­ti­ful group. Now I have that plaque for­ever. It’s un­be­liev­able.”

Raines thanked his mom and dad, who were seated in the front row, and later fo­cused on Hall of Famer An­dre Daw­son, his team­mate with the Mon­treal Ex­pos when he first broke into the ma­jor leagues in the early 1980s.

“With­out An­dre Daw­son there’s no telling where I’d be,” said Raines, who fought co­caine prob­lems early in his ca­reer. “I wanted to kind of be like you and he fi­nally ac­cepted and I fol­lowed. Thank you so much for mak­ing me the player I be­came.”

Ro­driguez, 45, holds ma­jor league records for games caught (2,427) and putouts by a catcher (12,376). He hit 311 homers and bat­ted .296.

Bag­well, 48, is the only first base­man with 400 home runs and 200 stolen bases. He hit 449 home runs and from 1996 to 2001 had at least 30 homers, 100 runs and 100 RBIs per sea­son.

Raines, 57, a switch-hit­ter, bat­ted .294 and had a .385 on-base per­cent­age in his 23-year ca­reer, fin­ish­ing with 2,605 hits, 1,571 runs and 808 stolen bases. He had 70 steals or more in each sea­son from 1981 to 1986.

For Selig, who was cel­e­brat­ing his 83rd birth­day, it was a re­ver­sal of roles. For more than two decades he gave out the Hall of Fame plaques on in­duc­tion day.

“It’s an over­whelm­ing, stun­ning feel­ing,” said Selig, who left a large im­print dur­ing more than 22 years as the leader of the game.

Schuer­holz, 76, spent 26 years as a gen­eral man­ager of the Kansas City Roy­als and At­lanta Braves. His teams won 16 di­vi­sion ti­tles, six pen­nants and two World Se­ries, one in each league.

Mike Stobe Getty Im­ages

TIM RAINES (with glasses) hugs Ivan Ro­driguez as Johnny Bench, right, looks on.

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