Ro­driguez, Raines, Bag­well, Selig, Schuer­holz en­ter Hall

The Maui News - - SPORTS - By JOHN KEKIS The As­so­ci­ated Press

COOP­ER­STOWN, N.Y. — Ivan Ro­driguez stared out 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 Ma­jor League Base­ball com­mis­sioner Bud Selig and front-of­fice guru John Schuer­holz, also were en­shrined on a pic­ture-per­fect sum­mer day in front of more than 27,000 fans.

Be­fore he started, Ro­driguez re­ceived a stand­ing ova­tion from hun­dreds of fans, many wear­ing red-and-white jer­seys with “Puerto Rico” em­bla­zoned on the front. He then pro­ceeded to give half his speech in Span­ish.

“This is such an in­cred­i­ble honor for me,” Ro­driguez said. “A lit­tle kid from Puerto Rico with a big dream. Never let them take your dream away from you.”

Ro­driguez, who spent most of his 21-year-ca­reer with the Texas Rangers, holds the ma­jor league records for games caught (2,427) and putouts by a catcher (12,376). He also played for the Detroit Tigers, Florida Mar­lins, New York Yankees, Hous­ton Astros and Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als, and hit 311 home runs while bat­ting .296. He’s the sec­ond catcher elected on the first bal­lot, join­ing Johnny Bench, who was seated on the dais be­hind him.

Bag­well spent his en­tire 15year ca­reer with Hous­ton, and was one-third of the Astros’ “Killer B’s,” along with Craig Big­gio, a fel­low Hall of Famer, and Lance Berk­man. Elected in his sev­enth year on the bal­lot, Bag­well bat­ted .297 in his ca­reer, and is the only first base­man with 400 ca­reer homers (he had 449) and 200 stolen bases (he fin­ished with 202).

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

Raines was greeted by scores of fans from Canada, many of whom came aboard sev­eral buses. He thanked his mother and fa­ther and later fo­cused on Hall of Famer An­dre Daw­son, a team­mate with the Montreal Ex­pos when Raines first broke into the ma­jor leagues.

“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.”

Raines, who also played for the Yankees, Mar­lins, Chicago White Sox, Oak­land Ath­let­ics and Bal­ti­more Ori­oles, earned enough votes for in­duc­tion in his fi­nal year on the bal­lot. He bat­ted .294 in a 23-year ca­reer, and had 808 stolen bases — the fifth-high­est to­tal in ma­jor league his­tory, with a stretch of 70 or more steals each sea­son from 1981 to 1986, a streak that still stands alone. His suc­cess rate of 84.7 per­cent tops the list among play­ers with at least 400 steal at­tempts.

Selig spent more than 22 years as com­mis­sioner. He was in­stru­men­tal in the approval of in­ter­league play, the ex­pan­sion of the play­offs, split­ting each league into three di­vi­sions with wild cards, in­sti­tut­ing video re­view and rev­enue-shar­ing in an era that saw the con­struc­tion of 20 ma­jor league ball­parks. His ten­ure also in­cluded the Steroids Era and the can­cel­la­tion of the 1994 World Se­ries amid a player strike.

In 26 years as a gen­eral man­ager with the Kansas City Roy­als and At­lanta Braves, Schuer­holz’s teams won 16 divi­sion ti­tles, six pen­nants and two World Se­ries. He was the first GM in his­tory to win a World Se­ries in each league.

Eliv­er­ / BILL NALE photo

Maui’s Dy­lan Kokubun slides into third base ahead of a tag by Florida’s Max Joy in the sev­enth in­ning.

AP photo

Ivan Ro­driguez, the sec­ond catcher elected to the Base­ball Hall of Fame in his first year on the bal­lot, speaks dur­ing Sun­day’s in­duc­tion cer­e­monies.

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