COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Benito Santiago began his major league career as one of the best catchers in baseball.
Almost two decades later, Santiago was still at the top of his game. Now, he is eligible for the Hall of Fame.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Kirk Rueter reduced all the statistics and analysis surrounding big league pitching to two numbers: Wins and losses.
And by the end of his career, no left-hander wearing a San Francisco Giants uniform had won more games than Rueter.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Tim Raines finished his big league career with the highest percentage of stolen bases of any player with 300-plus steals.
Now he is hoping to join the one percent of major league baseball players to make it into the Hall of Fame.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – For a time, Dave Parker was the undisputed best player in Major League Baseball.
And though his career took more than a few unexpected twists, the numbers Parker left behind tell the story of a player who could do it all.
"I was a five-tool player," Parker said. "I could do it all, but perhaps too controversial."
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Rafael Palmeiro's numbers place him among the greatest hitters ever to play the game.
Palmeiro, who played 20 big league seasons with the Rangers, Orioles and Cubs, is one of 33 players on the 2011 Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot for the Class of 2011 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Palmeiro is making his debut on the BBWAA ballot.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – John Olerud's pro baseball career started at the top.
From there, Olerud ascended even greater heights – and today he stands on the edge of Cooperstown and the Hall of Fame.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – When most teams can't get a draft pick to sign his contract, it's because the player wants more money.
Not Dale Murphy.
The Atlanta Braves drafted Murphy with the fifth pick in the first round in 1974 and offered him a number.
"He told me it was too much money, to take it back and reconsider," said longtime Braves scouting supervisor Paul Snyder.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – He was a four-time World Series winner, a five-time All-Star and the author of what is possibly the greatest Game 7 World Series pitching performance of all-time.
But not even 254 big league victories and 14 straight Opening Day starts due justice to the legacy of Jack Morris, whose career can be summed up in one word: Competitor.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – At the plate or in the field, Raul Mondesi could do it all on the diamond.
Now, the former National League Rookie of the Year gets his shot at Cooperstown.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Statistically, he's the most consistent power hitter the game has ever known.
Mark McGwire's story contains so much more than that. But on the field, McGwire was undeniably a star.
"I still tell him that it was an honor and pleasure to play with him," said Albert Pujols, the man who took over for McGwire at first base for the St. Louis Cardinals.