COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Fred McGriff was cut from his high school baseball team as a sophomore – and became so determined to improve he road his bike 20 miles to the gym to train.
All that hard work paid off.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – His career is unlike almost every other Yankees star, because it included no World Series glory.
But even without a championship on his resumé, Don Mattingly remains an all-time favorite among Yankees fans – and deeply etched into the team's record book.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – For a man who played less than half of his big league seasons in New York, Tino Martinez has always appeared most at home in pinstripes.
Four World Series rings – and a legion of adoring fans – will do that.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Edgar Martinez has been elected into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame, the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame and the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame.
Now he's got his sights set on Cooperstown.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Al Leiter pitched parts of six big league seasons before establishing himself at the major league level.
But after that, the strikeout-minded left-hander made up for lost time – both on the field and in the community.
But check the numbers: 12 All-Star Game selections in 19 seasons for Barry Larkin. It doesn't get much better than that for any shortstop.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – For pitchers, the standard of excellence is the perfect game.
For catchers, it's the perfect season – like the one authored in 1997 by Charles Johnson.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Bobby Higginson fought for 11 seasons to be the best player he could be.
As a native of the tough streets of Philadelphia and the grandson of a heavyweight boxer, Higginson knew no other way.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – It was a job Lenny Harris never wanted, because it meant he wasn't playing regularly.
But pinch-hitting became Harris' destiny. And no one did it better.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – The combination of power and speed on the diamond is an unusual one, and players who translate that ability into success are rarer still.
Marquis Grissom had both – as well as a burning work ethic. The result was one of the most unique careers in big league history.