Championship Key: Former Dodgers Star Tim Leary to Appear at Hall of Fame Classic

Legends Game to be Held June 20 at Doubleday Field

May 18, 2010
Tim Leary will appear at the 2010 Hall of Fame Classic. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

COOPERSTOWN, NY – The 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers will always be remembered for the brilliant pitching of Orel Hershiser.

But without Tim Leary, the Dodgers would have never completed their improbable run to glory.

Leary, who won 17 regular-season games for the 1988 Dodgers and posted a 1.35 earned-run average in two World Series contests that year against Oakland, will suit up on Father’s Day at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown in the Hall of Fame Classic. The second-annual Classic Weekend will feature Hall of Famers Gary Carter, Bob Feller, Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Harmon Killebrew, Phil Niekro and Ozzie Smith, along with 20 other former major leaguers– like Leary – in a seven-inning exhibition game, with first pitch slated for 2 p.m.

The 2010 Baseball Hall of Fame Classic is co-organized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association. Ford Motor Company will be the Presenting Sponsor of the Baseball Hall of Fame Classic.

Leary, a native of Santa Monica, Calif., was drafted by the New York Mets with the No. 2 overall pick in the 1979 entry draft. The 6-foot-3 right-hander made his big league debut with the Mets in 1981, then was traded to the Brewers in January 1985 as part of a four-team trade. Leary was traded to the Dodgers after the 1986 season in a deal involving Greg Brock.

By 1988, Leary moved into LA’s starting rotation, posting a mark of 17-11 with a 2.91 earned-run average. He finished fourth in the National League with 34 starts, sixth in complete games with nine and eighth in victories. In four postseason starts that year, Leary was 0-1 with a 3.27 earned-run average. The Dodgers won two of the four games he pitched, with Hershiser picking up three of LA’s eight total postseason victories to lead the Dodgers to the championship.

Leary pitched for the Reds, Yankees, Mariners and Rangers in the last six seasons of his big league career. He finished with a 78-105 record in 13 seasons.

Tickets for the Hall of Fame Classic are available online at baseballhall.org or by calling 1-866-849-7770. Tickets are $12.50 for first and third base seats and $11 for outfield seats. A $3.50 handling charge per ticket applies to phone and online orders. Phone orders will be taken Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EDT and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT. The online ordering system at www.baseballhall.org is available 24 hours per day.

Classic Weekend will feature a slate of family friendly activities, highlighted by the return of the Hall of Fame Classic. Other activities planned for Classic Weekend include the Cooperstown Golf Classic fundraiser for the Museum, a reprise of the popular “Family Catch,” the Youth Skills Clinic hosted by several former major league players, a special Voices of the Game program, and other special programs throughout the Museum.

Among the 20 other recently retired players already committed to participate in the Classic include former major league stars Kevin Bass, Paul Blair, Brian Boehringer, Bert Campaneris, John Doherty, Don DeMola, Jim Hannan, Jay Johnstone, Jeff Kent, Bill Madlock, Mike Pagliarulo, Dennis Rasmussen, Lee Smith, Rich Surhoff and Mike Timlin. Additional participants will be announced throughout the spring.

The Hall of Fame Classic will be preceded by the Cooperstown Game Day Parade, presented by the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce, the village of Cooperstown and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, beginning at noon on Main Street. Game participants will ride in the parade on their way to Doubleday Field. The Legends Hitting Contest will begin at 1 p.m., followed by the Hall of Fame Classic at 2 p.m.

On Saturday, June 19, the Museum will present the return of “Family Catch” at Doubleday Field from 12-2 p.m. Beginning at 3 p.m., the Hall of Fame and the MLBPAA will present the Youth Skills Clinic at Doubleday Field, featuring former major league players as instructors. At 7 p.m., the Museum will host a roundtable discussion with the seven Hall of Fame members. Advance registration is required for all events. Please call 607-547-0397 for more information.

For more information on Hall of Fame Classic Weekend events, call 1-888-Hall-of-Fame.

Craig Muder is the director of communications at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum