Classic Fun in Cooperstown: Jay Johnstone to Appear at Hall of Fame Classic

Legends Game to be Held June 20 at Doubleday Field

May 24, 2010
Jay Johnstone will appear at the 2010 Hall of Fame Classic. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

COOPERSTOWN, NY – Jay Johnstone was known for his clubhouse hijinks and his ability to keep teams loose. He was also good enough with a bat to spend 20 years in the major leagues.

Johnstone will bring his fun-loving ways back to the field for the 2010 Hall of Fame Classic.

Johnstone, best known for his pinch-hit, two-run homer in Game Four of the 1981 World Series that rallied the Dodgers against the Yankees, 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 Johnstone – 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.

Johnstone, who played outfield for the Angels, White Sox, Athletics, Phillies, Yankees, Padres, Dodgers and Cubs, loved pulling pranks that included dressing up as his Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda, nailing teammates’ cleats to the floor and joining the groundskeepers to sweep the infield between innings.

But Johnstone could also get it done on the field. On July 3, 1970, Johnstone made a dazzling seventh-inning catch of a 400-foot Reggie Jackson fly ball to preserve Angels teammate Clyde Wright’s no-hitter.

He compiled a career batting average of .267 with 102 homers, was a versatile fielder and served as a color commentator for Yankees broadcast after his retirement.

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, Jeff Kent, Tim Leary, Bill Madlock, Mike Pagliarulo, Dennis Rasmussen, Lee Smith and Rich Surhoff. 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.

Samantha Carr is the manager of web and digital media for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum