Positioned Perfectly: Versatile Infielder Desi Relaford to Appear at Hall of Fame Classic

Legends Game to be Held June 20 at Doubleday Field

June 01, 2010
Desi Relaford will appear in the 2010 Hall of Fame Classic. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

COOPERSTOWN, NY – Many infielders can play more than one position, but Desi Relaford went above and beyond, even proving successful on the pitcher’s mound.

Predominantly a shortstop during his 11-year big league career, Relaford took the mound in a blowout while with the Mets in 2001, throwing a perfect inning with a strikeout and 90-plus mph heat. Now, Relaford is ready to showcase his versatile skills in Cooperstown.

Relaford, a .243 career hitter with 40 homers, 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 Relaford – 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.

Relaford, a fourth round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners in 1991, spent time with the Phillies, Padres, Mets, Mariners, Royals, Rockies and Rangers during his career. His best season came in 2001 in New York, hitting .302 with eight homers and 36 RBIs.

Despite playing seven different field positions during his career, Relaford’s strong defense earned him a .960 career fielding percentage.

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, Frank DiPino, Steve Grilli, Jay Johnstone, Jeff Kent, Tim Leary, Bill Madlock, Dickie Noles, Mike Pagliarulo, Dennis Rasmussen, Lee Smith, Tony Saunders and Rich Surhoff.

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