Style of the Game: Rollie Fingers to Appear at Hall of Fame Classic
Legends Game to be Held Sunday, June 20 at Doubleday Field
COOPERSTOWN, NY – Rollie Fingers spent most of his big league career changing how baseball is played.
This Father’s Day, Fingers will have the chance to make a little more history at the second-annual Hall of Fame Classic on Sunday in Cooperstown.
Fingers, the 1981 American League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player Award winner and former holder of the big league saves record, will suit up on Father’s Day at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown in the Hall of Fame Classic. The second-annual Classic Weekend will also feature fellow Hall of Famers Gary Carter, Bob Feller, Goose Gossage, Harmon Killebrew, Phil Niekro and Ozzie Smith, along with 20 other former major league stars 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.
Fingers redefined the reliever’s position in baseball, first with the Oakland A’s dynasty of the early 1970s and then with the Padres and Brewers. After moving between the rotation and the bullpen for the A’s in his first three seasons, Fingers saved 21 games and won 11 more for the A’s in 1972 en route to Oakland’s first World Series title. He was named to his first of seven All-Star teams the next season.
From 1972-74, Fingers won or saved 11 of Oakland’s 21 postseason victories.
Known for his trademark handlebar mustache, Fingers signed with the Padres as a free agent following the 1976 season, and led the National League in saves in each of the next two seasons. He was sent to the Brewers before the 1981 season – a year he saved 28 games and posted a microscopic 1.04 ERA before winning the Cy Young and MVP awards.
Fingers retired after the 1985 season with a then-record 341 saves. His ability to close games in the late innings changed the way managers and general managers built their bullpens, and resulted in his election to the Hall of Fame in 1992.
Tickets for the Hall of Fame Classic are available by calling 1-607-547-0397 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $12.50 for first and third base seats and $11 for outfield seats.
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 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, Dave Fleming, Jay Johnstone, Jeff Kent, Tim Leary, Bill Madlock, Mike Pagliarulo, Dennis Rasmussen 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.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum