2016: An Illustrated Year in Review

Written by: Alex Coffey and Jeff Idelson

Major League Baseball's calendar is virtually nonstop, a 162-game regular season schedule played over 180 days, preceded by six weeks of Spring Training, and concluding with four weeks of postseason. There's a rhythm to the season, a pace to the game, and through it all, records are set, milestones are reached, greatness is honored, anniversaries are recognized and winning teams are celebrated.

The game never really goes to sleep for very long. It rarely has a day off. And it's after the final out of the World Series that the fun starts all over again. Awards are presented, Baseball's Winter Meetings convene and the hot stove league is roaring. Caribbean winter leagues spring into action and culminate with Serie del Caribe, when a team representing a nation in the region becomes Caribbean Winter League Champions.

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Soon after, new members of the Hall of Fame are elected, Spring Training begins anew, and the cycle repeats. And as we say goodbye to 2016 and roll out the red carpet for the Hall of Fame Class of 2017, we can reflect upon the last 12 months of baseball through the eyes of Hall of Fame Traveling Photographer Jean Fruth.

All of the imagery Jean creates becomes part of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's permanent archive. Some of her images can be accessed through the Hall of Fame's on-line digital archive, PASTIME. Her work complements that of Hall of Fame Photographer, Milo Stewart, who has been shooting for the Museum since 1992.

Jean traveled far and wide during the last 12 months. Here is a small sample of her work in our 2016 year in review.

2016 kicked off with the announcement of two new Hall of Fame electees, Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza, pictured above. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

The year 2016 started with two wildly popular Hall of Fame electees. On Jan. 6, 2016, Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA as the Class of 2016. With the election of the two sluggers, the Hall of Fame grew to 312 Members, including 217 players.

Newly elected member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Mike Piazza poses for a photo from the top deck of the Empire State Building on January 8, 2016 in New York, New York. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Piazza, pictured above at the top of the Empire State Building, was elected to the Hall of Fame on the strength of a lifetime .308 batting average and 427 home runs. The 12-time All-Star hit 220 of his home runs as a Met, none bigger than the one he hit in the first game back in New York after the horrific tragedies of 9/11, propelling the Mets to victory and giving New Yorkers a much-needed emotional lift.

Players from Mexico take a selfie after defeating Venezuela during the 2016 Caribbean Series Championship game at Estadio Quisqueya on February 7, 2016 in Santo Domingo, Santo Domingo. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

The unofficial start to the baseball season at the beginning of the calendar year, begins with the Caribbean Series - Serie del Caribe - which has been held annually each winter since 1949. The Series currently features the Winter League championship team from each of Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela in a round-robin tournament. Venados de Mazatlan, from Mexico, won in 2016. Tigres del Licey, from the Dominican Republic, has won more than any other team. Jean traveled to the Dominican Republic for nine days to cover the Series.

United States President Barack Obama looks on from the stands with his daughter Sasha Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and the President of Cuba, Raúl Castro, before the start of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team at Estadio Latinoamericano on March 22, 2016 in Havana, Cuba. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Baseball has played a role with the Oval Office since William Howard Taft threw out the ceremonial first pitch to start the 1910 baseball season. With the United States and Cuba trying to bring their relationship closer together, they turned to baseball to help bond the two nations. Major League Baseball participated in an exhibition game against the Cuban National team in March, as part of a week-long series of events.

Mick Jagger performs with The Rolling Stones at Ciudad Deportiva on March 25, 2016 in Havana, Cuba. This Rolling Stones performance is the first by a major international rock band in Cuba, coming days after a historic visit by President Barack Obama of the United States, and a game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team at Estadio Latinoamericano. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

The Rolling Stones embraced the role of closer in Cuba, playing a concert as the final event of this historic week. Formed in 1962, just three years after the end of the Cuban Revolution, the Stones closed with "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" as its encores, much to the delight of the crowd of 500,000 strong.

A detail exterior dusk view of the entrance to Comerica Park on the eve of Opening Day on April 7, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

With the 2016 Major League season set to open in early April, Jean moved from the warm-climate of Cuba to the chilling weather in Detroit, one of three opening days she covered for the Museum. The snow was flying in the Motor City the day before the Tigers' opener at Comerica Park.

Dexter Fowler of the Chicago Cubs makes a leaping catch during the game against the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field on May 6, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Fruth photographed countless regular season and postseason games, like this one on May 6, 2016 at Wrigley Field. Dexter Fowler, pictured above, would be a key part of the Cubs' World Series-winning formula, posting a career-high .393 on-base percentage in 125 games.

A general wide angle interior day time view from the stands of Doubleday Field during the 2016 Hall of Fame Classic on May 28, 2016 in Cooperstown, New York. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Cozy Doubleday Field in Cooperstown played host to the annual Hall of Fame Classic over Memorial Day Weekend. In front of a crowd of 6,412 fans, Melvin Mora slugged two home runs to lead Team Knucksie to a 5-4 victory over Team Wizard. Each spring, recently retired players representing all 30 teams unite in Cooperstown for a fun day of baseball and to meet the fans.

Hall of Famer Jim Rice grabs the young participant of Hall of Famer Andre Dawson to give his own participant time to win the Ford "Race Around the Bases" in-between innings during the 2016 Hall of Fame Classic at Doubleday Field on May 28, 2016. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

It's really hard to score a run when Jim Rice is holding you against his waist. Each Classic features a group of Hall of Fame members who participate as managers and coaches and interact with the fans. In May, Classic Weekend included Andre Dawson, Rollie Fingers, Fergie Jenkins, Rice and Ryne Sandberg.

Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals celebrates after he slides safely home and scores off of a RBI double hit by teammate Ryan Zimmerman in the top of the third inning of a game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 8, 2016. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Bryce Harper has quickly established himself as a bonafide Major League star. During his first five major league seasons, he's earned Rookie of the Year honors, been an MVP, was named to four All-Star teams, and hit 121 home runs. The ultimate sign of respect, Harper was walked a record 13 times in a four game series with the Cubs in early May.

Helicopters fly over Fort Bragg Field on July 3, 2016 for the Fort Bragg Game, as troops serving at the army base watch on. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

On July 3, 2016 Major League Baseball made history by hosting the first regular-season professional contest -- of any sport -- on an active military base. The Miami Marlins squared off against the Atlanta Braves at Fort Bragg, an Army installation in North Carolina, to honor servicemen and women nationwide. Marlins manager Don Mattingly told MLB.com that it was "probably the best venue that I've ever played in. I had the chance to play at Yankee Stadium, the playoffs. There is nothing like tonight."

National League All- Star Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins pitches during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at Petco Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

From Fort Bragg, Jean then traveled to San Diego, Calif. to cover the All-Star Game, capturing some of baseball's rising stars like Jose Fernandez, pictured above. Later in the year, as the regular season began winding down, baseball received tragic news of the death of 24-year old Fernandez, a promising young pitcher for the Miami Marlins. The Marlins players, coaches and manager paid tribute to Fernandez by each wearing his #16 in the first game following his passing.

Newly inducted Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. addresses the crowd during the 2016 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Clark Sports Center on July 24, 2016. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Two weeks after the All-Star Game in San Diego, it was back to Cooperstown for Hall of Fame Weekend. Ken Griffey Jr. delighted the crowd of more than 50,000 by turning his cap backwards as he ended his speech, producing his signature look during batting practice for 22 Major League seasons. The Induction crowd size tied 1999 for the second largest in history, trailing only the turnout in 2007 of 82,000 fans.

Hall of Famer Mike Piazza shows his son Marco Vincenzo Piazza his Hall of Fame plaque, as his father Vince Piazza looks on, during a photo shoot on the back lawn of the Otesaga Resort Hotel on July 24, 2016 in Cooperstown, New York.

After giving his heartfelt speech to an audience including tens of thousands of adoring Mets fans, Mike Piazza, his dad Vince, and his son Marco, shared a light moment with the new Hall of Famer's plaque on the back lawn of the Otesaga Resort Hotel. Not long after, the plaque was installed in the Hall of Fame's Gallery of Plaques. No sport bonds generations as well as baseball.

Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins clear the way for teammate Ichiro Suzuki, who notched his 3000th career hit during a game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on August 7, 2016. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

As Hall of Fame Weekend came to an end, Jean was immediately off to Miami to continue following Ichiro Suzuki in his quest to become just the 30th member of the coveted 3,000 Hit Club. The right fielder didn't make his Major League debut until age 27, and since, has averaged 189 hits annually over 16 seasons. Prior to joining the Mariners in 2000, he played nine seasons for Orix in Japan's Pacific League, where he won three MVPs and seven consecutive batting titles. Ichiro has donated more artifacts to the Hall of Fame than any other current player and has pledged his entire collection to the Museum, which he has visited seven times.

This statue of Hall of Famer Warren Spahn, stands inside the Braves' Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

After capturing Ichiro's historic night, Jean traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to capture the final days of the Atlanta Braves' Turner Field, as they prepare to move into SunTrust Park. This statue of Hall of Famer Warren Spahn stands inside of Turner, an ode to one of the best southpaw pitchers in baseball history.

Retiring Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, who was with the franchise for 67 years since he began in 1950, smiles for a photo in the press box during the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on August 27, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Baseball said goodbye to one of its legendary broadcasters this year in Vin Scully, the voice of the Dodgers for 67 seasons. Jean made sure to capture the 1982 Ford C. Frick Award winner in the booth one last time before he retired at the end of the regular season.

A general wide angle interior day time view from the stands of the special design on the field of Fenway Park depicting retiring Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz and his signature celebration, during batting practice on October 2, 2016. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

The Boston Red Sox gave their postseason hero a retirement celebration to remember, as they retired David Ortiz's No. 34, named a bridge over the Massachusetts Turnpike after him and mowed his signature home run celebration into the center field grass at Fenway Park. The designated hitter's last season was one of his finest, as he led all of baseball in doubles (48), slugging percentage (.620) and OPS (1.021), and the American League with 127 RBI.

Pitcher Pedro Martínez stands on the field with retiring Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz and the 2004 World Series Championship Trophy, during a ceremony honoring Ortiz before the start of a game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on October 2, 2016. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Former teammates Pedro Martínez, Manny Ramírez , Nomar Garciaparra, Kevin Millar and Mike Lowell were in attendance for Ortiz's retirement celebration. Pictured above, Hall of Famer Martinez and Ortiz hoist up the World Series trophy they both fought to win in 2004.

Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants pitches during the 2016 National League Wild Card game against the New York Mets at Citi Field on October 5, 2016. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

October started with a bang, as Madison Bumgarner - perhaps one of the best postseason pitchers ever - gave a performance to remember on Oct. 5, shutting out the New York Mets to help send the Giants to the National League Division Series.

Edwin Encarnación of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates after he hits a three-run home run in the bottom of the 11th inning bringing home teammates Josh Donaldson and Devon Travis for the win against the Baltimore Orioles during the 2016 American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

After a hotly contested race to determine who would win the American League East, the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles met again in the AL Wild Card Game on Oct. 4. Edwin Encarnación gave a snippet of more to come -- as he went on to hit .417 in the ALDS against Texas -- with an 11th inning walk-off home run to end the night.

Manager Terry Francona of the Cleveland Indians congratulates Ryan Merritt after the Cleveland Indians defeat the Toronto Blue Jays during Game 5 of the 2016 ALCS to move on to the World Series, at Rogers Centre on October 19, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

With just one career start and a total of 11 major league innings under his belt, 2011 16th round draft pick Ryan Merritt allowed just two singles over 4 1/3rd scoreless innings to help propel the Indians to a 3-0 win and a trip to the World Series. Merritt became just the second pitcher in postseason history to start a game with only one regular season start on his resume.

Francisco Lindor and Rajai Davis of the Cleveland Indians celebrate on the field after the Cleveland Indians defeat the Chicago Cubs during Game 1 of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 25, 2016. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

With Corey Kluber on the mound for Cleveland, the Indians felt confident heading into Game 1 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs. Kluber worked six shutout innings, allowing only four hits and striking out nine. Francisco Lindor, pictured above celebrating after the game with Rajai Davis, helped out with a stolen base in the first inning and a double in the third.

Rajai Davis of the Cleveland Indians steals second as Aroldis Chapman of the Chicago Cubs pitches during Game 5 of the 2016 World Series between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on October 30, 2016. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Aroldis Chapman earned the save in Game 5, refusing to be shaken by Rajai Davis stealing second, and then third, in the eighth. Chapman struck out Francisco Lindor to end the inning, and finished the game with two easy outs followed by another strikeout, in the 9th inning.

Ben Zobrist of the Chicago Cubs slides safely home and scores off of a two-run double hit by teammate Addison Russell during Game 6 of the 2016 World Series against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on November 1, 2016. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Although Cleveland won three of the first four games, Chicago picked up steam later in the Series, winning Games 5, 6 and 7. Ben Zobrist, pictured above, slides home on a two-run double by Addison Russell in Game 6. Zobrist posted a .357 batting average and had an OPS of .919 to earn Series MVP honors.

Addison Russell of the Chicago Cubs fields during Game 6 of the 2016 World Series against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on November 1, 2016. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Addison Russell fields a ball during Game 6 of the World Series. The 22-year old shortstop played well beyond his age, driving in nine runs and not committing an error to anchor the Cubs infield.

Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez of the Chicago Cubs celebrate on the field after defeating the Cleveland Indians to win the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

After a 108-year drought, the Chicago Cubs won the 2016 World Series in a hotly contested seven-game series against the Cleveland Indians. Their more-than-a-century-long wait was the longest in the history of professional sports.

A long stream of double-decker busses carry all of the Cubs players and personnel as they receive a hero’s welcome during the 2016 World Series victory parade in Downtown Chicago on November 4, 2016. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

The city of Chicago essentially shut down after the Cubs won the World Series. The Chicago River was dyed blue, "W" flags were hung from windows and an estimated five million people attended the World Series parade downtown.

Manager Joe Maddon of the Chicago Cubs carries the Commissioner's Trophy on the stage during the 2016 World Series Victory Parade Rally at Grant Park on November 4, 2016. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Joe Maddon jokingly dubbed the post-World Series celebration "Cubstock," also thanking Chicago fans for their patience and dedication to their beloved Cubs.

A general wide angle exterior night time view of buildings in downtown Chicago that are lit up in celebration of the Cubs' 2016 World Series victory on November 4, 2016. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

After finally bringing their championship drought to a close, the Cubs and their fans now look towards the 2017 season, and dreams of repeating.

Hall of Famer Rod Carew talks about his 1977 MVP award, his 1967 Rookie of the Year award, and how he felt receiving the Roberto Clemente award, while being interviewed at his home by National Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson on May 30, 2016 in Anaheim Hills, California. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

In December, 18-time All-Star and Hall of Famer Rod Carew underwent a successful heart and kidney transplants in Los Angeles, Calif., receiving an outpouring of support from Hall of Famers and fans worldwide.

2016 Today's Game Era electees John Schuerholz and Bud Selig are photographed after receiving the news of their election, in Washington D.C. (Jean Fruth / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

2016 ended on a high note, with two new Hall of Fame electees. On Dec. 4, 2016, Bud Selig and John Schuerholz were elected to the Hall of Fame by the Today's Game Era committee, which met in Washington D.C. On Jan. 18, 2017, the two electees will see if anyone else will join them as part of the Hall of Fame Class of 2017, when the results of the BBWAA election will be announced on the MLB Network.


Jeff Idelson is the President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Alex Coffey is the communications specialist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

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