Team Rollie, Team Goose Play to 9-9 Tie at Hall of Fame Classic

(COOPERSTOWN, NY) – The weather cooperated, the legends of the game had another moment in the sun and six Hall of Famers returned to the home of baseball on Saturday at the 11th edition of the Hall of Fame Classic.

It would be tough to find a more perfect day in Cooperstown.

Orlando Cabrera had a grand slam home run and five RBI to capture the Bob Feller Player of the Game Award as Team Rollie and Team Goose battled to a 9-9 tie as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum played host to the annual legends game at Doubleday Field.

“It’s amazing, because I never hit a grand slam in the majors when it counted,” said Cabrera, who hit 123 big league home runs over 15 seasons. “I can’t even describe it.”

The Hall of Fame Classic, which is capped at a maximum seven innings, featured four home runs, treating the 4,293 fans in attendance to a slugfest that featured several lead changes. Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers and Goose Gossage were team managers, while Hall of Fame teammates Bert Blyleven, Trevor Hoffman, Tim Raines and Alan Trammell served as coaches.

On an overcast-but-pleasant 68-degree afternoon, Brett Tomko started for Team Goose, taking the mound in the top of the first inning. The 14-year big league veteran, who owns 100 MLB wins, posted a scoreless frame and Team Rollie starter Jason Marquis matched Tomko by posting a zero on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first.

Andy Ashby relieved Tomko in the second inning and allowed a sacrifice fly by Cabrera that scored Terrence Long. Meanwhile, Marquis pitched a scoreless second, leaving the score 1-0 in favor of Team Rollie after two frames.

Brad Hennessey pitched a scoreless third inning for Team Goose, followed by a scoreless frame from Team Rollie’s Jeff Francis in the bottom of the third. In the fourth, Team Rollie increased its lead to 2-0 when Marquis singled off Kyle Kendrick to drive in Orlando Hudson. But Team Goose quickly responded with a two-run homer by Charles Johnson that also scored Corey Hart, tying the game at 2.

Then in the bottom of the fifth, Chris Snyder lifted a Ryan Rowland-Smith pitch over the right-center field wall to give Team Goose a 3-2 lead. Jack Wilson, Johnson, Michael Barrett and Carlos Baerga followed with RBIs later in the inning to give Team Goose what seemed to be a comfortable 7-2 lead with two innings to play.

But Team Rollie rallied off John Parrish in the top of the sixth, as Marquis’ single scored Hudson before Cabrera’s grand slam tied the game at 7. Todd Zeile then gave Team Rollie the lead when he singled in Sammy Fingers, son of Rollie Fingers, who was pinch-running for A.J. Pierzynski. Kevin Mench later scored on a wild pitch as Team Rollie batted around to take a 9-7 lead.

“It’s always great to be back,” said Todd Zeile, who represented the Mets at the Classic while taking a break from his broadcasting duties with the club. “I always jump at the opportunity to come back. I can come here every year and still not see everything. I get amazed every time I come back.”

But Chris Snyder’s second homer of the game, this time off Ramiro Mendoza leading off the bottom of the sixth, cut the lead to 9-8, and Willy Taveras scored following a double, an infield out and a passed ball to tie the game at 9 and produce the eventual final score.

Hart, who hit 162 home runs in an 11-year big league career with the Brewers, Mariners and Pirates, won the Home Run Derby prior to the Classic, blasting several long shots over the left field fence at Doubleday Field.

“I was a little nervous, because I haven’t done this in a while,” said Hart, who last played in the big leagues in 2015. “But it’s always good to put on a uniform. It’s pretty cool to do this in Cooperstown.”

The Hall of Fame Classic, presented by Ford Motor Company, featured Hall of Fame managers/coaches Bert Blyleven, Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Trevor Hoffman, Tim Raines and Alan Trammell along with players Andy Ashby (Padres), Carlos Baerga (Red Sox), Grant Balfour (Rays), Michael Barrett (Nationals), Orlando Cabrera (Angels), Jeff Francis (Rockies), Corey Hart (Brewers), Brad Hennessey (Giants), Orlando Hudson (Blue Jays), Brandon Inge (Tigers), Charles Johnson (Marlins), Kyle Kendrick (Phillies), Terrence Long (Athletics), Jason Marquis (Cardinals), Cristhian Martínez (Braves), Kevin Mench (Rangers), Ramiro Mendoza (Yankees), Joe Nathan (Twins), John Parrish (Orioles), A.J. Pierzynski (White Sox), Ryan Rowland-Smith (Mariners), Steve Sax (Dodgers), Chris Snyder (Diamondbacks), Cory Snyder (Indians), Willy Taveras (Astros), Mark Teahen (Royals), Brett Tomko (Reds), Jack Wilson (Pirates) and Todd Zeile (Mets).

CLASSIC NOTEBOOK: Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers helped present the 2018 George W. Rulon American League Baseball Player of the Year award to Chris Ludman of American Legion Post 1 of Wilmington, Del.…Fingers accepted the 1964 American Legion Player of the Year Award 55 years ago on Doubleday Field…The National Colors and the US Army Colors were presented by the Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division Artillery of nearby Fort Drum…The ceremonial first pitch was delivered by Hall of Fame and Shoebox Treasures exhibit supporter Tony Yoseloff and his son William Yoseloff..…Maria Noto, a Cooperstown Central School graduate, performed The Star-Spangled Banner…Cooperstown’s Emily DeSantis-Tabor performed God Bless America…Ball girls and ball boys from Cooperstown High School included Katie Boyleand, Jesse Furnari, Hailey Seamon, Ben Tafuro and Lauren Vibbard…The umpires for the game were: Shawn Beckerink (home plate), Jim Dutcher (first base), Lucas Wright (second base) and Bob Moore (third base).

Hall of Fame Weekend 2019 will take place July 19-22 in Cooperstown, with the Induction Ceremony on Sunday, July 21. Harold Baines, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Mariano Rivera and Lee Smith will be inducted as the Class of 2019 at Cooperstown’s Clark Sports Center. For more information on Hall of Fame Weekend, please visit