Stars Light Up Cooperstown at 13th Edition of Hall of Fame Classic Legends Game
(COOPERSTOWN, NY) – The 13th edition of the Hall of Fame Classic presented by Boeing proved lucky for legends, players and especially the fans on a sun-soaked afternoon at Doubleday Field.
Led by Bob Feller Player of the Game Award winner Pokey Reese, Team Bert defeated Team Kitty 8-3 as six Hall of Fame heroes led the way for more than two dozen former big leaguers.
“I was known for defense, and I could hit a little. But it was great being back with guys I hadn’t seen in a long time in this historic stadium,” said Reese, a two-time Gold Glove Award winner at second base during his career who went 4-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored and two RBI at the plate Saturday. “I hadn’t picked up a bat in a while except for my wife’s charity softball game.”
Under cloudless blue skies and with a perfect 71-degree reading on the thermometer at gametime, Glendon Rusch drew the start for Team Bert and pitched two scoreless innings.
Team Kitty starter Jeremy Guthrie set down the opposition without a run in the first. But Team Bert broke on top in the bottom of the second on a long RBI single by Scott Spiezio that scored Travis Snider. MLB Network’s A.J. Andrews, pinch hitting for Ed Spiezio, then followed with an RBI single to score Reese to give Team Bert a 2-0 lead. A groundout by Ryan Lavarnway scored Scott Spiezio to make the score 3-0.
Alex Wilson took over for Rusch in the third, and Rajai Davis opened the scoring for Team Kitty with a home run to right-center field to cut the deficit to 3-1.
In the top of the fifth, Cory Gearrin took the mound for Team Bert – with his father, Tim Gearrin, behind the plate as the umpire – and allowed a run on a single by Terrence Long, an error and a wild pitch. But Jorge Cantú pushed Team Bert’s lead back to two with a home run to lead off the fifth inning off new Team Kitty pitcher Jeremy Affeldt.
Team Kitty pulled within one again at 4-3 in the top of the sixth inning on a double play grounder by Long that scored Bryan Holaday. But Chris Young scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth as Team Bert extended its lead to 5-3, and Snider drew a bases loaded walk later in the inning to push the advantage to 6-3. Reese then followed with a long single to right-center that scored two more runs and ended the scoring.
James Loney won the pregame Home Run Derby, defeating Brian Dozier and Josh Reddick in the finals.
“It felt pretty good,” said Loney, who hit 108 home runs over 11 seasons with the Dodgers, Rays, Red Sox and Mets. “What was it, 314 feet down the (right field) line? So I felt pretty confident.
“It’s been great to be in Cooperstown. Just catching up with the guys and having that camaraderie. I’m looking forward to coming back. I’ve got to defend this crown.”
Loney, who never pitched an inning in the majors but did appear in two minor league games on the mound – most recently in 2019 with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League – took the mound for Team Kitty in the fourth inning and retired the only batter he faced, getting Young to fly out to right field. Later that inning, Team Kitty’s Brian Dozier made the defensive play of the game by robbing Greg Garcia of a sure hit with a diving effort while going to his left and then flipping the ball to Loney, who had moved to shortstop and recorded an out at second base.
The Hall of Fame Classic, presented by Boeing, featured Hall of Fame managers/coaches Bert Blyleven, Rollie Fingers, Fergie Jenkins, Jim Kaat, Jack Morris and Lee Smith along with players Jeremy Affeldt (Giants), Jorge Cantú (Marlins), Jeff Cirillo (Brewers), Rajai Davis (Guardians), Brian Dozier (Twins), Brian Fuentes (Rockies), Greg Garcia (Padres), Cory Gearrin (Braves), Jeremy Guthrie (Royals), Bryan Holaday (Rangers), Garrett Jones (Pirates), Ryan Lavarnway (Red Sox), James Loney (Dodgers), Terrence Long (Athletics), Chris Ray (Orioles), Josh Reddick (Astros), Pokey Reese (Reds), J.C. Romero (Phillies), Glendon Rusch (Mets), Brendan Ryan (Yankees), Travis Snider (Blue Jays), Ed Spiezio (Cardinals), Scott Spiezio (Angels), Matt Thornton (White Sox), Josh Willingham (Nationals), Alex Wilson (Tigers) and Chris Young (Diamondbacks).
CLASSIC NOTEBOOK: Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers helped honor the 2022 George W. Rulon American League Baseball Player of the Year: Brooks Bryan of Post 70 in Troy, Ala., who was unable to attend because his college baseball team was in action over the weekend…Fort Drum’s Barbershop Quartet – Sergeant Benjamin Pryce, Sergeant Kevin Mitchell, Sergeant Andrew Fisher and Specialist Gregory Snider – performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America”.…The ceremonial first pitch was delivered by Mike Corrigan, Senior Director of State and Local Government Relations for Boeing, and special guest Annie Corrigan…Attendance at Doubleday Field was 3,830…The umpires for the game were: : Home Plate– Tim Gearrin; First Base – Shawn Beckerink; Second Base – Jim Benjamin; Third Base – Roy Bower.
Hall of Fame Weekend 2023 will take place July 21-24 in Cooperstown, with the Induction Ceremony on Sunday, July 23. Fred McGriff and Scott Rolen will be inducted as the Class of 2023 on the grounds of Cooperstown’s Clark Sports Center. For more information on Hall of Fame Weekend, please visit baseballhall.org/hofw.