Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Nationals To Honor Hall Of Famers From Three Previous Franchises

Attending tonight's ziMS Foundation Premiere Event at Nationals Park, The African Queen and I could not miss the new "Ring Of Fame" to be unveiled on South Capitol Street on Tuesday night, August 10th, when The Florida Marlins take on Our Washington Nationals. The new honorary tribute to players with ties to Washington Baseball is located on the facade above the PNC Diamond Club behind home plate. Not only will Andre Dawson be honored for his recent induction into the National Baseball Hall Of Fame & Museum as a Montreal Expo--the predecessor to D.C.'s latest team--but 17 other players, all Hall Of Famers, will be included as well.

Dawson's teammate in Montreal--Gary Carter--will be remembered. So will Original Washington Nationals/Senators Walter Johnson, Owner Clark Griffith, Joe Cronin, Rick Ferrell, Goose Goslin, Harmon Killebrew, Bucky Harris, Heinie Manush, Sam Rice and Early Wynn. Not to be left out, Negro League Greats and Homestead Grays--Owner Cum Posey, Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard, "Cool Papa" Bell, Ray Brown & Jud Wilson will fill out the Major League Baseball D.C. "Ring Of Fame".

Washington's current baseball club sent out this email late this evening explaining the reasoning behind the 18 chosen players and owners:
The Washington Nationals in consultation with the National Baseball Hall of Fame developed the following criteria for honoring Hall of Famers at Nationals Park.The first criteria was that the player had to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The second criteria was that the player had to be associated with the Montreal Expos, Homestead Grays, Washington Senators or Washington Nationals. Lastly, the player had to have had significant years with those teams.

Recognizing the past is fine with us--it's the proper thing to do. And we are equally as glad to see no uniform numbers (other than MLB's mandated Jackie Robinson Number 42) have been retired just yet. That honor should come as a result of the play on the field for Our Washington Nationals, not from a player from the past that played in Canada, or for a Minnesota or Texas franchise. We are not The Expos, The Twins or The Rangers. We are The Washington Nationals and that should be the criteria for any retired number in the future,

In the very near future, the complete details coming on the ziMS Foundation's "A Night At The Park" event this evening at Nationals Park. As always, Sohna and I supported the cause to find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. We had a great time, which included some pretty nice conversations with Adam Dunn, Pudge Rodriguez and Ross Detwiler. And one terrific performance from recording artist Amos Lee. He was quite excellent tonight. In fact, the highlight of the entire evening. Those complete details coming up soon on Nats320.

All Photos Copyrighted Nats320--All Rights Reserved


An Briosca Mor said...

I'm surprised that you of all people are not commenting on the failure to include any representatives of the expansion Senators in this Ring of Honor. Granted, that team was not very good. But it laid the groundwork for the return of baseball to Washington every bit as much as the Expos did. Indeed, if the expansion Senators had never existed RFK Stadium might not have been built with a baseball configuration, and without that stadium baseball would never have come back to Washington in 2005.

The Nationals need to relax the Hall of Fame standard for players of the expansion Senators era and include one or more of them in this Ring of Honor. Frank Howard of course is the obvious choice, but a case could also be made for managers Gil Hodges and Ted Williams - both baseball immortals, and Williams a Hall of Famer.

Finally, given the wording of the criteria for selection I am absolutely gobsmacked that Frank Robinson is not on this Ring of Honor. He is a Hall of Famer who has a significant place in the history of both the Montreal Expos and the Washington Nationals.

I have never been one of those chastizing Stan Kasten for not finding a place in the organization for Frank Howard and Frank Robinson. Any decision to hire them should totally be made on the basis of what they can contribute to the team and not on sentiment. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that Kasten is tone deaf when it comes to recognizing the importance of these two individuals to the existence of the current Nationals. There is absolutely no reason he should not be including them in this honor. It is the right thing to do.

SenatorNat said...

As the chairman and secretary/treasurer of the chartered ABM fan club, let me just say that your points are so compelling and just as to deflate any objection whatsoever. Seriously. Interesting that Rick Ferrell made the list as he is mostly known for one season's play with the Senators - 1944 when he caught four knuckleballers at the end of his career and hit over .300 - guess his stint with the team for a few years in the 1930's helped him qualify. Early Wynn is another questionable one, as he is not really associated with Senators for his long career.

If they bothered to place a gooey statue of Frank Howard in melting plaza, how can he not be in the Ring of Honor? And the Frank Robinson snub is totally absurd, as he is the first AA manager and he managed a substantial part of that managerial career with the Expos/Nationals franchise, of course. Rick Ferrell and Early Wynn qualify, but Frank Robinson does not? Criteria out of wack.

As for the iconic baseball, Mark Lerner informed me last night that it was "a rendition only" and that the corporation buying the naming rights might prefer some other representation on that pedastal, not a ball. O.K. - so we can envision a McDonald's "M" or an Apple's Apple up there? Or maybe the newest strike-force fighter from Northrup Grumman. Or that back-up billion dollar fighter engine from GE...Me-things that it is the $6 million price tag for the iconic baseball - as any company would see the logic of a baseball on which to affix its name as a baseball park.

Trust in following the $$$. And a $7.5 million a year marquis pitcher who can get that 15th batter up out. All in sync as Las Vegas Casino Night is held in D.C. late this Monday evening, with the ante about $10-12 million...

An Briosca Mor said...

SenatorNat, surely you realize that the main reason Mark Lerner does not want to see that iconic baseball in center field is because he fears it will fall off and hit him in the face while he's shagging flies during BP. Indeed it might leave him looking like a freshly swatted fly, which is never a good look for an owner. Although Ted Leonsis could probably find a way to put a positive spin on it.

And as for how Frank Howard's statue ends up on the plaza but he can't crack the Ring of Honor, it's quite simple actually. The plaza statues are stadium artwork created under the auspices of the DC government, while the Ring of Honor is a Kasten creation. The DC government clearly has no artistic sensibility at all (witness also their abominable mobile by the first base gate and their planned baseball seedlings on the garage to go along with the mutant statues) but does at least appreciate the history of baseball in this city. Kasten is completely tone deaf to our historic sensibilities. With this guy in charge, we'll be lucky if that giant baseball's perch is not occupied by the Liberty Bell every time Stan invites the goons from Philly to visit us here.

HondoFan said...

I've read your blog off and on for a few years and not felt compelled too much to respond but these comments by ABM and SenatorNat are right on. Frank Howard is a local resource with great character and integrity - with many great stories to share. How come he is not actively involved with this team??? I know for a fact that he is open to the idea, as you know Jeff, so the current management needs to open their eyes while Frank is still here. BTW, happy birthday to the Tower of Power, 8/8/10.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

I don't think that a Hall of Fame campaign by Nats fans for Frank Howard, Joe Judge, or Ossie Bleuge should be necessary for them to be included in the Ring of Honor. And I also believe that Frank Robinson's accomplishments as manager of the Expos and Nationals during the most trying time in the club's history deserve a number retirement. I also see it altogether fitting to retire numbers from the previous Washington franchises like "9" (Frank Howard & Ted Williams), "33" (Frank Howard), "3" (Mickey Vernon & Harmon Killebrew). Hopefully, the Nats will eventually retire "61", "11", "44", and "37"...

Edward J. Cunningham said...

One more thing to be upset about. I didn't know about Rick Ferrell until today---shame on me. When I looked up his stats and saw the HoF listed his primary team as the St. Louis Browns, I was prepared to see a depiction of Ferrell wearing a "St.L" on his cap. Instead, it was the Red Sox' "B". Ferrell played for the Red Sox for only four years---much less time than he did for the Browns or the original Nationals.

But then again, we all know that there aren't enough players in the Hall of Fame with Yankee or Red Sock caps. :roll eyes: