World Series artifacts heading to Hall
Hamels’ jersey, Upton’s spikes to be featured in Cooperstown
Fittingly, it is being commemorated for generations of fans to come at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. Many artifacts that were used in this Fall Classic were donated by humbled players after the Phillies’ 4-3 clinching victory over Tampa Bay on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park. Those items will go on display at the Hall of Fame in mid-November. They include:
• Cole Hamels’ No. 35 home pinstriped jersey that he wore in Game 5: Hamels was 4-0 in the postseason and was named World Series MVP.
“That’s something I never expected,” he said, wearing the jersey underneath two layers of shirts during the clubhouse celebration. “It’s a tremendous experience and an honor for them to want to take something from me. This whole fifth game will be a trivia question for the next 100 years, and I get to be a part of it.”
• Jayson Werth’s spikes: His single in the bottom of the sixth, right after play resumed, drove in pinch-hitter Geoff Jenkins to give Philadelphia a temporary 3-2 lead. He also stole three bags in the series, including one in Game 5.
“Gosh, what an honor,” Werth said on the Citizens Bank Park field, as players celebrated there with family, friends and fellow Phillies personnel. “I mean, really, step back and think about that. I come from a long line of baseball players, and I’m thankful to them. My grandfather was a ballplayer. My stepdad [Dennis Werth] played in the big leagues. We’re just baseball players, not Hall of Famers. For me to have something go there to Cooperstown, that’s unbelievable.”
• Joe Blanton’s bat that he used to hit the fabled home run in Game 4: It marked the first time since Ken Holtzman of Oakland in 1974 that a pitcher homered in the World Series.
“As a pitcher, it’s not what you expect,” Blanton said. “Very possibly the last thing you expect. But just to have a piece of your playing equipment go to the Hall of Fame is so special. Not every player can say he has something there.”
Blanton said he has not been to Cooperstown, and this will nudge him in that direction.
“Now, I have another good reason,” he said. “One of those things I’ve never been able to do for whatever reason. But I grew up in a baseball family and definitely will go now.”
• Ryan Howard’s bat used in Game 5: The 2008 National League MVP candidate busted out just in time during this postseason, hitting two homers in Game 4 to give him three long balls in the World Series.
“That would be cool,” he said with a big grin, shortly after Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson received his permission to take the lumber back to Cooperstown.
• Eric Bruntlett’s cap: He broke up a Game 2 shutout with a solo homer off rookie David Price in the eighth inning at Tropicana Field during the Rays’ 4-2 victory. But his most memorable moment in this Fall Classic came when he scored the winning run on Carlos Ruiz’s 30-foot walk-off chopper in Game 3, giving Philly the World Series lead for keeps. Bruntlett also scored the go-ahead run on Pedro Feliz’s RBI single in the clincher on Wednesday.
“We had a lot of good fortune that inning,” Bruntlett said that night. “It’s one of those deals where it feels like it’s in slow motion. I feel like I should be moving faster, but can’t. You want to get there so quickly. It feels like a long 90 feet.”
• Ruiz’s helmet: It’s what he was wearing when he mashed that ball into the ground to put the perfect ending to Game 3 for Phillies faithful. This was the World Series when a lot of baseball fans got to know more about the catcher from Panama.
“We were so hungry for this, we wanted this title,” Ruiz said. “I want to thank Panama for supporting me and the Phillies all year long. I want all of Panama to enjoy this with me. This was a great season and a great organization. This is for all of us.”
• The cap Brad Lidge wore in Game 5 when he saved the Series-clinching win for the Phillies.
• B.J. Upton’s spikes and Joe Maddon’s flap-cap: Upton had four steals in the World Series, including the one on the mud going into second base just before the Game 5 suspension on Monday, and the Rays wound up with a postseason-record 25 steals. Maddon managed the Rays from a 2007 last-place finish into a World Series team, and that flap-cap became a much-discussed piece of headwear in this cold, final week of the 2008 baseball season. Consider this a Cooperstown tip of the cap.
“I thought we presented ourselves really well,” Maddon said. “And I think all this country now knows who we are, as well as the world, the baseball world.” (H/T baseballhalloffame.org)
Interesting choices of some of the equipment that they plan to put on display. I wonder how many of the players will later be joining as members? Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
Correction: The writer of the article, Mr. Newman, has just informed me in the comments section that the bat that Howard gave to the Hall should be listed as from Game 4, not 5.