The All of Fame: A Primer for This Great Game

Cooperstown has its Hall of Fame, but we have a whole collection of famous “Fames” for a quick glance of baseball history.

By Eric Gouldsberry, This Great Game—Posted January 6, 2008

TGG OpinionCooperstown has its Hall of Fame, but we have a whole collection of famous “Fames” for a quick glance of baseball history.

We would all love to go to Cooperstown, the disputed birthplace of baseball and the undisputed home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

I certainly would love to go. Haven’t yet, but I’m dying to. But Cooperstown is not an easy place to get to. In the dead of winter, the place is snowbound with temperatures occasionally reaching below zero. Even when it thaws out, Cooperstown is tough to find on a map, buried well off the beaten path somewhere between the Catskills and Adirondacks. And if you do get there, after flying from wherever to JFK to Albany or Syracuse, after paying your lofty hotel fees in town, after you’ve forked out numerous Hamiltons and Jacksons at the door to the Hall, your bank account is in for a challenge.

So in lieu of your pricey expedition to Cooperstown, we offer, for free, This Great Game’s All of Fame. Within this “All” you’ll find many exhibits that will enlighten your knowledge of the game of baseball. If anything else, the All is our introduction to This Great Game. And even though we don’t seek expansion of the All, we don’t discourage you from giving us ideas for additional upgrades, so let us know.

For now, the This Great Game All of Fame includes:

The Bawl of Fame. There’s supposed to be no crying in baseball as Tom Hanks famously argued in A League of Their Own, but try telling that to the little New York Mets fan who busted into tears after his team blew a shot at the 2007 postseason on the regular season’s final day.

The Brawl of Fame. Shared between Juan Marichal, who took a bat to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Johnny Roseboro’s head in a 1965 game in San Francisco, and 15 players, two managers, two acting managers and two spectators, all ejected during a non-stop beanball war between the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres in a 1984 affair.

The Call of Fame. New York Giant announcer Russ Hodges after Bobby Thomson launches the “Shot Heard ’Round the World” in 1951: “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!” Considered but denied: Babe Ruth’s called home run shot in the 1932 World Series against the Cubs, because we believe the Bambino’s vow is more fiction than fact.

The All of Fame HighlightsThe Crawl of Fame. Casey Stengel’s stumbling, limping, flailing last 90 feet of an inside-the-park home run on a loosened shoe for the Giants against the Yankees in the 1923 World Series. Runner-up: Jason Grimsley inching through crawlspace to retrieve Albert Belle’s confiscated bat in 1994.

The Drawl of Fame. Southern boy Dizzy Dean, pitcher extraordinaire for the St. Louis Cardinals and, after retirement, provider of very colorful commentary as a play-by-play broadcaster.

The Fall of Fame. Ed Delahanty, a career .346 hitter who perhaps is despondent, drunk or upset over not being traded—or perhaps all three—is kicked off a train, stumbles onto a railroad bridge and falls into the Niagara River (and eventually Niagara Falls) in July 1903.

The Gall of Fame. The Black Sox Scandal: Eight members of the Chicago White Sox, feeling underpaid and underappreciated by owner Charles Comiskey, conspire to throw the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds.

The Haul of Fame. Carl Yastrzemski single-handedly carries the Boston Red Sox in the final month of the 1967 season to an American League pennant.

The Mall of Fame. The Mall of America, self-described as the largest indoor shopping mall in the U.S., located on the same plot of land in Bloomington, Minnesota once occupied by Metropolitan Stadium, home of the Twins between 1961-81.

The Maul of Fame. Any poor lad who put up their dukes against Ty Cobb or Billy Martin—and usually lost.

The Montreal of Fame. No longer open. It used to be, but when the exhibits got expensive, Jeffrey Loria exchanged them for cheaper relics, and people stopped showing up.

The Pall of Fame. The 1994-95 players’ strike, the nadir of post-Black Sox baseball, which led to the first-ever cancellation of a World Series.

The Paul of Fame. Paul Waner, who collected 3,152 hits and batted .333 over a 20-year career mostly spent with the Pittsburgh Pirates; and his later-day likeness, Paul Molitor, who nabbed 3,319 hits in 21 years, the bulk of which he spent in Milwaukee.

The Recall of Fame. The balata ball, made up of materials “non-essential” to World War II production in 1943. Hitters instantly complained that the ball was hard and didn’t jump off the bat, a claim reflected in numerous low-scoring games. After tests vindicated the players’ gripes, the balata ball was scraped and regular baseballs from the year before were put into play.

The Scrawl of Fame. The proverbial writing on the St. Louis Cardinals’ clubhouse chalkboard after Boston manager Dick Williams predicted a Game Seven triumph in the 1967 World Series by proclaiming “Lonborg and champagne.” The Cardinals, behind Bob Gibson, hammered the Red Sox and starting pitcher Jim Lonborg, 7-2.

The Small of Fame. Eddie Gaedel, the smallest player in major league history at 3’7”. Nothing more than a promotional stunt forged by St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck, Gaedel batted once—and walked on four pitches in a 1951 game.

The Sprawl of Fame. Major league expansion in the 1960s. After standing pat with 16 teams for 60 years, the majors added eight new franchises during the decade.

The Squall of Fame. Steady, heavy rain holds up the 1911 World Series for a full week. It doesn’t affect the Philadelphia Athletics, who won two of three Series games before the rains—and two of three afterward to defeat the Giants.

The Stall of Fame. The men’s restroom where Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire allegedly shot each other up in the butt with steroids during the Bash Brothers’ heyday.

The Tall of Fame. Washington reliever Jon Rauch, the tallest player in major league history at 6’11”.

The Tell-All of Fame. Jim Bouton’s 1970 book Ball Four, which shattered the long-standing trust among ballplayers not to reveal their lives off the field during the season. Bouton is all but blackballed from the game for his writings.

The Thrall of Fame. The reserve clause, which denied free agency and held down player salaries until its death in 1976.

The Wall of Fame. The Green Monster at Boston’s Fenway Park, erected in 1934 as part of a massive ballpark renovation—and painted green in 1947 after having been previously plastered by gigantic ads. Runner-up: The right field wall at Philadelphia’s Baker Bowl, which at the foul pole was only 280 feet from home plate.