Column: Line Drives — Inductions spark vacation plans

[This is my column in today’s issue of The Commercial Review.]

It’s about time I make the trek to Cooperstown.

Unless Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer are all selected into the Baseball Hall of Fame together, I don’t think I’ll ever have three members of one of my favorite teams inducted into the Hall at the same time again.

I’m referring to Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Bobby Cox of the Atlanta Braves.

The latter was unanimously elected to Cooperstown Dec. 9 by the Veterans Committee, which allows those who are not eligible for consideration by the Baseball Writers Association of America to still be selected to the Hall.

He was named to the HOF as a manager.

On Jan. 8, starting pitchers Glavine (91.9 percent) and Maddux (97.2) received the minimum requirement of 75 percent of the votes by the BBWAA, earning selection into Cooperstown.

Along with John Smoltz, Glavine and Maddux made up arguably the best starting rotation in MLB history.

And Cox, who managed the three in Atlanta during the 1990s, is fourth on the all-time wins list.

As the three of them are enshrined into the Hall of Fame this summer, there’s no better time than this year to make my first trip to the baseball Mecca in New York.

The three of them were a crucial part of my favorite baseball team as a child, and it is only fitting that I see their careers officially come to an end.

At the very least, too, I can cross off visiting the museum from my bucket list.

In March 2011, I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, when I was in the area interviewing for an internship.

Getting to see the history of music and the most popular sport in America — visiting both venues was also on my bucket list — was a very enlightening experience.

Unfortunately, I was rather unimpressed with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

It didn’t help that the top floors were closed off because of renovation, but I guess I expected a little more out of the artifacts it had on display.

Maybe I just caught it at a bad time.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame, however, is a place I definitely recommend visiting.

The best part about the museum in Canton is the inclusion of current items as well as historical pieces.

There were some of the first footballs, uniforms and cleats from when the sport began, all the way to jerseys, gloves and entire uniforms from record-breaking performances during the 2009 and ’10 seasons.

Of course, the two pieces most interesting to me were jerseys from former Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders and current Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. The signal-caller had his jersey enshrined in NFL history when he threw for a single-game rookie record 422 yards and five touchdowns against the Cleveland Browns in 2009.

Prior to his fifth and final touchdown pass, he had been driven hard to the turf and injured his non-throwing shoulder. Trainers cut the jersey following the game to evaluate his arm, and the uniform — with the slash down the middle and all — is on display.

The visit to Canton opened my eyes to the greatness of the game on the gridiron. I can only hope my trip to Cooperstown will do the same for the rich history of America’s Pastime.


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