Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on August 17, 1975 · Page 53
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 53

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 17, 1975
Page 53
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9D -- August 17,1975 Sunday Gazette-Mail Old Forbes Field ^House Kiner Filled' Billy Herman Second Baseman Bucky Harris Managed 29 Years EarlAverill Lifetime .318 Hitter Ralph Kiner Pirates' Slugger Judy Johnson Negro Third Baseman Five to Be Inducted into Hall Monday COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. ( A P ) - On a lawn not far from a converted cow pasture, baseball will celebrate its past by inducting five top players into the Hall of Fame Monday. The place where Elihu Phinney's cows once grazed now is Doubleday Field, where Abner Doubleday, according to legend, laid out the first baseball field. Doubleday used a stick to shape the diamond where he and his friends socked a cloths- luffed sphere for history's first hits, runs and errors. More than a century later, five players who started on fields not much different are being honored with baseball immortality. They are Ralph Kiner, a power-hitting outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1946-53: Earl "Rock" Averill, a lifetime .318 hitter in 11 major league seasons with Cleveland, Detroit and the Boston Braves; Stanley "Bucky" Harris, who managed in the majors for 29 years; Billy Herman, one of the busiest second basemen in histo- 10-year career with 369 home runs, narrowly was elected in his 15th and final year of eligibility. The Baseball Writers Association of America awarded him 273 votes, one above the minimum for induction. "I remember the day I got the call that I'd made it," he recalled. "I'm not superstitious, but I let the phone ring four times. I used to wear No. 4." There were similar telephone calls to the others. "It's really great," said the 78-year-old Harris, who will not be present at the ceremonies because of poor health. "It's one of the greatest things to happen to any individual," said Johnson, voted into the Hall at 75 by the Committee on the Negro Baseball Leagues. 'It's About Time' Bowie Kuhn will preside and a host of stars--past and present--will look on. The population of this hamlet will swell from 2,500 to about 10,000 for the induction. There is a waiting list for rooms at guest houses, and the few hotels have long been sold out. After the induction, the Boston Red Sox and San Francisco Giants will play the 33rd Hall of Fame game on the same field where Doubleday supposedly started it all more than 100 years ago. Averill hit a home run in his first major league at-bat "a high fastball off Earl Whitehill (of the Detroit Tigers)" in 1929. Herman set or tied numerous records for putouts by a second baseman during his 15 years in the National League. Harris managed the Washington Senators three times, leading them to their only world championship in his first year. "Heck, Franklin D. Roosevelt had three terms in Washington, too. Didn't he?" Harris quipped. By Gary Mihoces PITTSBURGH (AP) - They call Van kee Stadium "The House That Rutb Built," but old Forbes Field was the "House that Kiner Filled." Like in 1950. when Ralph Kiner hit 41 home runs and the Pittsburgh Pirates drew over a million fans for the fourth year in a row, despite finishing last. "A lot of people came to see me hit home runs. I thank them all because thai made baseball enjoyable for me," says Ki ner, who'll be inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame Monday. In seven seasons with Pittsburgh. Kinei played on one team that finished over .500 The Pirates wound up last or next to it five of those years. Home Run King Yet Kiner was home run king of the National League seven straight years, and he led the majors six times even though he was the easiest guy in baseball to pitch around. "At times, it was so damn depressing tc lose, even if I went four-for-four," he recalled after broadcasting a game for the New York Mets, a job he's handled the past 13 years. "But I've never regretted my decision to sign with Pittsburgh because I felt appreciated here. "And I've enjoyed the friendships of my teammates," said Kiner, who was the National Leauge rspresentative in the early years of the Players Association. "It's funny, but when when you have to hang together through adversity, you develop friends faster than through success." Still See Power At 52, Kiner has added a few pounds- since his playing days, but you still see power in his big hands and long arms. He finished his career with 389 home runs. 1.015 RBIs and a .279 batting ave- cage. Statiscally that doesn't put him in a class with Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron, and his work as a leftfielder has also been criticized. However, he played just 10 seasons because of a stint as a Navy pilot in World War II and a back ailment that sent him into retirement at age 33. At 18. he signed with the Pirates for a $3.000 bonus, some of which paid for a 1937 Ford V-8 Roadster. "That was a very big bonus. Nobody was getting cash to sign." said Kiner. once the highest paid player in the National League at $90.000 per year. Hank Greenberg. another Hall of Famer, joined the Pirates for one year in 1947, and he influenced Kiner. "We were a loose, fun ball club in '46. but Hank helped me set a pattern of hard work that turned me around." said Kiner. who hit 51 homers his second season. Thinking of Athletic Shoes? Think Of... Puma-Converse-Adidas-Tretorn Capitol St.--Opposite Fife "It's about time," said Averill, 73, who along with Harris and Herman was elect- ry for the Chicago Cubs and Brooklyn ed by the committee on Baseball Veter- Dodgers, and William Julius "Judy" John- ans ..j' ve Deen wa itj n g for quite a while." son, considered one of the finest third basemen in Negro baseball. They have been waiting for the ceremo- Kiner Narrowly Elected n , es on the lawn across from the sport's Kiner, who finished an injuryshortened national library, where Commissioner Phow 342-6333 Seasons Lowe Certain times of the year are best for buying certain items. That's true at Lowe's, too. But this time of the year is special. We're having our Sale For All Seasons. We have terrific late-season buys on screening ... window screens ... and screened doors ... and super pre-season values on insulation ... plus outstanding prices on year 'round products, such as paneling and power tools for the handyman. 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