Sports - 1989 Perez-Steele Celebration Postcards : Doyle Collection Image Gallery
Exhibiting an understated style that became his trademark, Hank Aaron hammered his way to baseball's all-time home run mark via one of the most consistent offensive careers in history. He hit 755 home runs, a record that stood for more than 30 years, and still holds major league marks for total bases, extra base hits and RBI, while his 3,771 career hits ranks third. He was the 1957 National League MVP, won three Gold Glove Awards for his play in right field and was named to a record 25 All-Star teams. Curt Simmons once said of Aaron, "Trying to throw a fastball by him is like trying to sneak a sunrise past a rooster." Elected 1982.
Following his Rookie of the Year debut in 1956, Luis Aparicio helped to redefine the role and expectations of major league shortstops with agile fielding, spray hitting and speedy base running. He collected nine Gold Glove awards, led the American League in stolen bases nine times and was named to the All-Star game 13 times. Elected 1984.
Noted for his cheerful disposition, excellent all-around play, and powerful home runs, Ernie Banks was a favorite among Chicago Cubs fans. A 14-time All-Star, he was twice voted National League Most Valuable Player and knocked 512 home runs during his 19-year career with the Cubs. The shortstop and first baseman twice led the league in home runs and RBI. "Mr. Cub" displayed his perpetual love for the game with his signature phrase "Let's play two!" Elected 1977.
"Going from first to home Jesse Owens wouldn't have beaten "Cool Papa Bell" said former Negro League star Buck O'Neal. Legendary speed and a sharp batting eye made James "Cool Papa" Bell a top run producer in the Negro Leagues. His .318 career batting average made him a devastating leadoff hitter, and he was an excellent defensive center fielder. Bell played from 1922 to 1950, and served as player-manager the last four years of his career. Elected 1974.
In 1969, Ted Williams autographed a ball for Johnny Bench, "To a Hall of Famer for sure." Perhaps the best defensive catcher of all time, Bench won ten straight Gold Glove Awards and popularized the one-handed style of catching. Bench crushed 389 lifetime home runs and batted .267 for his career. He led the National League in home runs twice, RBI three times and total bases once. He won the NL Most Valuable Player Award in 1970 and 1972 and the World Series MVP in 1976. With Bench behind the plate the Cincinnati Reds won four pennants and two World Series. Elected 1989.
"If you can't imitate him, don't copy him," Yogi Berra once said. There was no imitating Berra, one of the most unique characters in baseball history, known for his witty "Yogi-isms." In 19 seasons as a player, the 18 time All-Star won 14 pennants, 10 World Series and three Most Valuable Player Awards. Berra regularly finished in the top 10 in homers and RBI, including 358 and 1,430 for his career, respectively. In seven seasons managing the New York Yankees and Mets, Berra won pennants in each league and spent 20 seasons as a coach with the Houston Astros, Mets and Yankees. Elected 1972.
A great all-around player, Lou Boudreau became the Cleveland Indians' regular shortstop in 1940, and two years later was named the team's player-manager, one of the youngest ever to hold such a position. He led Cleveland to the 1948 World Series championship and was named the American League Most Valuable Player. A four-time .300 hitter, Boudreau hit .295 for his career and led AL shortstops in fielding eight times. Boudreau will be remembered for inventing the "Williams shift," placing most of the fielders on the right side of the diamond against left handed Red Sox slugger Ted Williams. Elected 1970.
Roy Campanella broke into baseball with the Baltimore Elite Giants of the Negro National League at age 16 and joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948. He was selected to eight All-Star Games and played in five World Series. Strong defensively, "Campy" also was a star with the bat, setting then-records for single-season (41) and career (242) home runs by a catcher. He won three National League Most Valuable Player Awards (1951. 1953 and 1955). His playing career was cut short by an automobile accident in 1958. Elected 1969.
A U.S. Senator and former governor of Kentucky, Albert "Happy" Chandler succeeded Kenesaw Mountain Landis as commissioner in 1945, guiding Major League Baseball through its historic integration when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947. Though he lasted just one six-year term, Chandler upheld Landis' model as an authoritarian with honesty and respect, suspending players for leaving for the Mexican League and banning Leo Durocher for one year for a series of actions. Chandler also established the now common practice of six umpires on the field for World Series games. Elected 1982.
Jocko Conlan became an umpire by accident when Red Ormsby was overcome by the heat while umpiring a 1935 game between the Chicago White Sox and the St. Louis Browns. Conlan, then an outfielder with the White Sox, was asked to fill in. The following year, Conlan launched a new career. A polka-dot tie, balloon chest protector and a quick grin became his trademarks. Conlan won the respect of players and managers alike with his hustle, accuracy and fairness. He umpired in five World Series. Elected 1974.
A standout who played in the Mexican, Negro and Cuban leagues, Ray Dandridge is often called the best third baseman never to make the majors. Dandridge was masterful on defense, combining a cannon arm with terrific reflexes and sure hands, while offensively he used excellent bat control to spray line drives throughout the ballpark. After the color line was broken, he won Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player honors in his two minor league seasons. The following year, the aging legend roomed with and mentored a promising youngster named Willie Mays. Elected 1987.
As famed sportswriter Dan Daniels once wrote, "Bill Dickey isn't just a catcher, he's a ball club." A key performer for the New York Yankees on eight American League pennant-winners and seven World Series champions, the expert handler of pitchers with the deadly accurate throwing arm was also a top hitter, batting better than .300 in 10 of his first 11 full seasons. Know for his durability, he set an AL record by catching a 100 or more games 13 years in a row. Dickey finished his 17-year career with a .313 batting average. Elected 1954.
Described by Hall of Famer Joe Cronin as "fine a man as ever wore a spike shoe," Bobby Doerr compiled a career .980 fielding percentage as the Boston Red Sox's second baseman for 14 seasons. Also a powerful hitter, he drove in 100 runs six times, with a high of 120 in 1950. Doerr once set an American League Record by handling 414 chances without an error and frequently led the circuit's second baseman in double plays, putouts and assists. Hall of Fame teammate Ted Williams called Doerr "the silent captain of the Red Sox." Elected 1986.
A strong and durable receiver for the St. Louis Browns, Boston Red Sox and Washington Senators, Rick Ferrell set an American League record for games caught (1,806) that lasted more than 40 years. Ferrell had a special knack for handling the knuckler - the out-pitch for four Senator starters. The reliable backstop hit .281 lifetime and better than .300 four times during an 18-year career. Connie Mack's respect for the North Carolina farm boy was so great that Ferrell caught all nice innings of the first All-Star Game in 1933. Ferrell was ultimately names to seven All-Star teams. Elected 1984.
Known as "The Mechanical Man" for his remarkable consistency, Charlie Gehringer batted better than .300 in 13 seasons and collected more than 200 hits seven times. As New York Yankees pitcher Lefty Gomez put it, "He's in a rut. He goes 2 for 5 on Opening Day and stays that way all season." An agile second baseman with quick hands, Gehringer led the league in assists and fielding percentage seven times each. Regarding his quiet reputation, the six-time All-Star said, "You can't talk your way into a batting championship." A cornerstone of three pennant-winning Tigers teams, he won the 1937 Most Valuable Player Award by batting .371. Elected 1949.
William Jennings Bryan "Billy" Herman was the model for all National League second basemen in the 1930's and early 1940's. A smart player with great bat control, he mastered the hit-and-run and the bunt. Hall of Fame manager Leo Durocher said Herman was, "universally accepted as the classic number two hitter...an absolute master of hitting behind a runner." Herman batted .304 for his career and was a 10-time All-Star. His hitting and solid defense let to three Chicago Cubs pennants in the 1930's and one with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1941. Elected 1975.
One of Charlie Finley's "bonus babies" of the mid 1960's, Jim "Catfish" Hunter showed his brilliance in a May 1968 perfect game, the first hurled in the American League in 46 years. Hunter used control as his trump card and went on to fie consecutive 20-win seasons, never losing his laid-back, down-home attitude. "If I hadn't played baseball, I wanted to be a game warden or something," he claimed. Sadly, Hunter's life was cut short by Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, the same disease that felled Lou Gehrig. Elected 1987.
Possibly the greatest high school athlete in New Jersey history, Monte Irvin was a five-tool baseball player who starred in the Negro Leagues with the Newark Eagles and in the Mexican League before becoming a National League star. A pioneer in the integration of Major League, Irvin debuted with the New York Giants in 1949 at the age of 30. A clutch hitter who particularly excelled I World Series contests, he was once lauded by Rory Campanella as "the best all-around player I ever saw." Elected 1973.
Al Kaline featured a rifle arm and a lethal bat in his repertoire throughout a 22-year major league career, all with the Detroit Tigers. "Mr. Tiger" was highly respected by both colleagues and fans. "The kid murders you with his speed and arm," enthused Casey Stengel. Ted Williams added of Kaline, "He's the best right handed hitter in the (American) league." Kaline was named to 18 All-Star teams, won 10 Gold Glove Awards and totaled 3,007 hits. He was a key cog on the Tigers 1968 World Series championship team. Elected 1980.
George Kell worked diligently on all facets of the game to become a superb batter, sure-handed fielder and all around leader, culminating in a 1949 American League batting championship, when he beat out Ted Williams by .0002 and denied Williams his third Triple Crown. Kell batted .300 nine times and topped all AL third basemen in fielding percentage seven times, also pacing the circuit in double plays two times, assists four times and putouts twice. "You never stop watching, and you never stop learning." said Kell. Elected 1983.
Harmon Killebrew epitomized raw power. His quiet demeanor contradicted an awesome presences at the plate, deserving of the nickname "Killer." "I did have power," he explained. In 22 major league seasons Killebrew blasted 573 home runs, including many monumental blows estimated at more than 500 feet. The 13-time All-Star was one of the first sluggers to receive intentional walks with the bases empty and captured the 1969 American League MVP Award, leading the circuit with 49 home runs and 140 RBI. Elected 1984.
During his 10-year career, Ralph Kiner hit 369 home runs willing or sharing the National League home run title in each of his first seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He twice topped 50 homers, with 51 in 1947 and 54 in 1949, and averaged more than 100 RBI each season of his abbreviated major league run, cut short by continuing back ailments. A three-time NL leader in slugging percentage, Kiner transitioned to the broadcast booth in 1962 for New York Mets telecasts, garnering a large fan following. Elected 1975.
Although Bob Lemon debuted in the major leagues as a position player, mangers recognized his strong throwing arm and transformed the outfielder into a major league pitcher. During one nine-year span, Lemon logged seven 20-win seasons and helped propel the Cleveland Indians' 1948 and 1954 pennant drives. Lemon later became a successful manager, leading the New York Yankees to a World Series victory in 1978. New York Times sportswriter Steve Cady once wrote, "The line on Lemon is that the next person to say something bad about him will be the first." Elected 1976.
A smooth-fielding first baseman for the Homestead Grays dynasty of the late 1930's and 1940's, Walter "Buck" Leonard teamed with Josh Gibson to form an offensive combination called the "Ruth and Gehrig" of black baseball. Leonard played in a record 11 East-West All-Star Games, and his 17-year tenure with the Grays was the longest term of service with one team in Negro Leagues history. Eddie Gottlieb, an instrumental figure in forming the National Basketball Association, once said: "Buck Leonard as smooth a first baseman as I ever saw. A great glove, a heck of a hitter, and he drove in runs." Elected 1972.
Al Lopez was just 17 when he impressed Walter Johnson, baseball's best pitcher of the day, as a minor league catcher. His major league career would span a record 1,918 games - an unmatched mark for backstops for more than 40 years. From 1951 to 1959, as manager of the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox, Lopez won two pennants and finished second to the New York Yankees the other seven years. His 1954 Cleveland squad won 111 games, an American League record that lasted 44 years. In 1959, he led the "Go-Go" White Sox to their first pennant since 1919. Elected 1977.
"You're going to be a great player, kid," said Jackie Robinson to Mickey Mantle after the 1952 World Series. Mantle was a star from the start,; his talent and boyish good looks earned him iconic status. Despite a series of devastating injuries, Mantle accumulated a long list of impressive accomplishments, finishing his 18-year career with 536 home runs and a .298 batting average. When healthy, Mantle was an excellent defensive outfielder - lightning fast, with a strong and accurate arm. The switch-hitter won three MVP Awards and a Triple Crown, contributing to 12 pennants and seven World Series titles for the New York Yankees, all while establishing numerous Fall Classic records. Elected 1974.
The pride of the Dominican Republic, Juan Antonio Marichal Sanchez won 243 games and lost only 142 during 16 major league seasons. Hank Aaron once explained, "He can throw all day within a two inch space - in, out, up or down. I've never seen anyone as good as that." The high-kicking right-hander enjoyed six 20-win seasons, earning 10 All-Star Game selections. The "Dominican Dandy" twice led the National League in complete games, shutouts and wins, completing 244 games during his career while fanning 2,303 and compiling a 2.89 ERA. After his playing days, Marichal became Minister of Sports in his homeland. Elected 1983.
A feared left-handed slugger, Eddie Mathews became the seventh player in major league history to hit 500 home runs, finishing his career with 512. He walloped more than 30 round-trippers in nine straight seasons. in 1953, his 47 home runs for the Milwaukee Braves led the National League and established a single season record for third baseman that lasted 27 years. Ty Conn once said, "I've known three or four perfect swings in my time. This boy's got one of them." Mathews was a member of two World Series championship teams (1957 and 1968), and in August 1954 was featured on the cover of the inaugural Sports Illustrated. Elected 1978.
Although Willie McCovey played injured throughout much of his 22-year career, primarily with the San Francisco Giants, the first baseman nevertheless used a sweeping swing to belt 521 home runs and collect 2,211 hits. hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson once said, ""If you pitch to him, he'll ruin baseball. He'd hit 80 home runs. There's no comparison between McCovey and anyone else in the league." McCovey led the National League in homers three times and RBI twice. A six-time All-Star selection, McCovey earned NL MVP honors in 1969, 10 years after winning the league's Rookie of the Year Award. Elected 1986.
Johnny Mize, the burly first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Giants and New York Yankees, paced or tied for the National League lead in home runs four times, hitting three in a single game on six occasions. The 10-time All-Star also won three RBI crowns and one batting championship. After the "Big Cat" joined the Yankees, they won five consecutive World Series titles (1949-1953), with Mize batting .400 and hitting three homers in the 1952 Fall Classic. He finished his career with 359 home runs and a .312 batting average. Elected 1981.
"Here stands baseball's perfect warrior. Here stands baseball's perfect knight," once proclaimed Ford C. Frick of Stan Musial. After 22 years with the St. Louis Cardinals, Musial ranked at or near the top of baseball's all-time lists in nearly every offensive category,. He topped the .300 mark in 17 consecutive seasons and won seven National League batting titles with his famed "corkscrew" stance and ringing line drives. A three-time MVP, "The Man" played in 24 All-Star Games and was a member of three World Series championship teams. In 1948, Musial feel a home run shy of capturing the Triple Crown. In 2011, Musial was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. Elected 1969.
Harold "Pee Wee" Reese captained the dominant Brooklyn Dodgers teams of the 1950s - a symbol of strength and unity both on and off the field. An outstanding defensive player, Reese led the National League in put-outs four times, double plays twice, fielding percentage and assists once each, while forming one of baseball's top double-paly combinations with Jackie Robinson. Their relationship drew national attention during Robinson's 1947 barrier-breaking season when Reese offered public support to baseball's first modern African-American teammate. Elected 1984.
As sportswriter Jim Murray declared, "When Brooks Robinson retires, he's going to take third base with him." Nicknamed "The Human Vacuum Cleaner" for his fielding prowess, Robinsons career - spent entirely with the Baltimore Orioles - resulted in 18 All-Star selections, 16 Gold Glove Awards and 288 career home runs - a then record for American League third basemen. He starred in the 1970 World Series, hitting .429, making a host of defensive gems and winning the MVP Award. "I once thought of giving him some tips but dropped the idea," said fellow Hall of Fame third baseman Pie Traynor. "He's just the best there is." Elected 1983.
Sportswriter Bob Broeg regarded Joe Sewell as "a maestro with the bat." One of three brothers to play major league ball, Sewell was the toughest batter to strike out in major league history, fanning just 114 times in 7,132 at-bats. A graduate of the University of Alabama, Sewell made his major league debut during the Cleveland Indians' pennant drive in 1920 - after playing fewer than 100 professional games. Sewell would coach the New York Yankees and scout for the New York Mets and Cleveland Indians before becoming a public relations practitioner for a dairy farm - and later managed his alma mater's baseball program. Elected 1977.
In 1936 - after being scolded by manager Eddie Dyer - Enos Slaughter vowed never to loaf again. His newfound commitment made him one of the game's greatest hitters' "(Slaughter) would run through a brick wall, if necessary, to make a catch, or slide into a pit of ground glass to score a run," wrote New York Times sportswriter Arthur Daley. "Country" was a 10-time All-Star and part of four World Series championship teams. He used a flat, level swing and was regarded as a consistent, clutch hitter. His "mad dash" home from first base on Harry Walker's hit won the 1946 Fall Classic for the St. Louis Cardinals. Elected 1985.
Dodgers fans loved Duke Snider, "The Duke of Flatbush." A California-bred center fielder who declared, "I was born in Brooklyn," Snider lead all major leaguers in home runs and RBI during the 1950s, hitting 40-or-more homers each of the last five seasons the Dodgers played at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. A graceful fielder with a picture-perfect swing, Snider anchored six pennant-winning teams and clouted 11 World Series home runs, including four in 1952 and 1955, while driving in 26 runs in the Fall Classic. Elected 1980.
Stylish Warren Spahn is the winningest left-hander in history with 363 victories - all but seven coming as a member of the Boston/Milwaukee Braves. Spahn turned 25 years old before winning his first game and was a 23-game winner 17 years later. Following his credo that "hitting is timing and pitching is upsetting timing," he used a wide repertoire of pitches and a smooth overhand delivery to baffle hitters for 21 seasons, winning 20 games 13 times. The World War II veteran hurled two no-hitters and won the 1957 Cy Young Award. Elected 1973.
Few batters hit the ball as hard as left-handed slugger Willie Stargell, who crushed 475 career homers, including a high of 48 in 1971. "He doesn't just hit pitchers," said fellow Hall of Famer, Don Sutton, "he takes away their dignity." He was more kind to teammates, rewarding them with "stars" for outstanding performance. His father-figure status earned him the nickname "Pops," and his leadership helped the Pittsburgh Pirates capture two World Series titles, in 1971 and 1979, the latter year when he shared the NL MVL honors. Elected 1988.
Often overshadowed by more flamboyant stars, Billy Leo Williams was a steady performer who seldom missed a start. "People say I'm not an exciting ballplayer," Williams said, "I go out there and catch the ball, hit the ball and play the game like it should be played." Williams accumulated 2,711 hits and 426 home runs during an 18-year career. Manager Leo Durocher once said of Williams, "Well, this year I'm going to give him some rest. But every time I make out my lineup card, I have to put him in there - it would be like scratching Whirlaway and Seabiscuit from the big race." Elected 1987.
Theodore Samuel Williams had only one goal in life; to walk down the street and have people say, "There goes the greatest hitter who ever lived." In a 19 year career with the Boston Red Sox - twice interrupted by military service - "The Splendid Splinter" won two Triple Crowns, two MVP Awards and six batting championships. He retired with a career average of .344 and remains the last player to top .400 for a full season (batting .406 in 1941). With keen eyesight, quick wrists and a simple motto - "Get a good ball to hit" - Williams compiled all the evidence he needed to achieve his goal. Elected 1966.
Carl Michael Yastrzemski won three batting titles, was named to 18 All-Star teams and played left field in front of Fenway Park's Green Monster flawlessly. Owner of both 3,000 hits and 400 home runs, Yastrzemski stated in his Hall of Fame induction speech, "I can stand before you today and tell you honestly that every day I put on that Red Sox uniform, I gave 100 percent." The 1967 American League MVP and Triple Crown winner spent his entire career with the Boston Red Sox, leading the league in runs scored, doubles, and slugging percentage three times each. Elected 1989.