Back in November I wrote a post here about a Hitters Hall of Fame at the Ted Williams Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. For that piece, I interviewed the executive director for the museum, David McCarthy. After I published my post, McCarthy emailed me feedback and invited me to the museum’s annual induction dinner, to be held February 13. Having just quit my job at the time, I told McCarthy I would have to get back to him and figured I wouldn’t be able to go. It bummed me out, but that’s part of being an adult.
However, I heard that airline companies do deals after the first of the year, so I checked Travelocity a few weeks ago and saw airfare-plus-hotel packages starting at a few hundred bucks. After doing some budgeting, I thought I could afford the trip and called McCarthy to RSVP. Subsequently, though, I remembered a $300 check I wrote in December and realized I probably wouldn’t be able to go after all. I’m holding out hope for a windfall; if anyone has any ideas, I’m game.
This story gets better. When I called McCarthy to RSVP, the museum had announced Dave Dravecky would be added to a Pitcher’s Wall of Achievement. However, an inductee for the Hitters Hall of Fame hadn’t been decided. I suggested Mark McGwire, who hit 583 home runs and has a better career on-base percentage than Hank Aaron, Willie Mays or Al Kaline. This was about a week before McGwire admitted he used steroids during his career. McCarthy liked my suggestion, saying Ted Williams thought highly of McGwire.
After McGwire dropped his bombshell, though, I wondered if the museum would still honor him. I checked the museum’s web site last night and learned it won’t this year. Instead, the inductees into the Hitters Hall of Fame will be Darryl Strawberry and my all-time favorite player, Will Clark. I’m 26 and grew up in Northern California, coming of age when the first baseman nicknamed “The Thrill” starred for my San Francisco Giants. Even just thinking of him now puts a smile on my face.
One of the stipulations for any player to be inducted into the museum is that he attend the awards dinner. When I called to RSVP, I asked McCarthy if I would be able to interview Dravecky and he said yes. Thus, I’m reasonably sure that if I went to this event, I would get to interview Clark, probably Strawberry too. I contemplated asking my parents for the money and called a man I go to for advice. He stressed the importance of being self-supporting and I really can’t argue with him. I know the right thing to do here.
Thus, I left McCarthy a voice mail today, updating him on the situation and asking if I could do a phone interview with Clark and Strawberry if I can’t make the dinner. Ideally, I’ll be able to attend. Either way, though, this seems like an event worth writing about and even getting to talk to Clark over the phone would be, at the risk of sounding cheesy, a thrill.
(Postscript: McCarthy called me back a couple hours after I first posted this. He said he’d tried unsuccessfully to get in touch with McGwire through the Cardinals organization. McCarthy said he would still like to induct McGwire into the Hitters Hall of Fame and discussed maybe doing so next year. McCarthy also said he’d do what he could about ensuring a phone interview for me with Clark and said I could still come to the event, even with last-minute notice. Cool guy.)