Citi Field and new Yankee Stadium opened recently, and that meant that representatives from the Baseball Hall of Fame were on hand to collect items for shipment back to Cooperstown to mark the historic events.
As far as direct Tribe connections are concerned, reps collected a game ball signed by Cliff Lee and the bat Grady used to hit the first grand slam from the Bronx.
They also grabbed a pair of spikes from CC Sabathia, and in the process, not only secured a memento special to the opening of Yankee Stadium, but a record-breaker as far as the Hall is concerned:
Mary Bellew, assistant registrar at the Hall of Fame, assures me that at size 15, Sabathia's shoes are the largest ever in our collection, breaking Ryan Minor's mark of 13 ½. Minor donated the cleats he wore Sept. 20, 1998, when he took over for Cal Ripken Jr. at third base after Ripken decided to end his record-breaking streak of consecutive games played at 2,632.
You got to feel a little bad for Ryan Minor here. Dude had two things going for him — the pure chance of replacing Ripken for game 2,633 and huge feet — and one of those just got destroyed.
Anyway, across the way at the new home of the Mets, former Wahoo Jody Gerut provided the bat he used to swat not only the first hit (which also happened to be a homer) at Citi Field. More interesting than that, however, is the highly scientific matter in which HOF members collected dirt from Citi Field for transport to Cooperstown: (emphasis mine)
And with that declaration, Gerut's bat, along with the ceremonial first-pitch ball thrown by Hall of Famer Tom Seaver and caught by legendary catcher Mike Piazza, and a Dunkin' Donuts cup full of dirt from home plate taken after the game, are en route to their eternal home in Cooperstown this morning, where fans will soon be able to witness these treasures as part of our Today's Game exhibit.
Well, at least we know the Baseball Hall of Fame is doing their part during this recession — it wasn't a Starbucks cup.