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Photos from the 1998 Hall of Fame induction ceremony: Bob Lemon, Brooks Robinson, then-NL president Leonard Coleman, Al Lopez, Lee Macphail, Juan Marichal, Stan Musial (playing the harmonica), and Buck O'Neil (who was among the dignitaries in the crowd), Larry Doby, Harmon Killebrew, Bud Selig, Jim Bunning, Steve Carlton, Don Sutton, Bob Gibson, Warren Spahn, Tom Seaver, a combo of Spahn and Seaver, Enos Slaughter, and Eddie Mathews.
Photos from the 1997 Hall of Fame induction ceremony: Rollie Fingers, George Kell, Sandy Koufax, Frank Robinson, Willie Stargell, Lou Brock, Sparky Anderson (who was among the dignitaries in the crowd), a combo of Pee Wee Reese and Phil Rizzuto, Phil Niekro (with Pee Wee Reese in background), Phil Niekro at podium during his induction speech, Tommy Lasorda during his speech, Niekro and Lasorda posing with their plaques, Whitey Ford, Bob Feller, Ted Williams 1, Ted Williams 2, Ted Williams 3, a combo of Jim Palmer and Johnny Bench Joe Morgan, and Yogi Berra.
Photos from the 1987 Hall of Fame induction ceremony: Group shot: Ray Dandridge, Catfish Huner and Billy Williams with Commissioner Peter Ueberroth on the right behind them and then-HOF president, Edward Stack, on the left behind them
Ray Dandridge, Catfish Hunter and Billy Williams, Billy Williams, Catfish Hunter sitting, Cool Papa Bell, Dale Murphy, Dale Murphy with Happy Chandler, George Grande, Happy Chandler, Enos Slaughter, Ralph Kiner, Monte Irvin and Stan Musial, Jack Buck and Ralph Kiner, Stan Musial.
At Doubleday Field, before the Hall of Fame game: Catfish Hunter in dugout, Don Mattingly: with hat, signing autographs, smiling, stretching, Rickey Henderson, George Steinbrenner, Dave Winfield 1, Dave Winfield 2.
A. C. Haeffner / Memorabilia
About the Author
He satisfied his continuing thirst for baseball by serving as Sports Editor at the Elmira (N.Y.) Star-Gazette, a daily paper in the Gannett chain, in the mid- to late-1980s, and then took to the road on weekends for several years as a sports card and memorabilia dealer. He also ran a sports card shop in his hometown of Odessa, N.Y., for three years in the 1990s before working for another newspaper in Corning, N.Y. (from which he won the 1997 Associated Press award as best columnist among small-circulation dailies in the state). In recent years he has bought and sold memorabilia on eBay.
Haeffner has also kept writing, producing three fantasy-laced novels set on Bois Blanc Island, a remote locale in Northern Michigan to which he adjourns for a couple of weeks each summer. The titles: "Cabins in the Mist," "Island Nights" and "The Islander." Baseball plays a small role in one, and is key to the plot resolution in another. He is also nearing completion on a baseball fantasy novel set in Cooperstown, and has started his own website, www.odessafile.com.
I also recommend the APBA baseball board game and in particular any of its issues in the early 1960s, the period in which I was especially devoted to it.
Each Christmas growing up I looked forward to a baseball book as a present. My parents knew they could get away cheaply by getting me that book. It didn't matter which book, as long as it was about baseball. That still goes.
Nonetheless, I do have my favorites: Shoeless Joe, the Mark Harris novels, The Boys of Summer, and one story from my childhood: The Kid Who Batted 1.000.
My favorite card issues: the 1954, 1955 and 1956 Topps, and the 1984, 1985 and 1986 Donruss. I like the first three because that's when I started collecting, and the last three for distinctive style.
The best baseball movie is "The Natural." I also love "It Happens Every Spring," "A League of Their Own," the baseball portions of "Bull Durham," and "Pride of the Yankees." Of course, Ken Burns' documentary series (Baseball, The Civil War, and Jazz) tops any fiction.