Note: This post was being written/outlined before Sully Baseball’s excellent video went up. Make sure to check that out- he does most of what I say in here.
As everybody and their brother said during the All-Star Game, Tony Gwynn really should have gotten a tribute. And, well, he didn’t, apparently because MLB didn’t want to make it about “any one person” (never mind that the entire game coverage was about Jeter and only a few years ago they did tributes to George Steinbrenner). So, everybody said, why not an Oscars-style “In Memoriam” segment, perhaps in the fifth inning?
I agree. Every year at the ASG, baseball should pay tribute to those it has lost since the last ASG with a Memoriam video of between two and four minutes, depending on how much of a bummer the year has been. It would feature (with examples of the types of people next to it):
- Hall of Famers who had passed away (Tony Gwynn, Jerry Coleman, Ralph Kiner)
- Players who had made All-Star Games, especially if they made multiple ones (Jim Fregosi, Bob Welch, Paul Blair, Andy Pafko, etc.)
- Players who otherwise had roles in major moments in baseball history (perfect games, no-hitters, key roles in postseason, etc.) or won major awards
- Individuals who were outright icons for various reasons (Don Zimmer)
- Contributors off the field (Tommy John Surgery creator Frank Jobe, MLBPA president Michael Weiner, GM Frank Cashen, Mariners owner Hiroshi Yamauchi)
- “Gone Too Soon” individuals who aren’t in the other categories (Umpire Wally Bell, former pitcher Frank Castillo)
- Exemplary players from outside Major League Baseball (Negro Leaguers, AAGPBLers, College coaches, particularly exceptional international players, etc.)
As for what music that could accompany it? Well, I’m sure a good orchestral score would work well, but want to know what else would work? The most melancholy and nostalgic of all baseball songs: Frank Sinatra’s “There Used To Be A Ballpark”.
Do it, MLB. Make it classy, and it could become an indelible part of the midsummer classic.