The corridors at the Baseball Hall of Fame are welcoming a few new additions on Sunday, as three players and two former executives will be forever enshrined in Cooperstown, New York.
Ex-catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, speedy outfielder Tim Raines and power-hitting first baseman Jeff Bagwell will be inducted as players at the ceremony at the Clarks Sports Center, just down the street from the Hall itself.
Joining those three in the Hall of Fame are former commissioner Bud Selig and former general manager John Schuerholz, who presided over the Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves, winning World Series with both teams.
Here's how to catch the event.
2017 Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
When: Sunday, July 30 at 1:30 p.m. ET
Where: Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, New York
TV: MLB Network
Live Stream: BaseballHall.org
Rodriguez, Raines and Bagwell accomplished plenty during their long careers, and all three were great in fairly distinct ways.
Pudge was an immensely likable player who enjoyed a 21-year career, showing uncommon durability at the catcher position. He was named an All-Star 14 times, including 10 years in a row from 1992 to 2001.
With the Texas Rangers in 1999, he won his only MVP award, batting .332 with 35 home runs and 113 RBI, stealing 25 bases and all while earning one of his 13 Gold Gloves.
His whimsical nickname, ability to throw out would-be base stealers with uncommon precision and knack for the timely hit made him a fan favorite wherever he went in his career. Baseball Hall provided some impressive stats from his legendary career:
While Rodriguez was a defensive marvel, Bagwell was more known for his exploits at the plate—though he did win a Gold Glove at first base. He burst on to the scene in 1991 with the Houston Astros, winning the National League Rookie of the Year award with 15 home runs and 82 RBI.
Three years later, during the strike-shortened 1994 season, Bags won the National League MVP, socking 39 dingers with 116 RBI in just 110 games.
Though he was only named to four All-Star games (first base is just lousy with great hitters), Bagwell was often among the top sluggers in the game, and he spent his entire 15-year career in Houston. Despite hitting a total of 449 home runs and 1520 RBI, Bagwell counted his ability to steal bases (two seasons with at least 30, 202 in his career) as one of his best accomplishments.
"That's something I'm more proud of than probably anything else," he said, per USA Today's Dan Schlossberg. "Playing first base, it was a lot easier for me to read pitchers—what looks they gave you and when they were going to throw over. At that time, pitchers weren't paying as much attention to baserunners who were trying to steal, especially a guy like me."
Raines knew plenty about stealing bases. He snagged 808 bags in his 23-year career, about half of it spent with the Montreal Expos. He put together a string of six seasons wherein he stole at least 70 bases, including a staggering 90 in 1983. Baseball Reference also noted he rarely got caught trying to swipe a base:
Now that stealing bases at abandon isn't considered nearly as valuable as it once was, those numbers don't seem like they can possibly be repeated.
Raines was more than base stealer, though. He played a solid left field and made cameo appearances at second base throughout his career. A fine hitter, Raines posted a career average of .294 and on-base percentage of .385.
The Hall of Fame will be a sweet ceremony for all three players and the two execs, but Raines might find it sweeter than most because he had to wait 10 years on the ballot before he finally got the call. As the Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan noted, advanced stats helped Raines finally get the recognition he deserves:
"The old conventional wisdom was Raines was just a great base stealer and leadoff hitter in an era when stealing bases was not that uncommon.
"But with respected baseball writers like Jonah Keri and Jay Jaffe advancing his cause via articles showing Raines' all-around offensive brilliance using metrics like JAWS (Jaffe WAR Score system), Raines managed to garner enough votes to get in this year, his final year of eligibility."
Raines' legacy is secure now he will be in the Hall of Fame.
His path perhaps wasn't as straightforward as most, but as we learn more about the game in the present and future, the easier it is to understand its glorious past.