I figured this topic was a bit interesting, and I'm curious to see how many Hall of Fame players our collective list can reach. Apologies in advance go out to people fearing they may give their age away here, and apologies to RFS for opening up a wide platform for Puffy to do what he does best.
Which Hall of Fame players have you had the pleasure of watching play?
Any players inducted already in the 2006 class or previous years count, and all players elected for 2007 also count (i.e. Gwynn and Ripken). Also, by watching play, I mean actually in person, live at the ballpark. Television doesn't count. Pitchers would have actually had to have pitched some part of the game in a live game attended, and hitters would have had to make at least one plate appearance in a live game attended. So watching a game where a Hall of Fame player just sat on the bench also doesn't count.
A chronological list of Hall inductees can be found here.
Also, do you remember any stories or game events from any of the games when you watched one or more Hall of Famers participate?
Obviously my list will grow by a wide margin in the next 10+ years when certain guys such as a Ken Griffey, Jr. are inducted into Cooperstown, but for now, it remains extremely small. I've only seen a grand total of five Hall of Fame players live on the field.
- Ozzie Smith (STL) @ Riverfront Stadium/Cinergy Field
- Ryne Sandberg (CHC) @ Riverfront Stadium/Cinergy Field
- Eddie Murray (BAL) @ Comiskey Park II
- Cal Ripken, Jr. (BAL) @ Comiskey Park II
- Tony Gwynn (SD) @ Riverfront Stadium/Cinergy Field
Two guys I just don't know if I ever saw were Dennis Eckersley and Gary Carter. Eckersley played a few games in Cincinnati in 1996-97 with the Cardinals, but I just don't know if I ever attended any of those Reds/Cardinals games during those two years. As for Gary Carter, I would have been too young to remember.
I saw Ozzie Smith, Ryne Sandberg, and Tony Gwynn quite a few times. I only saw Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken, Jr. once each, both in the same game in 1996.
Tony Gwynn was an absolute joy to watch hit, at least when I wasn't bummed when he'd light up Reds pitching. It was amazing how quickly and easily he'd flip the bat out into the strike zone and shoot a line drive into left field. Or, if he got around on one, it was probably heading into a gap somewhere.
Eddie Murray hit 19 career grand slams. I watched one of them live on August 10th, 1996 in new Comiskey when the Orioles went to Chicago to face the White Sox. Murray had an outstanding game, and he finished the night going 3-4 with a grand slam, two singles, and a walk. Murray was near the end of his career in 1996, but for that night he morphed back into the Eddie Murray of his peak.
It's actually amazing how many Hall of Famers and potential future Hall of Famers I saw play in that same Orioles/White Sox game in 1996. Murray and Ripken are already Hall of Famers from that game. Frank Thomas, Roberto Alomar, Mike Mussina, and Rafael Palmeiro also played in that game, though at this point it seems unlikely for Palmeiro to reach Cooperstown for some other well-known reasons.