Some baseball news on this snowy day, courtesy of the PawSox and the International League:
The International League announced Tuesday, Jan. 25, that Steve Balboni, Wade Boggs, and Cal Ripken, Jr., will be inducted into the circuit's Hall of Fame as members of the Class of 2011. All three players starred in the International League during the early 1980's, and they now comprise the first Class elected to the IL Hall by a vote of current Hall of Fame members, along with longtime executives, broadcasters, and members of the media.
It was thirty years ago that Wade Boggs of Pawtucket was the IL batting champion, Steve Balboni of Columbus was the home run king, and Cal Ripken, Jr. of Rochester was the IL Rookie of the Year. The contributions and accomplishments of each player were recognized by voters who elected the trio to the IL Hall of Fame as the Class of 2011.
Wade Boggs narrowly missed winning consecutive IL batting titles during an amazing two-year stint with the Pawtucket Red Sox. In 1980, the 22-year-old Boggs lost the batting race on the season's final day by a fraction of a point, but a year later he improved his average from .306 to .335 to win the title. Boggs went on to win five American League batting crowns, and in 2005 he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Cal Ripken, Jr. Baseball's future "Iron Man" enjoyed a stellar season playing third base for the Rochester Red Wings in 1981. He slammed 23 home runs, and of course did not miss any of the team's 114 games prior to an August call to Baltimore. In 1982 Ripken joined the Orioles full-time, following up his IL Rookie of the Year Award with American League Rookie of the Year honors. He played in every game from May 30, 1982 to September 20, 1998, establishing an all-time record of 2,632 consecutive games played.
The IL Hall of Fame, established in 1947, was dormant from 1964 until the League's 125th Anniversary season in 2008.
Following a three-year transition period (2008-10) in which a total of 50 individuals were inducted after having been selected by a committee, the Class of 2011 was the first chosen by what will continue to serve as the annual election process moving forward. Each year the top three vote-getters who also receive a vote on the majority of ballots returned will be elected.
Members of the Class of 2011 have been added to the International League Hall of Fame plaque display. The inductees will be presented with “The Curtain Call” statue during individual enshrinement ceremonies to take place during the coming season. The IL Hall of Fame plaque display does not have a permanent home, but rather serves as a traveling testament to the storied legacy of the International League.