Jack McKeon night at the ballpark!

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Jack McKeon Bobblehead I received tonight…

Tonight was Jack McKeon/Steve Bartman night at the ballpark.  For those that don’t know who Jack McKeon is… He’s a legend around these parts.  Jack was nicknamed “Trader Jack“.  He is a former Major League Baseball manager. McKeon played baseball for the College of the Holy Cross. In 2003, he won a World Series with the Florida Marlins. When he took over as manager of the Marlins in 2011 at age 80, he became the second oldest manager in major league history.  McKeon previously managed the Kansas City Royals from 1973 to 1975, the Oakland Athletics in 1977 and 1978, the San Diego Padres from 1988 to 1990, and the Cincinnati Reds from 1997 to 2000. From 1981 to 1990, he served as general manager of the Padres, forming the team which won the 1984 National League pennant. McKeon was named National League Manager of the year in 1999 and 2003. The latter award was a result of leading the Marlins, who had a record below .500 when he took the job as their manager during the season, to a World Series victory. With that victory, he became, at 72, the oldest manager to win the World Series, winning against the New York Yankees.On October 2, 2005, just after the Marlins won the last game of the 2005 season, McKeon announced that he would not be returning the following season. McKeon led the Marlins to three of the six winning seasons in franchise history.

Again, even to say he’s a legend, might even be an understatement.

What tonight was about, was something that occurred ten years ago.  Tonight was “Have any of you ever heard of Steve Bartman?”  Yeah, me either… He apparently is a fan, beloved by the Florida Marlins organization.  I have searched the internet, talked to staff at the ballpark, and did some research of my own, on this Steve Bartman guy.  And furthermore, why would the Hoppers have a night shared for a Legend, and someone no one has ever heard of?

So, I went to Wikipedia, and here’s what I found…

The Steve Bartman incident occurred during a Major League Baseball playoff game between the Chicago Cubs and the Florida Marlins on October 14, 2003, atWrigley Field in Chicago. In the eighth inning of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, with Chicago ahead 3–0 and holding a 3 games to 2 lead in the best of 7 series, several spectators attempted to catch a foul ball off the bat of Marlins’ second baseman Luis Castillo. One of the fans, Steve Bartman, reached for the ball, deflecting it and disrupting a potential catch by Cubs outfielder Moisés Alou. If Alou had caught the ball, it would have been the second out in the inning, and the Cubs would have been just four outs away from winning the National League pennant. Instead, the Cubs ended up surrendering eight runs in the inning, giving up the lead. They went on to lose the game, 8-3. When they were eliminated in the seventh game the next day, the “Steve Bartman incident” was seen as the “first domino” in the turning point of the series.

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In the aftermath of the incident, Bartman, a lifelong Cubs fan, had to be escorted from the stadium by security guards, and received police protection for a time when his name and address were made public on MLB message boards. The next night, back at Wrigley Field, Florida overcame Kerry Wood and a 5–3 deficit to win 9–6, and win the pennant.  The Marlins would go on to win the 2003 World Series, beating the New York Yankees four games to two.

The Cubs have not won a playoff game since the incident. They did not reach the playoffs in the three subsequent seasons, were swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2007 NLDS, were swept again by the NL West champions LA Dodgers in the 2008 NLDS, and missed the playoffs from 2009 on.

News footage of the game showed him surrounded by security as passersby pelted him with drinks and other debris. Bartman’s name, as well as personal information about him, appeared on Major League Baseball’s online message boards minutes after the game ended. As many as six police cars gathered outside his home to protect Bartman and his family following the incident.Afterwards, then-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich suggested that Bartman join a witness protection program, while then-Florida Governor Jeb Bush offered Bartman asylum.

So… the connection?  Jack Mckeon was the Manager of the Marlins that night.  To the baseball community, it’s because of Steve Bartman, that Jack McKeon shows off that beautiful thing we like to call the World Series Championship ring.

Since it was Jack Mckeon/Steve Bartman night the games were likewise themed.  In the between inning promotions, you would have someone dressed as Steve Bartman run on the field and disrupt or interfere with the game.  It was rather humorous.  During the sausage race, a look-a-like came on the field and distracted the hot sausage so that sage could claim its first win of the season!

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Also, happening tonight was the HoppersFan  baseball giveaway.  Josh Royster was our winner, along with Chris Johnson, from High Point.  Josh Royster won a Christian Yelich autographed baseball and Chris took home a Jose Fernandez autographed baseball.  Both of these balls were game used balls.  Please stay tuned for our next promotion and giveaway!

The Hoppers lost tonight by the score of 5-2 to the Hickory Crawdads… Check out the official box score, recap, and as always, don’t forget to check out our friends at Greensborosports.com

Even though tonight was a loss, it is because of men like Jack McKeon and because we have the best fans in all of baseball… It just makes it A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!

-jordan

(Photo Credits: Wikipedia (Steve Bartman Incident) and Jordan Stowe)

(Resources: Wikipedia: Steve Bartman  Incident)

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