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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hall of Fame Classic: Rick Lancellotti and Dick Williams

Rick Lancellotti stands next to a row of bats at his baseball academy in February 2011. Several of the bats mark milestones from his 17-season career

My wife and I are headed to Cooperstown this weekend for the third-annual Hall of Fame Classic, a game where retired players and Hall of Famers come back to show what they still have.

Last year's game featured a few CMC setters, it's too bad we didn't get to go. CMC set member Mark Whiten was named the game's MVP. Set member Paul Blair was also there.

This year, I made sure to put the game on my calender. I also waited for the rosters to come out. When they did, there were another two CMC set members on the list. One is actually somebody I've interviewed, Rick Lancellotti. The other was All-Star Reggie Sanders.

I met with Lancellotti back in February at his baseball school outside Buffalo and he was more than generous with his time. We spent more than an hour talking about is career, the high points, and the low points. (The Interview)

Having a prominent role in both Lancellotti's highs and lows was his manager with San Diego, Hall of Famer Dick Williams.

Williams put Lancellotti into his first lineup, as a first baseman. He also took him out. Intollerant of any lateness, regardless of the reason, the Hall of Famer dressed down the rookie after Lancellotti was late for a medical appointment. Construction was the reason Lancellotti was late. It was also an appointment necessitated after a game-saving catch Lancellotti performed the night before.

Regardless, Lancellotti never started for Williams again. The season over, he was traded.

As a Hall of Fame manager, Dick Williams was likely to skipper one of the legends teams. But, apparently because this is an unorthodox game, there will be an unorthodox managerial situation.

Dick Williams will manage both teams.

That means Williams will manage Lancellotti, regardless of the team he's on.

Now, obviously Lancellotti's interactions with Williams were a much bigger part of Lancellotti's career than Williams' interactions with Lancellotti were a part of Williams' career.

But, knowing background that I would have only known through doing this blog, it should be interesting to see how it turns out. And my wife and I will be there to see it happen.

And Lancellotti still isn't starting for Williams.

He's listed in the lineups as a reserve. But maybe Lancellotti can be a late-add and make one more game-saving catch for his old manager. He'll just have to watch the Cooperstown-area construction if there's a post-Classic lunch Monday.
Rick Lancellotti Interview: Part 1 Christmas Morning; Part 2 Moving Up; Part 3 Stunned; Part 4 Lived It

Research-Based Features:

Mark Whiten, Hard Hitting
Reggie Sanders, Already Confident
Paul Blair, Through Baseball (coaching days)
Paul Blair, Winning Background (playing days)
Rick Lancellotti, Worth It

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