Seattle slugger named MVP after hitting go-ahead HR
By Mark Newman
MIAMI -- Robinson Cano began his night by catching a first pitch from Juan Marichal, the first Major League Baseball player from the Dominican Republic to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Fittingly, Cano's night ended with an entry of his own into Cooperstown.
The Mariners second baseman and Dominican star donated his No. 22 All-Star jersey to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on his way out of the American League clubhouse, where he was the last to leave long after hitting the decisive home run in a 2-1, 10-inning AL victory that earned him the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award in the 88th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard.
"It meant a lot to me that they wanted something that will be preserved at the Hall of Fame for the fans," Cano said after posing for a quick picture with the jersey. "It was a great night for Latin ballplayers and I am happy it ended this way."
Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson was in the postgame clubhouses to procure artifacts along with Jon Shestakovsky, the Hall's vice president of communications and marketing.
"The All-Star Game's importance is evident by how long it's gone on and how much it is appreciated by the fans," Idelson said. "Collecting something from the MVP each year allows fans to come back and remember that moment in the Midsummer Classic."
This is the third artifact that Cano has donated to the Hall, and the second as a Mariner. The Hall has the bat used to hit a grand slam against Oakland on Aug. 25, 2011, the first of three grand slams by Yankees in that game. It also has a batting helmet worn by him during the '15 season.
Cano was among the Latin players who caught first pitches by Latin-born players who are in the Hall of Fame (as well as Roberto Clemente's family), as part of the special pregame ceremony conducted by Major League Baseball.
"I was talking to Tony Perez before the game about 50 years ago today, his 15th-inning home run, and you wondered how long this game would go on," Idelson said. "And the fact that it was won by another Latino player, maybe it's fitting."
Aaron Judge, in case you are wondering, is holding onto his colorful bat that he used to win Monday night's T-Mobile Home Run Derby. The Yankees rookie already donated to Cooperstown the first bat he ever used to hit a Major League homer last season, and the way this season is going, one could foresee further conversation between him and the Hall in the second half, so he was not asked about the bat used Monday.
"I definitely want to hold onto this one," Judge said. "I'm glad they have the one I used for the first homer."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.