By Neil A. Carousso
Cooperstown, NY — In an era dominated by sluggers, Randy Johnson dominated the game like no other. A gifted 6’10” left-handed power pitcher from California, Johnson imposed fear on Major League and Hall of Fame batters throughout his career.
“[Johnson was] probably the most intimidating guy that I ever faced,” said Hall of Famer Wade Boggs, adding, “I’m just glad everybody wasn’t 6’10” otherwise I wouldn’t be here today.” Boggs, a member of the 3,000 hit club, is 8 inches shorter than Johnson.
The “Big Unit” began his career in 1988 with the Montreal Expos, before primarily playing for the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks, posting a career 303-166 record with a 3.29 ERA. His 4,875 strikeouts is 2nd best all-time, behind Nolan Ryan, whom Boggs said was another pitcher who caused him stress in the batters box. Johnson is the all-time leaders in strikeouts per 9 innings with 10.6.
“His ace in the hole is that you don’t know when that ball is going to be over your head and then the next thing he does is he paints you three on the outside corner and strikes you out,” said Boggs.
The biggest criticism against Johnson when he debuted in the majors was the fact that he lacked control with his high velocity. Eventually, he developed a mastery of the strike zone and picked his spots like any finesse pitcher. Johnson also introduced a slider that would break into or out of the strike zone at a velocity of 90 mph plus.
“He learned how to throw strikes and change speeds and throw that wicked slider, said Mr. Royal, George Brett, who was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1999. “You throw a slider that breaks that much to a left-hander and you’re throwing 98, 99, 100 miles an hour, and then you throw that 92 mile[sic] an hour slider, he was almost un-hittable,” added Brett.
Johnson will be enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame with two other pitchers – Pedro Martinez and and John Smoltz on Sunday afternoon in Cooperstown.
By Neil A. Carousso
Cooperstown, NY — The Saturday of the annual Hall of Fame Weekend is a busy one between press conferences for that year’s Hall of Fame class, an awards presentation, recognizing excellence in baseball writing and broadcasting, and the “Parade of Legends” in which all the Hall of Famers, who made it out to Cooperstown, are driven around Main Street in the back of a pick-up truck, waving to the thousands of fans who marvel at their baseball accomplishments. However, Saturday morning is a chance for Hall of Fame players to relax and enjoy each others company on the Leatherstocking Golf Course at the Otesaga Resort Hotel, where all the Hall of Fame players and managers stay during the weekend.
“It’s a lot calmer for sure,” said Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine. “This year…my wife and I show up and and ‘what time are we going to eat dinner?’ and ‘when’s our first cocktail?’ so its been pretty good.”
Glavine was inducted into the Hall last year, along with former Atlanta Braves teammate Greg Maddux and his former manager Bobby Cox. This year, another member of the “big 3,” John Smoltz, will be enshrined.
Smoltz, Glavine and Maddux all pitched for a dominant Braves starting rotation that contributed to a streak of 14 consecutive National League East division titles, from 1991-2005, and one World Series victory against the Cleveland Indians in 1995. Smoltz, earned his 154 career saves during their division title streak, when he converted to the bullpen in 2001, following Tommy John surgery to repair an ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injury of his right elbow. “Smoltzy,” who replaced reliever John Rocker, broke the NL saves record in 2002 with 55; the previous saves record was 53. Closer Éric Gagné tied Smoltz’s record the next season, winning the NL Cy Young award with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
But with all the pressure on Smoltz and the other three players in this 2015 class, the largest class of players to be inducted by the Baseball Writer’s Association of America (BBWAA) in 60 years, the starter converted to closer, only to return as a starting pitcher for Atlanta, was able to squeeze in two rounds of golf in Cooperstown.
“I wasn’t surprised in the least when he said he had time to sneak in a round in yesterday, because that’s how John is,” said the lefty Glavine, who notched 305 wins with two NL East teams, the Braves and New York Mets. “Good for him that he’s able to do that and relax to that extent, but I’m sure when he wakes up tomorrow morning, much like I did last year, anyway, I know he’ll wake up with that feeling, almost like you had when you’re getting ready to pitch a big game…I’m sure he’ll have nerves no matter what he does.”
Tomorrow is the induction ceremony outside Cooperstown’s Clark Sports Center. All Hall of Famers tell anecdotes about their speeches, either forgetting someone important to them, or going over the allotted time.
“It’s natural when you get here. You have a lot of things on your mind, particularly your family…and then, you are inevitably are worried that you forgot somebody or somebody’s going to be mad at you, whatever the case may be, but you can’t do anything about it,” said Glavine, adding, “Once your here, all that stuff is pretty much done and there isn’t anything you can do about it other than come here, enjoy it, embrace it.”
Most players even make fun bets about whether an inductee will go over or under the 12 minute bench mark.
“Take the over,” said Glavine, emphatically. “Putting 40 years of your life and 20 odd years of baseball into 12 minutes is really hard to do.”
Smoltz will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday afternoon with Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros, Randy Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Pedro Martinez of the Boston Red Sox.
WATCH: “They’re there right now.” Mets Broadcaster Howie Rose Says the Amazins’ are 2015 Contenders; Howie Also Talks about Mike Piazza’s PED Speculation and This Year’s Hall of Fame Inductees
By Neil A. Carousso
Flushing, NY — Prior to the middle game of a three game series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Mets at Citi Field on July 11, I sat down with Howie Rose, who has been in the Mets broadcast booth for 20 years on both radio and television, to discuss the 2015 Mets team and the Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2015 with that part of the interview airing during WRHU-FM’s Hall of Fame coverage in Cooperstown, New York this weekend.
“They’re there right now,” Rose said when asked if the Metropolitans can contend for a playoff bid in 2015, despite being second-to-last in runs scored, just ahead of the Chicago White Sox. “There are enough bats here so that with their pitching as good as its been, they should be able to compete,” said Rose.
The 61-year-old sports broadcaster has seen the game evolve over the years from the “steroid era,” when there was an abundance of sluggers in the game, to baseball dominated by stellar pitching with young arms like Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard of the Mets and 2015 all-star game starters Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers right hander Zach Greinke, to name a few.
“It’s a pitchers game right now,” remarked Rose, adding, “There are good young hitters in this game; they just need to develop a few more of them.”
On the topic of the aforementioned “steroid era,” former Mets catcher Mike Piazza came to mind, not because he is highly suspected of using performance enhancing drugs, but because he has been held out of the Hall of Fame after three years on the ballot.
“I feel there’s an inevitability to Mike Piazza going to Cooperstown,” said Rose. “He’s part of an era where everybody’s under some suspicion and I think he’s somewhat victimized by that.”
In the video above, Rose also recalls Piazza’s eighth inning home run that brought a sold-out Shea Stadium crowd to their feet on September 21, 2001, the day baseball returned to New York after the tragic terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Howie, who called the game on Fox Sports Network, remembers it as an “Americana” moment.
Meanwhile, Rose addressed the 2015 Hall of Fame class, the largest players class inducted in 60 years.
First thing that comes to mind when Rose thinks of Long Island, New York native, 20-year Astro Craig Biggio is “consistent.” Biggio is 21st all-time in hits with 3,060, along with a .281 average and 291 home runs.
He called Randy Johnson, 2nd in strikeouts all-time with 4,875 K’s, “imposing,” adding he was “as intimidating as a pitcher as perhaps there ever was in the game.” The “Big Unit” has the 22nd most wins all-time with a record of 303-166. He played 22 years with seven teams, where he threw one perfect game, as a member of the D-Backs, against the Atlanta Braves in May 2009 to become the 17th pitcher in history to throw a perfecto. Johnson also pitched 100 complete games.
Pedro Martinez, one of three pitchers in this 2015 class, pitched 18 years and dominated the game in 1999, when he went 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA for the Boston Red Sox. Pedro was also in Queens for four seasons, although injured for some of his time in blue and orange.
“I think my favorite memory of Pedro had nothing to do with performance as it did attitude,” Rose said, while he recounted a story in which the sprinklers went off in-between innings at Shea. Pedro, who was the starting pitcher that day, was the least affected by the situation, according to Rose, who points out how routine oriented and superstitious baseball players are, especially starting pitchers.
Meanwhile, John Smoltz, who’s former Atlanta Braves teammates Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine were enshrined last year, along with his manager Bobby Cox, will be inducted in Cooperstown on Sunday. Being in the National League East, Smoltz faced the Mets as both a starter and closer often.
“I kind of look at him as a pitching version of Craig Biggio,” remarked Rose. He excelled in two totally different ways just as Biggio did at two totally different positions,” Rose said continuing, “I, again, tip my cap to someone who was able to A, recover from adversity, and B, show an almost unparalleled, with the exception of [Hall of Fame pitcher] Dennis Eckersley, to an extreme in two different areas that are very very hard to do.” “[Smoltz is a] no doubt Hall of Famer in my mind.”
The Mets are two games out of first place behind the Washington Nationals, going into tonight’s head-to-head match-up in the nation’s capital. After a three-game series in Washington this week, the two NL East teams will play at Citi Field in a weekend series next week.
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New York, NY – Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Award-winning multi-media journalist, producer and talk show host Neil A. Carousso gears up for his 2nd Annual Hall of Fame coverage on WRHU-FM live from Cooperstown, NY at the National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony, featuring 2 ½ hours of programming on Sunday, July 26, 2015.
“There are so many storylines and excitement that builds up for the Hall of Fame Weekend,” said Carousso, who is the executive producer of WRHU’s Hall of Fame coverage. “Being that this is our second year, I truly believe that the programming will be even more engaging.”
The 2 ½ hours of WRHU’s coverage begins at 11 AM EDT/8 AM PDT on Sunday, July 26, exclusively on 88.7 FM WRHU in New York and streaming online in high definition on www.WRHU.org and the FREE WRHU mobile app.
Guests on the “Long Island Community Spotlight Special with Basia and Neil A. Carousso,” which airs from 11-12 noon eastern, include John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball, Craig Muder from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and a New York baseball writer.
Guests on “WRHU’s 2nd Annual Hall of Fame Lives Special with Neil A. Carousso,” which airs from 12 noon-1:30 eastern, include the 2015 Hall of Fame class, the largest player class in 60 years, consisting of Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz. Other notable guests include Kenny Albert, national baseball play-by-play broadcaster for Fox Sports, Howie Rose, the radio voice of the New York Mets and Bob Nightengale, national sports writer for USA Today and voting member of the Baseball Writer’s Association of America.
Hall of Famers Joe Torre (pictured with Neil A. Carousso in the left picture) and Rollie Fingers
(sitting in the picture on the right) were guests of Neil’s first program from Cooperstown in 2014.
“The big topics next weekend will include the controversial ‘steroid era’ for sure, but even more this year, the question of whether or not the all-time hits leader Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame,” Carousso said. “I will certainly be covering these topics with expert guests – baseball writers and broadcasters; however, on the flip side, we cannot forget about the celebration of America’s Pastime.”
In addition to executive producing WRHU’s coverage, Neil serves as the co-host of the Long Island Community Spotlight and the solo host for the #HOFLiveSpecial, along with reporting duties all weekend. Carousso will also give the audience a VIP pass to Cooperstown via articles, including breaking news and anecdotes from Hall of Famers, and video features, exclusive to Carousso Enterprises’ www.NeilACarousso.com.
“It’s always enjoyable to be around a group of Hall of Fame players who were so great at their sport and just take in their stories from ‘back in the day’ and just marvel at what they accomplished at the highest level,” remarked Carousso.
“Long Island Community Spotlight with Basia and Neil A. Carousso” and “WRHU’s 2nd Annual Hall of Fame Live Special with Neil A. Carousso” are radio talk shows in which baseball fans and enthusiasts honor and celebrate the men inducted that Sunday afternoon in Cooperstown and discuss the latest topics in the sport, while celebrating its 170-year history, highlighted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum.
About Carousso Enterprises:
Carousso Enterprises is a sole-proprietorship company with endeavors in media content, news, sports, entertainment, among other media, journalism and business entities. It is the corporate brand and site of content produced for www.NeilACarousso.com by Neil A. Carousso, president & owner of Carousso Enterprises.
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About Neil A. Carousso:
Neil A. Carousso is an award-winning multi-media journalist, producer and executive producer. He is an entrepreneur, who founded Carousso Enterprises – a sole-proprietorship company with endeavors in media content, news, sports, entertainment, among other media, journalism and business entities. As the President & Owner of Carousso Enterprises, Neil produces all content on www.NeilACarousso.com and manages www.CaroussoEnterprises.com, the corporate website.
Neil is a producer extraordinaire, booking top celebrities, professional and Hall of Fame athletes, Olympians, inspiring individuals and various experts. In addition to producing, executive producing and hosting on-location talk shows at venues like the National Baseball Hall of Fame, U.S. Open Tennis Championship, Belmont Stakes, PGA Tour events, Empire Challenge and red carpet coverage, he is the morning drive producer and host of Marconi award-winning WRHU-FM in New York. Its variety talk show allows for lively talk, expert analysis and interviews with notable guests, experts and politicians on topics including civil unrest in Baltimore, Maryland and Ferguson, Missouri, local protests in New York City, the tragic disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines flight 370, the crash of flight MH17, health care, domestic violence and other local, national and international issues with debates, among other news topics mixed with entertainment features and sports talk.
In addition to his role as Morning Wake-Up Call producer and host, Neil is the producer and anchor of “Newsline,” the Associated Press award-winning evening news broadcast on WRHU-FM. He is a sports update anchor and producer of the New York Islanders Radio Network and the Hofstra Pride Sports Network and occasionally calls the play-by-play of sporting events like baseball games.
Neil embarked on his career at a young age, founding a school newspaper in junior high school and becoming the public address announcer for Saint Francis Preparatory School at the age of twelve. The “Voice of Saint Francis Prep,” created SFP TV, a live streaming service in which Neil served as the executive producer, sole sports broadcaster, news anchor and reporter. He spearheaded marketing and public relations initiatives, inking sponsorship deals with local newspapers and MSG Varsity, where he also served as a guest play-by-play sports broadcaster and general assignment reporter.
He is currently a Provost Scholar dual degree student at Hofstra University, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with a Political Science minor and a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master’s of Science in Accounting. Neil resides in New York City.
New York, NY – Wednesday, July 8, 2015 – Award-winning multi-media journalist, producer and talk show host Neil A. Carousso gears up for his 2nd Annual Hall of Fame Live Special on WRHU-FM live from Cooperstown, NY at the National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
“The Town of Cooperstown is quaint, beautiful, and all you see are lovers of the sport, wearing caps and jerseys,” Carousso said, adding, “The National Baseball Hall of Fame Weekend is like a congregation of fans, who come to relive those special moments and honor America’s Pastime in a very special way.”
“WRHU’s 2nd Annual Hall of Fame Live Special with Neil A. Carousso” will air on Sunday, July 26, 2015 from noon-1:30 EDT/9-10:30 AM PDT. Special guests include the 2015 Hall of Fame class, the largest players class in history, consisting of Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz. Other notable guests include Kenny Albert, who broadcasts national Major League Baseball games on FOX Sports, along with calling the other three major sports on the national and regional level on both television and radio, and Howie Rose, the radio play-by-play voice of the New York Mets. Other Hall of Fame guests, broadcasters and baseball writers have not been announced, yet.
“All four of these players dominated some aspect of baseball and are well deserving of their induction into the Hall of Fame,” said Carousso. “I’m looking forward to discussing the pivotal moments of their careers with them plus major topics in baseball, including the controversial ‘steroid era’ topic, in interviews with Kenny Albert and Howie Rose, who have been mainstays on national games and the Mets radio broadcasts, respectfully,” added Carousso.
Neil executive produces all Hall of Fame coverage and the special radio program, and is the sole reporter and solo host of the Live Special for WRHU-FM, which can be heard on 88.7 FM in New York and online in high definition on www.WRHU.org. WRHU also has a free mobile app for iPhone and Android. All content will be available on www.NeilACarousso.com, after airing on WRHU. Carousso will give the audience a VIP pass to Cooperstown via articles, including breaking news and anecdotes from Hall of Famers, and video features, exclusive to Carousso Enterprises’ www.NeilACarousso.com.
“This is the second year I am covering the Hall of Fame Weekend, so at least I know what to expect,” remarked Carousso. “It’s always enjoyable to be around a group of Hall of Fame players who were so great at their sport and just take in their stories from ‘back in the day’ and just marvel at what they accomplished at the highest level.”
“WRHU’s 2nd Annual Hall of Fame Live Special with Neil A. Carousso” is a radio talk show in which baseball fans and enthusiasts honor and celebrate the men inducted that Sunday afternoon in Cooperstown and discuss the latest topics in the sport, while celebrating its 170-year history, highlighted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum.