Hometown Heroes – The Book

One of the more interesting promotions that Major League Baseball did for the 2006 season was one they called Hometown Heroes. In a vote similar to that of all-star balloting, fans were asked to choose a player they felt best represented the franchise. For teams such as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays or the Arizona Diamondbacks, they had a relatively short historical period from which to choose. The promotion was further complicated by the fact that it was unclear how these players were nominated. Some teams took it upon themselves to nominate players to recognize their accomplishments. Other teams decided to pass and allow Major League Baseball to choose the nominees. The Arizona Diamondbacks did not publicly acknowledge how their nominees were chosen so we have no way of knowing how the players were selected. I wrote about the five candidates in the Hometown Heroes entry posted in late August. The votes were all tabulated and in September the 30 winners were announced during a three part series produced and broadcast on the ESPN network.

For the Diamondbacks, Randy Johnson was selected as Arizona’s hometown hero edging out fan favorite and current Diamondback Luis Gonzalez. Oddly enough, no mention of this was made at Chase Field. It was as though no one wanted to recognize the fact that Johnson had been selected. Since the program aired during a Diamondbacks homestand I did not see the presentation and therefore have no idea how Randy reacted to being named the hometown hero. Now some seven weeks later, Major League Baseball has announced that the Hometown Heroes book is now available which describes the players and what they meant to each franchise. It is unclear what exactly is in the book based on the press release. I would have assumed that it would contain the 30 winners but the press clipping states that it “chronicles 150 of some of the most legendary Major League Baseball players who made significant contributions to their franchises’ history through on-field performance, leadership quality and character value.” I’m guessing then that they give a history of each nominee as well as the winner. The book is a hardback with a suggested retail price of $29.95 and is sold at MLB.com as well as wherever books are sold. I tried going over to the local wherever books are sold store but they had no idea what I was talking about. I explained to them it was kind of like the Series of Unfortunate Events but with baseball players so they sent me over to the children’s section. All I found there though was a book written by Dumbo the elephant entitled, “I am not Bud Selig.” I guess I’ll keep checking.

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