Hall, Hall the Gang’s All Here

Like many Arizona Diamondbacks fans and baseball fans in general, I remember where I was a year ago when the 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees were announced. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for what I knew would be a foregone conclusion; Randy Johnson would be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

ken_griffey_jr_matt_york_ap_imagesHaving watched every home start in Johnson’s career while an Arizona Diamondback I had a vested interest and he represented to me the best pitcher I had ever seen in person. For the first time that I could remember, I had butterflies worrying that somehow there would be a fluke and he might not make it. Or worse, he makes it but goes into the Hall of Fame as a Seattle Mariner or some other team. Johnson represented to me the true face of the franchise.

Granted Luis Gonzalez is likely the most popular player but it was Johnson and his dominance on the mound that put the Diamondbacks on the baseball map. So I sat there on the edge of my seat and held my breath praying to hear his name called. I was not disappointed and it started a full year of excitement as Johnson shared his experience of becoming a Hall of Fame athlete.

What was even more fun was that Johnson shared another passion with me; he loved photography. From his college days a USC throughout his playing career and especially after he retired, the Big Unit focused his time on taking pictures and they were amazing. So I was especially looking forward to Hall of Fame weekend to see what kind of photos he would get.

It was exciting to see someone share their creative side whether that be taking photos of landscapes or sporting events or even rock concerts. It created a bond between Randy Johnson and myself. I’m not naïve enough to believe that bond to be two-way but when I look at the work he puts into his photography and compare that with my own work that bond exists.

Fast forward another year and here we are at another Hall of Fame vote announcement and like last season we are again waiting to see who will take their place in Cooperstown. And for the second year in a row the top vote getter is a photographer.

Ken Griffey Jr. became the all-time leader in votes being named on 99.3 percent of ballots. He was on every ballot but three. Clearly there are three voters who hate photographers. But wait, you thought Griffey Jr. was a baseball player? Well yeah he was a pretty good ballplayer who was a human highlight reel but since retiring he may be better known as a sports photographer covering the University of Arizona football program.

Trey Griffey is a wide receiver for the Wildcats but unlike other parents who are using their cellphones or a point and shoot camera taking long distance pictures from the stands, Griffey Jr. has a press pass and a pretty cool camera setup taking photos from the end zone. On any given Saturday you might find him toe-to-toe with photographers from Sports Illustrated or USA Today and from the looks on the faces of people looking at Griffey Jr’s camera he seems to be accepted as one of the guys.

So for those baseball players who are just starting their professional careers you might want to take this tip. If you want to earn your way to the Hall of Fame, not only should you work on your hitting and fielding but it might not be a bad idea to take some of that signing bonus money and invest in a good camera and a community college photography class. It might just be the difference necessary to get inducted.

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