Tag:Mike Hampton
Posted on: July 12, 2011 12:40 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 2:54 pm

Remembering the 2001 All-Star Game

Rodriguez, Ripken

By Evan Brunell

Arizona is currently in the headlines due to hosting the 2011 All-Star Game, but 10 years ago the state made news due to the Diamondbacks downing the Yankees in a thrilling World Series that will stand as one of the all-time best.

But 2001 also boasted an All-Star Game to remember as Seattle hosted Cal Ripken, Jr.'s 19th and final (and all consecutive) All-Star Game. It should have been 20, but he wasn't elected to the game in his rookie year, when he won the Rookie of the Year Award and finished 30th in MVP voting.

Ripken, who retired after the 2001 season as baseball's Ironman with an impregnable 2,632 consecutive games played, was voted in as the starting third baseman, but moved to his old home of shortstop when starting shortstop Alex Rodriguez "encouraged" (read: physically pushed) Ripken to return to his home for over 14 years.

“At the time, it wasn’t so meaningful because I was mad," Ripken told the Baltimore Sun last week. "I don’t like to be surprised. I was wired, I was on a mike, and I really wanted to tell [Rodriguez], ‘No, get out of here,’ in a different way than I just described it to you.”

Despite Ripken's aversion, the swapping of positions was a great sight to see, with a young superstar standing aside for a legend.

“It was the coolest gesture that anyone can give you,” Ripken added. “When it was all said and done and I hadn’t embarrassed myself out there, it was the coolest gesture ever.”

But Ripken wasn't done showing us what made him such a terror for two decades and what got him elected to the Hall of Fame on his first try by a landslide. After a career in which he redefined the shortstop position and made it a power position with a career line of .276/.340/.447 and two MVP awards, Ripken gave everyone a final goodbye by being named Most Valuable Player after hitting the first pitch he saw in the game from Chan Ho Park in the third inning over the left-field fence, scoring the game's first run and becoming the oldest player to ever homer in the All-Star Game. (See below for video.)

That score held until the fifth inning, when Ivan Rodriguez singled off Mike Hampton, scoring Jason Giambi to push the AL lead to 2-0. That was whittled to 2-1 on Ryan Klesko's sacrifice fly against Mike Stanton, scoring Jeff Kent. Derek Jeter and Magglio Ordonez both delivered back-to-back solo home runs in the bottom of the sixth against Jon Lieber to provide the final score, 4-1.

Ripken's home run was recently named a finalist in MLB.com's Midsummer Classics contest, and is going up against Stan Musial's walkoff home run in the 12th inning of the 1955 game. The winner will be announced during the All-Star Game on Tuesday night.

On the eve of the All-Star Game 10 years later, the 2001 game still stands as one of the greatest.

See other All-Star Games to remember: 1941: Ted Williams blasts walkoff homer | 1949: First integrated edition | 1970's Ray Fosse/Pete Rose collision | 1999: Ted Williams steals show | 2002: The Tie

For complete All-Star Game coverage, keep up with Eye on Baseball in Phoenix

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Posted on: March 26, 2011 12:21 pm
Edited on: March 26, 2011 12:40 pm

Hampton hangs 'em up

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Mike HamptonIt's a rite of spring, the veteran player tries for one last chance at the making the big leagues. By the end of the spring it becomes apparent they're not going to make the team and the prospect of riding buses for that one last shot doesn't seem so appealing and they decide to hang them up.

Today's example -- Mike Hampton.

The left-hander left Diamondbacks camp on Thursday and told general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson that he was leaning toward retirement. He told them today that he'd made his decision to hang 'em up.

"It just wasn't there," Hampton told MLB.com's Mark Bowman. "In fairness to them and fairness to myself, I'm just done. It's not a decision that's easy to make. It's not one you make overnight. It had been two weeks that different thoughts have been creeping in my head. Then all of the sudden I felt, I think this is going to be it."

Hampton, 38, signed a minor-league contract with the Diamondbacks in December. Hampton appeared in nine games for Arizona this spring, allowing 18 hits and 12 runs, while walking eight and striking out five in 9 2/3 innings.

Hampton finished his career 148-115 with a 4.06 ERA in parts of 16 seasons. He appeared in 10 games for the Diamondbacks last season, not allowing a run as a situational lefty.

Hampton finished second in Cy Young voting in 1999 and was twice an All-Star. Following the 1999 seasons, the Rockies gave him an eight-year, $121 million contract, at the time, the largest in history. He played with the Mariners, Astros, Mets, Rockies, Braves and Diamondbacks.

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Posted on: December 7, 2010 6:46 pm

D-Backs hope to bring back Hampton

Did you know Mike Hampton hadn't retired?

The Diamondbacks did. He pitched 4 1/3 innings for them last year and they've made an offer to bring the left-hander back. General manager Kevin Towers will meet with Hampton's agent tomorrow, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweets .

Hampton, 38, had rotator cuff surgery in September of 2009, but signed a minor-league deal with Arizona in August. He pitched in 10 games for the Diamondbacks in the last month of the season, allowing three hits and no runs, facing 16 batters.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: August 21, 2010 9:36 pm

Diamondbacks ink Hampton

Mike Hampton Do the Diamondbacks think it's 2000, not 2010?

After inking Kris Benson to a minor-league deal earlier this season and seeing the righty make three starts, the team has added Mike Hampton to the team.

While Hampton was coming off a Cy Young-caliber campaign in 1999 -- and Benson a successful rookie season -- the two are nothing but retreads these days. (As is Rodrigo Lopez, who, in 2000, made his major-league debut but was two years away from establishing himself as a young, successful starter and currently pitches ineffectively for the team.)

Hampton made 21 starts for the Astros in 2009, posting a 5.30 ERA as a 36-year-old. In 2008, he made 13 starts for the Braves in his return from a two-year break due to a myriad of injuries. Now, Hampton will report to Triple-A in an attempt to rebuild his value.

The signing of Hampton could be considered curious as it is mid-August already, and Hampton is coming off of rotator-cuff surgery in September of last season. The Diamondbacks are going nowhere, and are now committing dollars and time to someone who won't help and who will become a free agent regardless.

The thinking here may be that Hampton can chew up innings in September as ace Ian Kennedy has surpassed his major-league career high in innings by far with 151 to date. He has never thrown more than 146 1/3 innings in a season, way back in 2007 as a 22-year-old winding his way from Class A to Triple-A. Kennedy could be shut down shortly, as could rookie Barry Enright who has 164 1/3 innings as a career-high, set in 2008 in Class A. Between Triple-A and the bigs this season, Enright is at 146 1/3.

Last is Dan Hudson, recently acquired from the White Sox. Hudson tossed 165 2/3 innings in his breakthrough 2009 campaign, rocketing from Class A to the bigs. In 2010, Hudson has 138 innings to his name.

That leaves three young players all at or nearing what could be their innings limits. And the candidates in Triple-A are uninspiring. The only two with any semblance of numbers that might get them to the majors is Kevin Mulvey, best known for being in the Johan Santana trade. Mulvey was later dealt for Jon Rauch and has a 4.64 ERA in 24 starts as a 25-year-old. There's also 26-year-old Matt Torra, a first-round pick in the 2005 draft. Torra has a 4.07 ERA as a 26-year-old with solid command, but a tiny 4.7 K/9 ratio.

For the Diamondbacks to protect their long-term investment in Kennedy, Enright and Hudson, the three need to have their innings monitored. It's difficult to do that without replacements ready, and Hampton may be just that -- a fungible replacement.

The more pressing issue here is the surprising lack of pitching depth the Diamondbacks have that has driven them to this. Rebuilding pitching depth will be a priority for a team suddenly thin, with Brandon Webb and Rodrigo Lopez slated to be free agents. The team will have exactly three starters -- the very three they need to protect -- and no one else on hand feasible to be a member of the rotation in 2011. Interim GM Jerry DiPoto or his replacement will have a lot of work on its hands.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
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