BOSTON -- Being a baseball lifer, as Red Sox manager Terry Francona is, it’s easy to enjoy and respect the rich history of the game.
It’s also no surprise that Francona has connections to the three new members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Pitcher Bert Blyleven, second baseman Roberto Alomar and executive Pat Gillick were all being inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., today.
Francona once interviewed for a managerial job with the Seattle Mariners when Gillick was the GM there, and played winter ball with Alomar as Alomar was just breaking into the majors.
“I got to know him pretty well, actually,” Francona said. “He was young and it was obvious he could do anything he wanted, whether it was defensively, on the bases, or at bat. You could see it coming.”
In 1970, when Francona, the son of former big leaguer Tito Francona, was 11, he went on a road trip with his dad and saw Blyleven pitch.
“He threw a two-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers and I think that’s when my dad knew I was paying attention,” Francona said. “After the game I came into the clubhouse and said, ‘Dad, you’ve got no chance hitting that curveball.’ Then I faced him in the big leagues a little bit. He was pretty old and I got some hits.”