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William Weinbaum ESPN 

5'8" Tim Raines said his idol, 5'7" Joe Morgan, inspired him as a young athlete to give up football for baseball when the Reds' second-baseman won two straight MVP awards. Until receiving a congratulatory call Wednesday, Raines said they hadn't been in touch for a few years and he was concerned about Morgan's health. "Just to hear his voice made this day so much more special."

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Marly Rivera ESPN Writer 

One of the three new members of the 2017 MLB Hall of Fame Class, Iván "Pudge" Rodríguez, alongside his son, Iván Derek Rodríguez.

Scott Lauber ESPN Staff Writer 

Speaking before Boston Baseball Writers' Dinner, Terry Francona said Theo Epstein visited him after Cubs' Game 7 celebration. "He's in a suit and smells like champagne, yet he was comfortable enough to come over. I thought that was really, really nice of him."

Darren Rovell ESPN Senior Writer 

Topps selling card signed by Pudge, Bagwell & Raines for $300

Jerry Crasnick ESPN Senior Writer 

Pudge Rodriguez just gave a roundabout non-answer when Ron Blum of the Associated Press asked him about possible PED use during his career. Rodriguez attributed his success over 21 years to hard work. He declined to elaborate beyond that.

William Weinbaum ESPN 

Asked to address whether he used PEDs, Pudge Rodriguez said at Thursday's Hall of Fame news conference, "No, I didn't." The only catcher other than Johnny Bench to receive first ballot election said, "I worked very hard for 21 years," adding, "I played the game the right way."

Jerry Crasnick ESPN Senior Writer 

Tim Raines received a call from his baseball idol, Joe Morgan, upon making the Hall of Fame Wednesday. "To have him call made the day that much more special,"" Raines said.

Scott Lauber ESPN Staff Writer 

After a near-MVP season in 2016, Mookie Betts on what he does for an encore: "Try not to be better. Just try to be the same guy. I think when people try to be better, things get worse. If I can do anything similar to last year, I'll be pretty happy."

Scott Lauber ESPN Staff Writer 

Mookie Betts on finishing as runner-up for AL MVP: "Obviously I want to win it at some point, but I think I want to win a World Series more."

William Weinbaum ESPN 

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines & Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez don commemorative Hall of Fame jerseys at a New York news conference Thursday.

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Jerry Crasnick ESPN Senior Writer 

Pudge Rodriguez confirmed he will go into the Hall of Fame as a Texas Ranger. Tim Raines will go in as a Montreal Expo. No surprise with either player.

Jerry Crasnick ESPN Senior Writer 

Tim Raines on his Hall of Fame election: "The writers finally got it right."

Scott Lauber ESPN Staff Writer 

Red Sox "would likely hold Eduardo Rodriguez out" of WBC, according to manager John Farrell, as long as the team has questions about health of his knee. Also, catcher Sandy Leon has decided against playing for Venezuela, Farrell said.

Adam Rubin ESPN Staff Writer 

The Mets have hired former major league catcher Chad Kreuter to serve as St. Lucie manager. Marc Valdes will serve as pitching coach and Valentino Pascucci will be the hitting coach for the Florida State League club.

Christina Kahrl MLB Staff Writer 

Getting Dan Straily might not sound big, but the 2016 Marlins got quality starts 39% of the time; their new front five, 49%. If they repeat that, the Fish would move from 12th to 6th in the NL.

Darren Rovell ESPN Senior Writer 

From 1997 to 2007, the National Baseball Hall of Fame had at least 300,000 annual visitors. It hasn't reached that mark since.

Darren Rovell ESPN Senior Writer 

The National Baseball Hall of Fame is a non-profit, but it has lost money 10 of the last 13 years, according to its tax returns.

Jim Bowden ESPN Senior Writer 

The Cincinnati Reds have made a tremendous lopsided deal acquiring top pitching prospect Luis Castillo, legitimate bullpen arm in Austin Brice and an athletic OF prospect in Isaiah White. They sell high on Dan Straily, who's coming off his career best season but his peripherals say he won't repeat it. A back of rotation type starter. Castillo straight up for Straily would have been a win for the Reds. Great job of grinding by Reds GM Dick Williams on this one.

Scott Lauber ESPN Staff Writer 

Jerry Remy has agreed to a multi-year contract and will work 115 Red Sox games in 2017, according to a NESN announcement.