COOPERSTOWN — Orlando Cabrera’s first grand slam since his minor-league days saved Team Rollie from a potential loss Saturday at the Hall of Fame Classic at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, but it couldn’t guarantee a win against Team Goose.
Team Rollie, managed by Rollie Fingers, with help from Bert Blyleven and Tim Raines, and Team Goose, managed by Goose Gossage with help from Trevor Hoffman and Alan Trammell, tied after seven innings, 9-9.
The 11th Classic, which drew 4,293 fans, according to the Hall of Fame, is scheduled to last two hours or seven full innings.
The six Hall of Famers were joined by 30 former major league players, most of whom were recently retired.
Cabrera, an infielder representing the Los Angeles Angeles — but perhaps more famous for being an important part of the Boston Red Sox’ 2004 World Series team — won the game’s Bob Feller Player of the Game Award for getting 5 RBIs, including the grand slam and a sacrifice fly.
“I hit a grand slam in the minor leagues, but never in the major leagues,” he said. “And my kids are here, my wife, my friends. I’m very excited.”
Corey Hart, representing the Milwaukee Brewers, won the home run contest, with four home runs in the final round. He beat 2018 winner A.J. Pierzynski (2), Michael Barrett (2) and Chris Snyder (0) in the finals.
Hart also hit four home runs in the first round to lead all contestants, while Pierzynski, Barrett and Snyder each hit three. Kevin Mench (2), Jack Wilson (2), Brandon Inge (1) and Jason Marquis (1) were also in the contest, but did not advance to the second round.
“I was nervous. It had been a while,” said Hart, a two-time All-Star at right field who hit 162 major league home runs in 11 seasons, including nine years with Milwaukee.
Cabrera’s grand slam came as part of a seven-run sixth inning for Team Rollie, after the team gave up five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to trail, 7-2.
Team Goose broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning off reliever Ryan Rowland-Smith. Chris Snyder hit a one-out home run and Jack Wilson, Charles Johnson and Barrett had RBI singles to pace the home team to the big lead, which held for a half inning.
Team Rollie got seven runs in the top of the sixth inning off reliever John Parrish, including an RBI single by designated hitter/pitcher Marquis and Cabrera’s grand slam. Pierzynski followed with a double to the left field fence, and pinch runner Sammy Fingers — Rollie’s son — scored on a single by Todd Zeile, who represented the New York Mets. Parrish also gave up a run on a wild pitch.
Team Goose tied the game in the bottom of the sixth. Snyder hit a lead off homer to left center field. Willie Taveras followed with a double to the right field fence. He then moved to third on a fielder’s choice and scored on a wild pitch by Ramiro Mendoza.
Mendoza, representing the New York Yankees, pitched a one-two-three seventh inning for Team Rollie, but Brett Tomko — who started and closed the game for Team Goose — did the same in the top of the seventh.
Team Rollie scored first, in the top of the second inning, off Andy Ashby. Terrance Long doubled to the center field wall, moved to third on Cory Snyder’s single and scored on Cabrera’s sacrifice fly to right field.
Team Rollie made it 2-0 in the top of of the fourth inning, when Kyle Kendrick gave up two singles, first to Orlando Hudson and then an RBI single to Marquis.
Hart and Johnson had back-to-back solo home runs off Jeff Francis in the bottom of the fourth inning to tie the game for Team Goose.
Greg Klein, staff writer, can be reached at 607-441-7211 or firstname.lastname@example.org.