KANSAS CITY -- If you are going to Cooperstown for the July 22 Hall of Fame Induction, be sure to see two brand-new items from a pair of National League third basemen in Tuesday's All-Star Game.
Chipper Jones of the Braves just played his final Midsummer Classic, and after the game he was asked for his cap by Brad Horn of the Hall. Jones -- who likely will join his own artifacts as an inductee one day -- didn't stop there. He told Horn to take his bat to the museum as well.
Pablo Sandoval of the Giants hit the bases-clearing triple off Justin Verlander in the big first inning of an 8-0 NL win over the American League, and his Louisville Slugger goes to Cooperstown on Wednesday morning. It capped a big night for the Giants, as teammate Melky Cabrera also picked up the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet.
"In representing Chipper's final career All-Star Game, we requested the hat that he wore, and Chipper suggested that we just take both the hat and his bat," Horn said. "It was a great moment, because he obviously respects the history of the game, and he has had the opportunity to meet with Jeff Idelson, our president, a couple of times this year during the season.
"Chipper realized that he had a hit in his final All-Star Game, so it was a nice gesture that he wanted to ensure that his bat ended up in Cooperstown, as well, not just the hat."
Sandoval said he never has been to Cooperstown but now has another reason to visit. After the big triple, he used the bat one more time, leading off the fourth inning with a flyout to center.
"It's exciting to be part of the first All-Star team to have three triples," Sandoval said. "My triple started that, so I'm happy to be part of the Hall of Fame.
"It's important when you have a good bat, so to give it away is tough. But I just started using it today, so it was new, and this means a lot."
Horn said Sandoval's bat is being curated as a representation of a game that was basically over in the first inning.
"It shows what the first inning meant to this game, with the triple clearing the bases and giving the NL a five-run lead," he said. "That felt like it was the most compelling piece of the game."
The artifacts will go into the "This Year In Baseball" case within the "Today's Game" exhibit, and Horn said it will be "be on display, hopefully by Hall of Fame weekend next week."
It probably won't be long before Jones sees his new artifacts at Cooperstown, as inductees are always allowed to visit their career artifacts in the basement archives.
"Well, only time will tell, and the BBWAA writers who cast their ballot will make that determination five years after he retires," Horn said. "But certainly he is an important figure in baseball history, and the more we can document his career, the more fans can celebrate his achievements."